Leadership Summit 2011 | Seth Godin – Poke the Box

Posted on August 11, 2011


“Artists are people with a genius for finding a new answer, a new connection, or a new way of getting things done. That would be you.”

— live notes —

Someone here today, is going to change everything, because they decided to, and because it’s important.

In general, our society is built on “more!” I call this the TV-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. Buy ads, get more distribution, sell more products, make a profit, and then, buy more ads. This leads to average products for average people (except for maybe, pop-tarts). If you want to do mass-marketing, you make products that everyone wants to buy. In other words, “mass” is built into our culture.

The “Betty Crocker” idea doesn’t work. We’ve branded ourselves to death.

Revolutions destroy the perfect and they enable the impossible.

What we’re seeing happening is the death of the industrial age, and it’s going to hurt our economy. It’s being replaced by a new age of weird. An age that I call “tribes.” We’re use to having a work tribe, a spiritual tribe, and a community tribe. As these tribes spring up, meet up, connect up, things are changing, because they still want what everyone wants, which is to be “in sync.”

“Please clap together, in unison, in rhythm until I say stop.”

Everyone does it because we all want to be “in sync.” And these tribes need leaders who will communicate, connect, challenge, commit, and be clear. This is the opportunity of a life-time if you want to do work that matters. What the world is saying, please show up, get us in sync, and help us get there. There’s this opportunity on the table in front of us. The questions, is it your opportunity?

Something has happened to connection. It’s turned into “the laptop.”

I’m going to argue that there is something after the “job.” I’m going to call it the “art.” I’m talking about the risky human task of doing something new for someone else, with someone else.

The factory mindset is “keep the line moving.” Our factory mindset has influenced our spiritual institutions as well. It applies to interchangeable parts, and interchangeable people. So we have a culture of making people fit in.

The reason they want you to fit in is that once you do, then they can ignore you.

You have an opportunity to do it a little bit different. And, there is no map for being an artist. The human connecting act cannot be told how to get done.

Competence is no longer a scarce commodity.

The thing about the race to the bottom, is that you might win.

If you can write it down, I can find it cheaper.

If all you can offer is that you’re the local church,…I’m sorry, “local” is like “cheap.”

So, how are you going to do this?

1. Quit bowling. The reason why it’s not popular, is because it’s boring because it’s shooting for perfect. If you’re playing by the rules, if you’re doing everything you’re suppose to do, then please don’t expect people to talk about you. And you’re not going to get there by talking to your boss. Because if you were, she would have done it by now.

You don’t go to school to learn when the war of 1812 is anymore, because it’s easy to look up. We go to school to solve interesting problems.

We teach you to wait to get picked. Forget it. Pick yourself. If you want to write, write!

If failure is not an option, then neither is success.

You will do art, and you will fail, not succeed, and you’ll offend. That’s art.

You check your blackberry to see if everything is okay because of the “heckler” in our heads constantly questioning. Pressfield calls it the “resistance.”

Just because the tide is out, it doesn’t mean there is less water in the ocean. It just means the water is moving around.

“knit a sweater out of that last thread of hope.”

It’s like the carrots at the market at the end of the day. You either give them away, or they’re going to rot. Too many people are holding on to something to see it rot.

We are constantly looking for a reason to not do our art, to not put our ideas on the line. What are you going to do about it?

There’s a box, it’s too dark to get anything done. Outside the box, there is nothing to lean on. But on the edges of the box, you’ve got a chance to dance, connect, and lead. If you answer “How was your day?” with “fine,” you’re not an artist. You survived another day at the factory.

What the world is begging for, what I know you can do, is to lead them.