(or, why I like Seth Godin)
I first came across one of Seth’s blog posts years ago – part of it had something to do with being environmentally friendly and how people were writing “think before you print this” as part of their email signatures in the hopes that people – wouldn’t, and save a tree. Seth said something to the fact that it works the opposite way. I dashed off a quick email with the usual love your blog, love this post and asked why he thought it wasn’t environmentally friendly and went on with my day.
Why isn’t it, you might ask? Because someone who is going to or needs to print an email is going to, regardless of what you put at the bottom asking them not to. And more often then not, an email signature pushes an email to a second page. So instead of being environmentally friendly, you’ve just printed two pages, one of which has no info on it, except a request not to print it.
How did I find this out?
He emailed me back within half an hour. I nearly fell over. Seth Godin emailed me back! I’ve followed his blog ever since.
His segment was great – and he said a lot of scary things. Things like “the public does not want to hear from us anymore that era is over they are better at hiding from us than we are at finding them” and “all interruption is optional” which are scary things to hear when you’re trying to get people to pay attention, whether it’s for shoes or baby clothes or art.
And that the space in between “normal” and “weird” are changing. It used to be that you’d create your product to appeal to the largest (maybe lowest) common denominator. And now there are more options for weird than normal. Like mainstream indie music – (which is a category, BTW).
Some things he said relieved me a bit. Like the title of this post – “not everything valuable can be measured“.
Which can be looked at under the category of “Counting New Beans“. And we try to do that in our tribe every day.
And the fact that we now live in a connection economy, as opposed to the industrial revolution. “we connect and create value – no one person knows how to make a computer mouse.”
We do that every day in the arts – you bring the script and he’ll bring the set design and she’ll being the lighting design and she’ll sell it all as a package and everyone gets credit for their contribution.
And one that struck me – if you want to reach people, you have to have something they want.
What do we have that people want? And not what we want, or want them to want – what they want.
And please don’t say you don’t care what they want, and it’s your art and if they don’t understand it it’s their concern. Because the second you ask people for their time at 8 pm on a Friday, and ask them to pay you to give you their time – it is your concern.
Food for thought.
One question from the audience kind of threw me – a woman saying her creative team was exhausted and verging on burnout and she really wanted to know what to do about it.
Give them a break. Let the focus slide for a second. You know how it’s said that if you’re working on the computer, you need to look up and away every half hour or so to give your eyes a break? Do that for your creativity. Do something that is outside of what you normally create. If you write, then draw. If you draw, then knit. Go to a movie. I do that a lot – it’s a trick I learned from Don Draper on MadMen. Or another: (panel from The Oatmeal)
Or I go to a conference on marketing where nothing is expected of me except to learn.