When we sing in the shower, we hardly expect applause. In fact, that would be awfully weird. But online, when just about anyone might be clicking, watching or sharing, it’s disappointing to put your work into the world and hear nothing.
Hiring phone salespeople and giving them a script used to make sense. Throw enough human spam at the population and sooner or later, you might make a profit. The person who responded to my web query the other day was doing a great job of working with his script.
The church must rise to this challenge from Seth Godin in every age!
Here’s a sign I’ve never seen hanging in a corporate office, a mechanic’s garage or a politician’s headquarters:
WE HAVE AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE:
We care more.
It’s easy to promise and difficult to do. But if you did it, it would work. More than any other skill or attitude, this is what keeps me (and people like me) coming back.
Other than writing a daily blog (a practice that’s free, and priceless), reading more blogs is one of the best ways to become smarter, more effective and more engaged in what’s going on. The last great online bargain.
Good blogs aren’t focused on the vapid race for clicks that other forms of social media encourage. Instead, they patiently inform and challenge, using your time with respect.
Here’s the thing: Google doesn’t want you to read blogs. They shut down their RSS reader and they’re dumping many blog subscriptions into the gmail promo folder, where they languish unread.
And Facebook doesn’t want you to read blogs either. They have cut back the organic sharing some blogs benefitted from so that those bloggers will pay to ‘boost’ their traffic to what it used to be.
RSS still works. It’s still free. It’s still unfiltered, uncensored and spam-free.
The market isn’t always ‘right’, if right means that it knows how to get what it wants in the long run. Too often, we are confused, or misled, or part of a herd headed in the wrong direction.
It’s almost impossible to bring the mass market to its senses, to insist that you know better. What you can do, though, is find discerning and alert individuals who will take the time to understand. And then, if you’re good and patient and lucky, they’ll tell the others.
Which is why, over the last thirty years, farmers markets and other entities have slowly grown in influence. Because happy customers tell stories about remarkable products and services.
When you see the corn paradox, label it and act accordingly. Tell stories for the few, help them to spread.
via Seth Godin’s post “The Naked Corn Paradox“
At the congregation down the street, they’re doing things the way they’ve done them for the last few hundred years. Every week, people come, attracted by familiarity, by the family and friends around them, part of a tribe.
And just past that building is another one, a different tribe, where the tradition is more than a thousand years old.
This is not so different from that big company that used to be an internet startup, but all the original team members have long left the building. Work tomorrow has a lot in common with work yesterday, and the safety of it all is comforting.
Che, Jefferson, Edison, Ford… most of these radicals would not recognize the institutions that have been built over time.
The question each of us has to answer about the institution we care about is: Does this place exist to maintain and perpetuate the status quo, or am I here to do the work that the radical founder had in mind when we started?
via Seth Godin’s post “(re)Radical“
Seth Godin continues to be one of my provocateurs. His short blog posts raise more questions than they answer. Below are several questions he raised over with someone getting started in a new business. These are excellent coaching questions for any of us.
A few things came up over coffee the other day. His idea is good, his funding is solid, there are many choices. Some of the questions that don’t usually get asked:
- Are you aware of your cash flow? …
- Are you trying to build profit or equity? …
- What’s your role? …
- Are you trying to build a team? …
- Which kind of risk is okay with you? …
- And finally, and most important, why? Why are you doing this at all?
Check out his original post with his commentary on “Question for a New Entrepreneur.”
Stowe Boyd adds depth to Seth Godin’s observations about cities and corporations by adding a word about the difference between ecosystems (the city) and organisms (corporations).
Cities do die, actually, but very slowly. Usually cities decline when there is a cultural collapse, or when the cost of rebuilding aged infrastructure is more expensive than migrating.
However, Seth’s real point is that cities are more resilient than companies. And this is true because companies select people that fit in and reject those that don’t. Cities work the opposite way: people elect to live in specific cities, and they do so for their own reasons. They make the city fit their needs, and they become part of a myriad of semi-independent social scenes.
Cities are connectives, with people headed in many directions, loosely cooperating — obeying the traffic rules, and paying taxes — while companies are collectives, where people must subordinate themselves to a strategy and the strong ties of an organization. Cities are more resilient, flexible, and cheaper to operate than companies. Cities are superlinear and companies are sublinear.
And, as a result, the larger cities get, the more productive they become, the more responsive and adaptable they become: which is the opposite of companies, which become slower, less adaptable, and less productive (per capita) as they become larger.
Seth’s post follows:
Cities don’t die (but corporations do)
In modern times, it’s almost unheard of for a city to run out of steam, to disappear or to become obsolete. It happens to companies all the time. They go out of business, fail, merge, get bought and disappear.
What’s the difference?
It’s about control and the fringes.
Corporations have CEOs, investors and a disdain for failure. Because they fear failure, they legislate behavior that they believe will avoid it.
Cities, on the other hand, don’t regulate what their citizens do all day (they might prohibit certain activities, but generally, market economies permit their citizens to fail all they like).
This failure at the fringes, this deviant behavior, almost always leads to failure. Except when it doesn’t.
Ecosystems outlast organisms.
Art is what we call…
the thing an artist does.
It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human.
Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist.