Are you indispensable?

By Seth Godin

Wait! Are you saying that I have to stop following instructions and start being an artist? Someone who dreams up new ideas and makes them real? Someone who finds new ways to interact, new pathways to deliver emotion, new ways to connect? Someone who acts like a human, not a Cog? Me?

Yes

Seth is most widely known through his blog where we writes a short business-focused message daily and has been for over a decade now! One of Seth’s first companies was Yoyodyne which he later sold to Yahoo in 1998 and introduced to the world the idea of permission marketing. Seth has gone on to publish 19 books (and counting), launched the altMBA and has been inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Godin writes that the majority of us would like a safe job which tells us what to do. In the factory era this deal was a reality with workers trading in personal autonomy and creativity for a pension, safe job and improved quality of life. In the factory era, “the goal was to have the highest PERL…If you can easily replace most of your workers, you can pay them less.” One of the most popular business books is the E-Myth Revisited which describes how the perfect business model is one that can be run by someone with a very low level of skill. You want a “cookie-cutter” business that you can scale fast, without having to find highly skilled people. The issue with this mindset, is that if your business can be easily replicated then you’re not going to be the one to replicate it.

“Imagine a stack of 400 quarters. Each quarter represents 250 years of human culture, and the entire stack signifies the 100,000 years we’ve had organized human tribes. Take the top quarter of the stack. This one quarter represents how many years our society has revolved around factories and jobs and the world as we see it. The other 399 coins standard for a very different view of commerce, economy and culture…. Having a factory job is not a natural state. It wasn’t at the heat of being a human until recently. We’ve been culturally brainwashed to believe that accepting the hierarchy and lack of responsibility that come with a factory job is the one way, the only way, and the best way.”

“Our world no longer fairly compensates people who are cogs in a giant machine. There’s stress because for many of us, that’s all we know. Schools and society have reinforced this approach for generations….Leader’s don’t get a map or a set of rules. Living life without a map requires a different attitude. It requires you to be a linchpin.”

Godin discusses how it came to be that France dominated the luxury goods market, describing how it was the work of a finance minister named Jean-Baptiste Colbert. He served under the king Louis XIV of France in the 1600s and devised a plan to battle against the success of France’s neighbors. Colbert “organized, regulated and promoted the luxury goods industry”. Colbert organized works into highly specialized guilds and prevented internal competition to allow these guilds to flourish while barring competing external imports. At the same time that France embraced craftsmanship, Britain embraced the anonymous factory which opened them up to later competition. France relied on humanity not automation which created scarcity — scarcity creates value.

The phrase “Real Artists Ship” was supposedly made famous by Steve Jobs emphasizing that it true artists do not produce a single perfect masterpieces but have the courage to continually produce and deliver real work.

“Shipping isn’t focused on producing a masterpiece (but all masterpieces get shipped). I’ve produced more than a hundred books (most didn’t sell very well), but if I hadn’t, I’d never have had the chance to write this one. Picasso painted more than a thousand paintings, and you can probably name three of them. As we’ll see, the greatest shortage in our society is an instinct to produce. To create solutions and hustle them out the door.”

The cult of done is a document created by Bre Pettis in 2009. The manifesto of the cult is such:

The Cult of Done Manifesto

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.

Of all the popular ideas of the Internet boom, one of the most dangerously influential was Metcalfe’s Law. Simply put, it says that the value of a communications network is proportional to the square of the number of its users.