Tag Archives: Seth Godin
Jan 2, 2013
My 3 Words for 2013
Wow, it’s 2013. Happy New Year to all! Glad we’re together here instead of being mired in some sort of Jerry Bruckheimer-ish Mayan catastrophe. That was certainly a nail-biter, wasn’t it?
Now, what are we going to do with this 365-day clean slate? Resolutions are usually in order, except that I don’t normally make them. I have resolved to get in better shape ever since the age when that resolution starts making sense (age 24? 25?). Also, I’ve never enjoyed the arbitrary nature of starting really cool initiatives on January 1. If it’s worth doing better, then start doing that thing right now!
In lieu of making New Year’s resolutions, author Chris Brogan chooses three words with which he aims to shape his year. He’s been doing this since 2006. This year, I see people like Mark Schaefer, Jason Konopinski, Justin Levy, Christopher Penn, Mitch Joel and C.C. Chapman choosing their three words, so I decided to give it a try.
Write – This one kicks everything off for me. I am writing a book. Besides getting married and having children, this is probably my life’s most important work. A few months ago I did a Facebook post announcing I had submitted a book proposal to a publisher. It was an exciting post to make, an exciting time for me, and …. I still haven’t heard anything from the publisher. This is something I had better get used to. I’m just going to have to keep plugging away on the deal, but I should not forget that, regardless of whether I get a book deal or not, I have a book to write. I can always self-publish it if every publisher tells me no. Out of 45,000 to 60,000 potential words, I have about 15,000 written. This year, I must write, write, write.
Ship – Part of my problem with writing is that I’m a former CPA. I didn’t gravitate towards a math-laden profession because I’m an awesome writer. Sometimes, the words flow. At other times, great prose escapes my pen, a sort of brain constipation. Seth Godin talks about shipping creativity – watch this David Siteman Garland interview and zero in on the 12:30 mark. Everyone can be creative; everyone has thoughts and great ideas. The trick is to ship that idea – to release it for public consumption and ridicule. Most people do not like to be ridiculed, and because of that, they won’t execute on their best ideas – they won’t deliver. They won’t ship it. I have this really cool book premise (no, it’s not a social media book). I believe very strongly in the idea of civility and happiness in the workplace (and our lives) and want to dedicate a book to it. I’m afraid. I must get over the crippling fear that none of you are going to like it. I must get over the idea that the people I look up to, like the authors I linked to above, are going to laugh at the book’s premise. Truth be told, some will laugh and scoff – that’s just the world we live in. I have to plow ahead and worry about writing the very best book I can, while simultaneously not worrying about what the very worst book review is going to sound like. My creative bent is this book called The Impossible Contract; I must ship this idea.
Bacon – Wait, trust me, it’s not what you think. After 100,000+ tweets and 5 or so bacon-themed t-shirts on my website, I am now known far and wide as a lover of bacon, as the preeminent authority on bacon, as the guy that needs to know when anything bacon-related is going on in the world. Without even really trying, I branded myself as Mr. Bacon, or the Baron of Bacon as Shelley Satke Niemeier donned me. I know the bacon t-shirts helped this self-branding take place. But I had no concerted strategy to be known as the Baron of Bacon. I don’t think I even tweeted about bacon all that often. Again, and I’ve publicly admitted this before, I will sometimes go weeks without consuming bacon. And yet, all of a sudden, people are tweeting me pictures of their bacon Trapper Keepers, bacon toothpaste, bacon cigarettes, bacon shaving cream, and hundreds of other bacony products.
I sometimes question how the hell this happened. It might have been preferable had this been a plan, because I would be able to definitively say it was a smashing success. Go read this article and pay special attention to no. 1. I want to better understand who I am and how people think of me. If I had a better grasp of that, it might allow me to get bigger things done. If I had grasped this bacon phenomenon sooner, I might have jettisoned every non-bacon t-shirt I have on my site and focused only on bacon products. In 2013, I want to better understand what I’m good at, and what I have to offer the world.
Please let me know what your 3 words are in the comments below, or link to a blog post of yours where you offer your three words. And let me know what you think of my choices, as well. Happy New Year.
Dec 26, 2012
What I’m Going to Figure Out in 2013 – The Continuum
It all started with David Siteman Garland’s recent interview of Seth Godin. About eight minutes in, David asks Seth about his blog and why he turned comments off. In a world of social media best practices, not accepting comments on your blog is practically a cardinal sin. Seth gives a very convincing reason why he turned them off, and why it has worked so well for him over the years (hit play below to hear the reason).
I was then interested in getting a steak. I saw an ad for the 1904 Steakhouse at River City Casino, which is actually closer to my house than I had ever imagined. I looked up their Yelp reviews and it was pretty mixed, and mixed in that mix were some reviews with biting, negative language. In fact, I wonder if Yelp encourages such prose, as you can rate individual reviews as “funny” or “cool.” The inner food critic is unleashed in all of us.
Well, I thought to myself, “This is a casino steakhouse; why are you surprised it might not be good?” So to reestablish a baseline of what a set of generally positive reviews might sound like, I went to Robust Wine Bar’s Yelp page. (full disclosure: yes, I’m a huge fan of Robust. You probably knew that already. I don’t own a part of Robust, nor do I work for them. I just love them). Their average score was indeed higher than the casino steakhouse, and yet there were still some negative reviews. This should not have been surprising to me, as it is impossible to please everyone. I know this – the people at Robust want to please everyone. They really do care. Those negative reviews may have been deserved – it’s entire plausible that great restaurants have off nights, or that particular servers have off nights. But those reviews bother Robust. Reading them makes it a lousy day for the owners. I hope they don’t mind me saying, but this should not be surprising to you: WE’RE HUMAN.
Which led me to consider a continuum of engagement. On the one extreme, you have Seth Godin, who rarely engages. Watch the entire interview with David – he really doesn’t use Twitter, doesn’t allow comments on his blog, and generally turns down all coffee/lunch/pick-your-brain invites. On the other side are heavy engagers that lay everything out on the line every day, engage directly with those that choose to disagree with them, and generally expose themselves for consumption by the general public (not that kind of expose, get your head out of the gutter.)
Where do I fall on this continuum? Where should I fall? Where should my clients fall? As I reveal in this podcast, when I “get into it” with someone online or off, it ends up pretty much ruining my day. Confrontation is not fun for me. And yet, I do allow comments on my blog, I do public speaking when time allows, I do debate when the topic is dear to me, I do go to networking events and have coffee with people. I do leave myself exposed to criticism (not in some heroic way – just sayin). Maybe I should be more like Seth. Maybe I would be less afraid to take chances, and more apt to get the important stuff done.
In 2013, I want to better understand this continuum and where I should be falling on it. Should I gravitate more towards the Seth-like cocoon?
What do you think? Please leave a comment below.