Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fail Fast and The Purple One (Part II)

Immediately following Tom Kelley came Seth Godin. He opened with the idea that, “Golf is the worst spectator sport ever.” Well played sir, with golf your applause is muted, you can’t see the action and the ball is so small that the sport can be tricky to follow. Still it offers a great opportunity to nap, but I digress.

Godin’s true talent remains less in his ability to tell a compelling narrative, but to cheerlead the innovation and creativity within all of us. Packed densely within his discussion were his very greatest hits, a compilation of all the great wisdom and thinking from his library of books:

Turn bats upside down:
If you can see things differently you can turn over how the world thinks, or said another way, “what can we dream versus what do we know?”

Industrialism is not capitalism:

Industrialism works really well to polish out the rough edges. Large companies and managers often want more of what has proven to be successful. Reconfigure the offering, add a new flavor and tell people that the product is “new and improved.” Abracadabra, innovation!

This approach results in average products for average people, nothing more than a race for the lowest common denominator. Godin thinks you should be aiming the fringes, the extreme people who push us forward will evangelize your offering.


People want connection, finding community in others that share common ideals and beliefs. “People like doing what others are doing.” Consider Comic-con or the annual Sturgis bike rally – each are massive events where misfits can celebrate things in life that make them feel alive.


“The guy that invented the ship also invented the shipwreck.” Perhaps an iteration on Kelley’s “Fail fast” mantra but Godin makes this point: in order to be an agent of change you have to get out into the world and make mistakes, absorb the learnings from failure in order to make the next versions find success.

If you happened to miss Seth Godin, you really missed out. His enthusiasm, passion for innovation and wit cannot be captured by watching a Ted Talk on Youtube.

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