Godin attributes the failure of his first book to his publisher getting distracted by an autobiography. He learnt to offer something different, package things in a way nobody else did, so that his ideas grabbed attention and were taken seriously – albeit after 900 rejections.
“Inventing something cool that can’t be implemented isn’t creative. It’s mostly a waste… If you’ve decided to invent a great idea for a book, better be ready to write it too, and either find a publisher or publish it yourself. There’s no market for book ideas.”
His ease with his creativity is refreshing – he knows he is unusual in that his ideas ‘spill’ out of him and that he goes looking for distraction to cultivate the best climate for inventing things. Resistance comes in the form of distractions too but that resistance can be stared down if the ideas are big enough.
Attention Deficit Disorder has been a blessing in disguise, because it has helped him identify when he has reached crunch time: no more distractions, a project has to run or be killed.
“As someone who has had ADD his whole life, I saw my business struggle for years. The problem with flitting around too much is that you never get through the Dip, you start a lot and don’t finish much. I realised that if I intended to make a living at this, I needed the discipline to ship, to push it out the door, to close sales, make things happen and be professional about it.”
Creativity, Innovation and Sabotage
Godin talks about the Lizard Brain – the immature, foetus-like part of the brain that panics when we get close to sharing a new idea or doing something innovative that challenges the status quo.
Quieting the Lizard Brain is something anyone who wants to forge ahead with creativity needs to become good at. The most effective way to do that is to have all your flapping, your iteration, your to-ing and fro-ing at the beginning of a process. Likening it to the first two breaths when blowing up a balloon, once that intense hard work is over with, the finished, fully-inflated balloon is relatively easy to achieve.
His Brand – How to Market a Marketer
Godin has dug his heels in his market and is responsible for the many words in the marketer’s vocabulary, including permission marketing, ideaviruses, purple cows, the dip and sneezers.
His website biography states very honestly: “As an entrepreneur, he has founded dozens of companies, most of which failed.” Yoyodyne, his first internet company, was one that succeeded. Acquired by Yahoo! in 1998 for $30m, it pioneered the use of ethical direct mail online and this became known as Permission Marketing.
Godin went on to found Squidoo.com, a website that lets people create pages about their interests, while raising money for charity and paying royalties to its million plus members.
The no-mess tone of his blog is a good indication of why Godin is such a renowned speaker and why, along with his successful blog and books, he was called “the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age” by Business Week.
His seventeen books have been translated into 33 languages. Linchpin hit the top ten on Amazon the first day it was released. He writes about it in his blog, explaining that you need to be more than a cog in the machine – you need to be a linchpin to ensure the machine would not be the same without you.
One of his most recent books, We Are All Weird, encourages a move towards individuality – helping people offer their unique value by promoting choices and the authority to do things in a way that fits with them. Tribes focuses on leadership being the best form of marketing and has universal appeal, not least because Godin believes anyone can become a leader.