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2 Days With Seth Godin by Tom Morkes | 0

A few things

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On a crisp, fall morning in New York City, a small group of visionaries, change-makers and instigators converged on the intimate Helen Mills event space and theater. The perfectly tailored setting and immaculately planned conference (thanks to the incredible impresario Michelle Welsch) allowed attendees to interact directly with the best-selling author and marketer extraordinaire Seth Godin.

This eBook is a compilation of notes I took while at this conference. This is important for three reasons:

Over the next two days, this small group took a hard look at sticking points in various businesses. In the process, we analyzed dozens of companies and dissected the best strategies to get them unstuck. 1) The notes, while as accurate as possible at capturing Seth Godins input and advice, are still my best effort (see: imperfect). I did my best to stay true to the essence of what was said.

2) If the notes seem disjointed, its because the setting was very conversational and allowed for the flow from one idea, business, or sticking point to another. Think of it as bite sized wisdom you can come back to anytime you need it.

2 Days With Seth Godin by Tom Morkes | 2 3) Not everything will apply to you. Some items apply to the blogger or author, others to the brick and mortar mid-level business owner, and others to the online entrepreneur. But if youre interested in writing, business, or getting unstuck, I think youll find this guide invaluable. This conference wasnt cheap. Its taken me dozens of hours to compile, edit, format and package this digital guide. So if you like what you see, then all I ask you is to share it: If you want to read more content like this you can subscribe to my blog at www.tommorkes.com. Or scan this image: In the trenches right beside you, Tom Morkes [Click here to tweet it] [Click here to share it on Facebook] [Click here to email]

Good luck and enjoy.

Copyright 2013 by Tom Morkes


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People spend a lot of their time getting their ducks lined up.

They need (they think) the right grades, so they can go to the right school, so they can get the right job

They spend time working for a certain certificate to get a certain title, so they can approach a certain person about a certain position...

The problem is following instructions, waiting to get picked, and getting our ducks lined up in a row teaches us alignment, and alignment is just another form of avoidance.

Heres the reality: you already have your ducks and theyre already lined up.

Now what are you going to do? Now whats youre excuse for not starting?


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There is a freshman at a small liberal arts school who is very talented at improv comedy. The school has one club for improv and every year they recruit new freshman. This year, they were recruiting 12 people. This talented freshman wanted to be a part of the group, so he signed up, put in his application, and sent them a resume. He should have been a guaranteed pick. Instead, he was the number 13 selection. He didnt get in. The gatekeepers didnt pick him. If this sounds familiar, like something youve experience before, heres what you should do:

Start your own improv group.

Just start your own group, club, or organization. Whatever it is you want to do, do it; dont wait to get chosen Whats keeping you from choosing yourself? Be honest this question isnt rhetorical. If you decide today to start you can make something happen. And when you start when you pick yourself everything changes.


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The difference between cover songs and original songs is everything. Why are we so scared of creating and performing original songs?

Choosing to create original content changes everything; it brings our game to the next level, it challenges and improves us, and it shows what were truly capable of.

Maybe its because we have no one to blame if it sucks. With a cover song, we can always blame the original artist (its not my fault its Bob Dylans fault!). If youre the original artist, the finger is pointed straight at you. The question is: are you courageous enough to create something original anyway?


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Seth, when he was young, admits he was a nerd (before the word nerd existed). And his parents, while supportive, did demand one thing: he needed to join a competitive sport. He wanted to do baseball (so I could just strike out and go back to the dugout), but there was no team nearby. So he chose hockey. His dad was the coach and had the kids do drills daily. One of the drills had his dad throwing a puck into the corner of the rink while two kids battle it out for control. Seth recognized immediately that the second guy to get to the puck wins.


Because as soon as the first person grabs the puck, the second kid can hit him and take it away.

Recognizing this, Seth skated slower than the other kid to be the second person to reach the puck. Without fail, Seth was able to come away with the puck every time. Eventually, the other kids figured out Seths technique and they started slowing their speed. Pretty soon, the drill devolved into both hockey players creeping up to the puck, each person trying to be slower than the other person. Eventually his dad put a stop to it and made Seth start skating fast. Consequently, Seth got hit (a lot).

Entrepreneurship is a lot like this hockey exercise: we see someone successful then watch as someone dethrones him or her. We see this happen in just about every profession. It doesnt take long to figure out that its safer to be second (or third or fourth) than first. First scares us because we will take a hit. But heres the thing: if you want to be good, you need to learn to take a hit. While its seemingly easier and safer to follow, the consequences arent always positive:

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Waiting for someone else to start is a surefire way to fail.

Waiting for someone else to go first is the worst habit you can create. Dont wait - take the hit.


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For an artist or entrepreneur to be successful, he or she must be: 2) Skilled you need to be able to present your ideas in such a way that they resonate and spread 1) Smart you need to know your craft inside and out

3) Willing to be hit if you start anything, you will be hit


To be rejected? Do you care enough to fail?

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Because both will happen if you try something new. Both will inevitably occur if you strive to create something original, do something bold, or take a chance on building something worthwhile. The question isnt: how can you avoid failing, or how can you avoid rejection the question is: do you care enough to try anyway?

GO =

1) Be vulnerable Allow yourself to be exposed.

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2) Be willing to fail Fail often.

If youre hiding, youre not starting. If youre not starting, youre not making an impact. And if youre not making an impact then youre not an artist or an entrepreneur.

Put yourself out there so you can be criticized. Otherwise, youre hiding.

If you can (and do) fail, then youre starting. Youre instigating. Youre trying to make an impact, cause a ruckus, and put a dent in the universe. As long as you learn from these failures, you will find success.


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At the conventional 9 to 5 job, all our energy goes towards putting up a barrier to limit our exposure. We put up walls to protect ourselves from being vulnerable. This has two painful consequences: 1) We learn the habit of hiding.

2) We lessen our ability to ever make a difference.

Instead of instigating and making an impact, we jump for cover. We stay inside the wire. We become consequent-less. Without starting (and failing), we cant learn anything. We build no experience.

But you need to be able to take the hits and keep going.

If we fail, we can learn from our mistakes, adjust, and try again. This builds experience and inevitably leads to something that does succeed, that does stick.

Were in a much different age now.

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Its not 1950 anymore. Were not lined up in factories anymore. 150 years ago, the average person grew up working on a farm. Most peoples existences revolved around working their family farm. In the late 1800s, we developed a way to make steam energy from burning wood. Pretty soon, we managed to concentrate this power in factories.

Everyone positioned themselves accordingly, in rows and columns. The school modeled this structure, and pretty soon, from birth until death, over the course of a century, we learned to fall in, rank and file, and follow orders. We became robots working the robot factory.

In the early factory days, engineers built factories in a straight line. In the middle running the length of the factory was the main pipe. This pipe fed steam power to the machinery, which sat in lines perpendicular to the pipe every so many feet.


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Today, the poorest person in the US has access to more stuff than the King of France 200 years ago. Our clothes, even the discount styles, couldnt have existed a few hundred years ago. Our phones and our technology were impossible 50 years ago.

In less than 100 years, we went from a majority agrarian economy, subsisting on what we could individually produce, to a society of unprecedented freedom, wealth and prosperity.

The factory changed everything.

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If we reorganize our work to stress productivity, we get productivity as a result. If we focus on efficiency, we get efficiency as a result. If we do both well enough, we get rich. This fundamentally changed how we interacted with one another and our products, and how (and what and why) we created: We did it for the boss, to sell more products, and to make more money. And in the process, we lost a bit of our humanity

The TV was invented to run ads. Radio was invented to run ads. Magazines were invented to run ads.

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The existence and proliferation of these mediums was a direct result of their intended nature: to advertise to us. At least, that was the old paradigm

Lessons we can learn from Madmen: advertise a LOT; they dont even have to be good ads. If you make enough money from the advertising, do it again. Repeat and scale to infinite.


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In just one generation, we blew up the industrial complex. With the advent of cheap communications technology, the proliferation of internet, we are always on, always connected. With this power at our fingertips, we come to a fork in the road, and we have a choice: Who can get cheaper faster? Who can mass produce ordinary at greater volume and speed? Who sell one size fits all more efficiently?

The Race to the Bottom:

This place is packed with competitors looking to undercut your price and consumers looking elsewhere to get a better deal.

The Race to the Top:

This place is less crowded and the consumers seeking your product want to pay fair price. The top is a much better place to be.

This place is filled with things that people seek, so you dont have to compromise your vision. And because theyre seeking, you dont have to yell to get their attention. They want to hear from you you have their permission.


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Its not about stuff anymore: now its about connection and trust. Heres the question: Why would people connect with you?

In the new economy, the more connected you are the better off you are. The more people who trust you, the more secure your future. Because you spam their email box? Because you stand next to them awkwardly and shove your business card into their hands? Because you yell?

These are archaic communication techniques designed during the days of the TV Industrial Complex. That was then

The Revolution in this age is connection.

But if you CAN earn itits worth more than a million spammy advertisements any day of the week.

Its cheaper than ever to get it, but its harder than ever to earn it.


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Ruby is a high school student who plays music. She has a wonderful voice and incredible talent. 30 years ago, she was at the mercy of the music industrial complex to pick, promote and sell her music.

Now, she can pick herself.

Not only that, but without ever leaving her house she can connect with hundreds of thousands of strangers. Are we taking advantage of them? This is unheard of. These are extraordinary times.


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destroy what is perfect



what is impossible.


In 1950, records dominated the industry.

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To play the disk, you needed a record player. To find the disk, you needed to go to a store that sold the disks. On the way to the store, youd listen to the radio where they would play music sold in the store. To share the music, you would need to carry the physical artifact with you... The whole structure of the system from producers and distributers, to outlets and radio was set up for you to consumer a certain type of music in a certain way. The music industry is dead.

Your industry is about to die.

Whats the opportunity for us here?

It is NOT to insist on going back to normal (its dead, gone and never coming back). It IS to say: look at all these tools we have at our disposal and please: PICK YOURSELF.

Questions that need answers: How do I pick myself? When I do, what should I say? What should I do? What should I make?

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In the New Economy its about connecting and giving thats the new measurement and the new standard. How do I become more trusted? How do I earn permission today? How can I be more generous? In what way can I improve our relationship today?

When we ask ourselves these questions, were not talking about Subway, where everything is measured in ounces.

These are the questions you should be asking yourself on a daily basis (in work and life).

Dont do what you love: love what you do. When we love what we do, we make a difference.

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But this doesnt come about as a consequence of doing what you love. Its the result of loving what you do.

Once you start making a difference youll become addicted youll want to make even more of a difference and impact even more people.

So if youre going for impact, love what you do.

The bell curve: normal distribution Early Mass Market Laggers

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We were fooled into thinking normal is good - that we want to be in the normal range. 1) Early adopters 2) Mass market 3) Laggers

The bell curve for adoption (from the book The Long Tail) includes three major groups:

Everyone wants to sell to the mass market. competition taking and owning that space.

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Heres the thing: there is already plenty of

And the people in the middle the mass market are theyre because they dont care enough to be on the cutting edge. So if youre making a new product and want to sell to a bunch of people that dont want to try something new and who are already buying from thousands of producers underbidding one anothergood luck. The mass market theyre in the middle because they dont care enough to listen to you.

Dont seek average


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Seek out the abnormal, cutting edge, WEIRD people, because they ARE listening. They WANT to hear from you. And the internet is able to take these people on the edges and connect them. Because the internet connects them, they move even farther into the fringes and to the edges (continually expanding and pushing the edge). You can find AT LEAST 10,000 people for any abnormal thing.

Connect them and you have a tribe.

The question to ask yourself: How can I make something a FEW people will care about and most people will ignore or hate?

Go in knowing you MUST shun the majority. Strive to get one star reviews on Amazon. Now ignore them and continue to do work that matters.

Tactical Questions:

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Strategic Questions:

- This is what Im doingbut this isnt working. Why not? o This is where a new technique might be useful (new copywriting, adding more optin boxes, creating new upsells, etc)

So ask yourself:

- I think I know my tribebut how do I find them/get them/connect them? o This is where the context of your bigger goals come in. What impact are you trying to make?

What isnt working? What is holding you back? Believe it or not, you already know the answer and you already know a possible solution. The next step is to test that solution in the market.


Freelance: paid when you work. Entrepreneur: paid when you sleep.

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Heres the thing: the cheapest possible person to hire is YOU. This is dangerous. It means youll keep resorting to hiring yourself. And if you keep hiring yourself, theres no one to focus on vision or growth of the company.

So if youre going to focus on being a freelancer, then hire someone to do the entrepreneurial aspect of your work (to manage resources and focus on growing and expanding the business) or get over your fear and do it yourself. A Caveat: If youre moving from freelance to entrepreneur (from selling yourself as the product/service versus selling a scalable product), you need to change your audience. Remember this before you begin your transition.

When you start out as THE reason people buy from you, the same connection, the same magic will be lost when you try to scale.


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Example: people will pay $500 per year for TV, so if theyre not paying $500 for your product, its because they believe TV is worth more for them that it has more value.

Let people decide what something is worth, what value something has (you put in the work, but you dont decide the value the market does).

1. Figure out how to divorce money coming in from value going out.

14 Essential Questions for Your Project:

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1. The thing youre going to make or service youre going to provide: who is it for? a. If you said everyone, you already failed. Be specific. Now get more specific. Now get to the fringe (seek out the abnormal or the people on the edge).

3. This group: have they ever bought anything like this before? a. Believe it or not, most people in the world have never bought something new. Shopping is a western luxury; most people in developing nations couldnt fathom going to the store with the intent to spend money on something theyve never used before. In many cases, spending money is life or death for these people b. Key takeaway: Focus on people who want to consume something new (and have the resources to consume it).

2. This group of people: what do they believe? a. The majority of people (the mass market) desire safety and stability, and when given a choice, many people choose the safe route. Heres the thing: you dont have the time or resources to tap into the mass market, so playing to the desires of safety and stability may not progress your goals. Since you will need to tap into the fringes, make sure you understand what they believe. Do not tap into mass market beliefs to sell to the abnormal.

5. The people who know you do they trust you? a. Trust depends on what youre selling, what youre making, and who youre interacting with. You might trust your doctor for health advicebut maybe not for stock tips.

4. This group (the group you want to sell to): do they know you exist? a. If they dont, how are they going to buy from you? If youre hoping to have someone else promote you or sell your content, youre banking on a gate-keeper to choose you. While possible, highly unlikely. Pick yourself instead by connecting with people and making sure they know you exist! b. Not sure how to get noticed? Why not start a blog and get your name out there?

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6. In the connection economy, are you a connector? a. 3 ways you can connect: i. Connect one person to another (e.g. twitter, facebook) ii. Connect the customer to a solution that you make. For example, Nate Kutskos kitchenware (kutskokitchen.com) solves a very specific problem for a very specific niche. iii. Connect one kind of customer to another kind of customer. For example, Google connects customers with money (those who buy ads) and people with trust (those who use Google to find their solution).

2 Days With Seth Godin by Tom Morkes | 31 7. What problem are you solving? a. Everything youre making, whether youre writing a book, creating a business, or leading a tribe, seeks to solve a problem. If youre writing a mystery novel, youre solving the readers boredom problem. If youre not solving a problem, move onto something else. 8. If this catches on, why wont cheaper competitors take your spot? a. If youre selling a commodity, its very likely someone will undercut your price. So what makes you stand out? If someone sees what youre doing, what will keep them from beating you at your own game? 9. The project youre creating whats the hard part? a. Easy things arent scarce b. Hard things are scarce c. Scarce things have value d. By doing something hard, youre creating something of value e. So what is so hard about what youre doing? 10. How much does it cost you to make a sale?

11. What is the lifetime value of a sale? a. This refers to the customer himself. If he buys from you, is that the end of the relationship? Or do you sell other products or services that he can come back to and buy later on? Some customers buy often and consistently, and you can predict that theyre lifetime value is much greater than a single purchase: i. Amazon determined their customer lifetime value was $33. Thats how much money every customer would bring in over the course of their lifetime. And they would use this as a planning factor any time they had to decide where to spending advertising/marketing dollars (if new ad space cost more than $33 to attract a new customer, it wasnt worth the money). 12. Is there a cheaper way to produce what you make? a. If so, you should either be producing it that way (without losing quality), or you should get out of the game fast (somebody will undercut your prices and drive you out of business). 13. Can you make it faster than other people?

a. This includes costs to connect, build trust, and then actually sell the product. Even for those writing books or screenplays, its worth considering (at least on a conceptual level) how much time and energy youll need to put into getting your book or script published or sold.

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a. Speed doesnt matterunless it does. If one of the qualities of what you do (whether you write, sell, or lead) involves the speed at which you produce/create/execute (say, daily blog posts, or one-click purchasing, or next day delivery), then be fast. Otherwise, use slowness as a characteristic of quality and let your customer know why it takes you 3 weeks to ship your product. 14. When will you ship? a. When will you intersect with the market? b. If you dont ship, all of your work is worthless c. Shipping brings failure d. When can you ship? Be specific: day and time.

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Good? Good.


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*The following are notes taken from a 1-2 hour Q&A, where individuals tell Seth their sticking points and Seth attempts to get them unstuck. The specific questions arent recorded, but Seths responses are applicable to a wide range of problems and might just help your project where you least expect it.

Are you not making enough money to continue and expand operations? This is called hanging on by a shoestring. If youre in this situation, its probably because youre not charging enough. You have an obligation to the people you serve to charge people enough to sustain and grow. This requires that you tell your story the right way. If youre talking to people who dont get the joke, you cant force them to get it: resist the temptation to try to persuade. You dont have the money or time to get it. Remember, youre not being paid to persuade and change peoples world views.

Your job is to amplify the people who ALREADY get the joke.

And to make the lives of the people who get it better.

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You are there to serve and provide for your tribe (not the people who dont get the joke theyre not in your tribe). New information can cause someone to take on new beliefs, but trying to persuade or change someones view does not help them take on a new belief. To get someone to take on a new belief, you must build a tribe of people who will listen to what you have to say. Then you slowly integrate the message.


Reviews dont matter. Negative comments dont matter. Worrying about reviews and negative comments is what Steven Pressfield calls resistance or what Seth Godin calls the lizard brain. Its holding you back, but it shouldnt, because it doesnt matter.


You must ship.

Society has trained people to wait and cram until the last minute. This doesnt work in the business world.

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In high school and college, you could simply put up fliers and hustle in different ways. There is very limited downside when youre bootstrapping a business in high school or college. In a real business, you HAVE to ship by a date or people will lose their jobs. Theres no more well see how long it takes there are very real ship dates with very real consequences on the line. A couple things of note: 1. Destroying something increases entropy 2. Building decreases entropy

Every single subproject HAS TO SHIP ON TIME. Heres how: If youre scared about sacrificing quality to hit the ship date, dont worry: Once youve committed to the DATE versus the quality, quality will go up. a. Discipline (it takes discipline to ship) b. Never be late (to meetings, deadlines, anything)

There are two types of sales: B2B is the same as C2C, except: 1. Consumer to consumer 2. Business to business

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So what? Well, depending on what youre selling, the only thing that needs to change is the story.

1. The person buying is using other peoples money, not his money 2. The person buying is trying to make someone else happy (his boss), not himself

Writing for/being associated with a trusted entity can be lucrative:

When you write for the Harvard Business Review, you are trusted by the HBRs tribe by default. This opens up doors. When you write for the HBR, you will be contacted and sought out by people who read and trust the HBR.


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Sales are a side effect of giving

(like this conference in NY: Seth didnt spend time selling, he spent time giving tons and tons of info away for free, and when he put this up for sale, people paid to come) 1. Connect people who want to connect with each other. Every person is looking to connect in some way, shape, or form. If you can connect them, they will pay you. 2. Take People to Lunch. When youre making a sales call, it puts up a wall and its immediately antagonistic so dont make a sales call, take people to lunch!

Two Elements of Successful Selling:


If you cant compete against a story, you need to change your story.

So, for example, if youre competing against Indian programmers that can do your job at a quarter of the price, but quality is questionable, you cant beat them on price. But you can offer guaranteed quality and excellent customer service.

This means you need to change your story from price to assurance we ASSURE you your product will deliver on time, that youll have incredible customer service, and that youll get 100% of our time. An example would be showing off your competitors on your website. Give people access to your competitors names and numbers. Tell your customers: Try these guys out. If they dont work out, come to us and well reimburse you for the amount you spent with them. Some tips for promoting yourself: Dont simply have recommendations and endorsements from just anyone. Instead, have MANY endorsements with pictures, videos, and detailed, personal success stories; every persons endorsement should be a story about how xyz product changed their lives. Questions to ask: 1. Is this product great? 2. Is this product a business

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This is not a good place to be.

The average number of apps sold on the app store: 10.

When someone buys one CD, send two. You cant do anything with a second copy of a CD except share.

Ways you can break out of the mediocre:

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It takes time.

You could also hook another persons audience by giving the other business (other person) your stuff for free to their audience.

Leadership says I know what story youre telling yourself, but I want to help you understand this new story


If youre connecting, how do you ensure its the right kind of conversation? So, for example, on a blog or in a group, what types of conversation do you want to produce? What types of people do you want interacting and how do you want them interacting? Create a positive environment, so their comments must raise the standard. Remember: misery loves company, so dont let negative people get into the conversation.


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If youre going to write something, make sure its worth reading.


Write your book only if you can say to yourself with certainty: this is going to blow the minds of 10 people. Write out loud for these people no one else.

The people who read 50 Shades wont read your book theyve already read the 1 book they are going to read this year.

Building a customer base takes TIME.

You can become an overnight success, but sometimes it takes 20 years of building a tribe first.

The Inc 500 list: Makes every company want to be on this list.

The Forbes 100: Does the same as the above.

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Any list like this (top 50, top 100) makes those NOT on the list want to get there, and makes those not number 1 want to get to number 1. And, finally, it makes number 1 want to STAY at number one!


Lists are powerful if you can use them right.

You cant protect an idea. Ideas arent scarce:

If youre worried about someone stealing your idea, stop worrying: its a complete waste. You think they wont get that idea at some point?

Whats scarce is doing the difficult work to bring the idea to life.

If youre not willing to do that difficult work, someone else will take your place.

Remember: if the work youre doing isnt difficult, then youd better be faster or cheaper than the other guys: 1st to market and 1st to ship.

The challenge of scaling:

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There are only two real ways to scale. You either use the money you make from your customers to continue to grow and expand your business, or you tell a good story to investors, and make it really clear what they will get (ex: our product pays for itself in seven days). Seths recommendation: go with option 1.


Deep is better than wide. Ask yourself:


What do you do? Who do you interact with? What are you measuring and why are you measuring it?

Where do you focus?

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If you want to make money, you must answer these questions it changes how much time you spend on what activities. Your results are the consequence of where you focus. So what are you keeping score of?


Seth: I feel like a fraud all the time. Its natural to feel this way. Ask yourself: is your story authentic? If people knew your story (fully exposed) would they still buy your book?

Names dont matter dont worry about the name.

What do you want?

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More customers? More revenue per customer? Lower overhead? Things you can do to ignite growth: 1. You can franchise: Applebees 2. You can give it away: Wikipedia 3. You can brand: Triathlon (free) vs. Ironman (people must pay to run event)


Find someone who will tell you the truth (keep them close).


When youre more afraid of letting people down than doing the work, youll do the work. Separate the bosss analysis from how you analyze.


Quit if you cant be the best in the world (best in the customers world, at this time, at this thing).

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Martha Stewart you think she comes up with the apple pie recipe?

We want to hear it from Martha, not Marthas team (same with Tony Robbins, Dr. Phil, Oprah etc.) So if youre the expert, or want to be the expert, just remember this important fact: you cant scale the expert.

She doesnt worry about that - she curates. Her NAME is what makes money people want the product because she uses the product. If she had someone else present the material, show it off, run the show, people wouldnt want it.

A tribe is different than your target audience.

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An Example: people who run in short shorts - when they first became popular - used to nod to one another as they ran by. Now, more people wear these items and no one cares anymore. A few notes worth highlighting: There was a tribe; its not really there anymore.

1. Not all tribes WANT to connect (hoarders, for example, dont want to connect with one another). 2. Not all tribes spend lots of money. 3. YOU CANT HAVE INSIDERS IF YOU DONT HAVE OUTSIDERS. 4. Be willing to make people unhappy, upset, or angry (they are the outsiders). 5. Its expensive to start a new tribe. Much easier to move into someone elses tribe (write for Fast Company, HBR, etc.) 6. Bring something to someone elses tribe that overlays w/ yours

People dont know what they want.

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You cant ask people what they want they will simply refer to what they already have and ask for better/faster/cheaper.


Instead, write/produce/ship whatever it is that you want to make.

Why would someone want to hear from you? Why would they notice and miss you when they dont hear from you? Teach - dont sell - every day. Teach consistently send it out consistently.

Permission Marketing means people will miss you when you dont show up.

Once you realize youre a teacher, its not hard to find students.

Who comes to your website? Refine, get specific.

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How do they know to come here (to your website)? What do you want the customer or reader to jump to conclusions about? You have 4 seconds before they make a snap judgment and leave or stay. Remember: all a website can get you to do is (1) BUY SOMETHING, (2) READ SOMETHING, (3) SIGN UP FOR SOMETHING (click something) What do you want the visitor to do?


What is your super power?

Be remarkable. Be memorable. Be something and do something that many people will hate and that others cant live without. TV has no real characters its 1 dimensional: we have a story about someone, and we have his superpower.

What is your superpower?

Nobody wants to watch a TV show with a slightly unremarkable person that takes you 30 years to get to know. We NEED 1 dimensional we need superpowers.

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A story takes 4 seconds to get. A superpower tells a story in 4 seconds (e.g. if you need someone with laser eyes to blow something up, you call Cyclops.or if you need someone to make a storm, you call Stormetc.)

Your story your SUPERPOWER is about effectiveness.

How well does your superpower solve some sort of problem? What can you do that people MUST call you for if theyre having that problem? Testing this idea: if youre thing is enthusiasm, what does this look like as a superpower? It doesnt simply mean youre really enthusiastic (this is an attribute). What does enthusiasm solve? Does it mean you help organizations overcome internal obstacles better than anyone else? Does it mean you help individuals become their best selves? These are the types of things a superpower might look like. Some ways to harness a superpower:


a. Become MORE stereotypical (if people can make fun of you, youre on the right track) b. Become MORE edgy (be espresso not latte)

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One example: the people who run TEDx events. Instead of meeting up with people attending the event, meet up with people who host the events once a year.

You can build a tribe of organizers:


When being asked: what do you do? Instead of telling a boring story, initiate with a recent product you completed or exciting event you were a part of. Person: What do you do? You: Oh, well I was just on set helping Peter Jackson film his newest movie

People dont want to hear what you do - they want to know what youre passionate about, what you struggle with, and, MOST OF ALL:

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People WANT to be told a story.

People dont care from what brand theyre buying when they buy a commodity (fuel, water, etc.) But we still find cases like Fiji Water. How? First, they gave it to hotels for free, but stipulated that the hotel not sell it for less than $5.00 per bottle. Then they gave it to celebrities for free. Now you see Fiji Water everywhere and it seems incredibly expensive. Thats the power of telling the right story.

So now, when you see it at Costco for $1.50 per bottle, it seems incredible. But you dont notice that the water right next to it sells for $.39 per bottle


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Dont end the conversation when someone says no to your sale. Instead, tell a story about why you changed professions, what moved you, and why you did it. Or explain how others felt the same way, but that was BEFORE they learned this cool other thing about your product or service. For example: this other couple felt the same way but that was before they tried it out. After they went for the test drive, their opinion changed.


Writing a book is a long, lonely journey with almost no immediate pay off. Blogs: short reaction time and feedback (push, get response). Books: long reaction time and feedback only at the end.

The only payoff, if there is one, is after a long, long time. Instead of push, feedback, push, feedback (like a blog), its push, push, push, push and (maybe) feedback. Lizard brain/resistance/The Enemy: careful on any long journey, lonely journey, the Enemy will try to get you to quit. Keep fighting.


Attention versus Trust:

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The only time we change anything is through dialogue. Attention can be gimmicky. Gimmicky creates distrust. By doing something generous, you immediately remove the barrier of distrust. Generosity, in essence, creates trust. When marketing (telling a story), be specific as to whom youre talking to. Not specific as in North American kids specific as in MY kids (the person youre talking to). If you try to talk to everyone, you end up talking to no one.

Before you engage someone in conversation, answer this question: what do you want? If you dont want anything, then dont waste the other persons time. Make your story about the listener, not about you. We become bored with a story because its not our problem; make it my problem and Ill stay interested.


What is the one problem you have that, if you could solve it, would change everything?

You see what you look for; you find what you search for. Your job: to see in a way that helps your business. It takes: 1. Practice. 2. Discipline.

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When were inside the problem, its like being in the trenches; the only decisions we can make are tactical (the how of what were doing). Now is not the time to change the strategy (the why of what were doing). Be relentless in identifying a niche and owning it. Pick your edges. Now get edgier.

We all get stuck because we cant see it; we are often INSIDE the problem. And when were inside the problem, we cant make a strategic decision.


Multi-tasking is the tool of the lizard brain continual partial attention keeps us too busy to do the real creative work. One way to subdue the lizard brain (in order to do great work): dont look ahead.

It starts with planning and execution.

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Thrashing is the process of turning an idea into something tangible. The cost of changing your plan on day one costs essentially zero dollars. The cost of changing your plan on day 300 could cost you everything. Questions to ask yourself:

The point is this: start thrashing early (and be brutal). The majority of thrashing should be at the beginning of your project. Is this a project worth shipping, or should it be scrapped? Whether you should continue on with a project or scrap it should be decided before you get the ball rolling (it will hurt your pride, but save you money in the long run). Scrapping a project before it begins is a WIN. Not scrapping but NOT shipping is failing. A way to decide whether you should continue with your project: if people want to use it, its worth doing. Sometimes, this means small scale testing before going to market.


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A Meme is an idea expressed through an image. So what is your meme? What is the underlying message, theme, truth of your idea? Ideas (memes) spread. Make sure yours is worth spreading. 1. Make your project easy to share. 2. Make your project something people WANT to share.

People want to talk, so give them something to talk about. If you dont give people something to talk about, nothing spreads. And your project wont work unless people are spreading it. The heart of Permission Marketing is crafting ideas that are engineered to spread (see above) and structured to lend itself to virality.


If youre making something digital, you should probably give it away for free (spreads and shares better that way).

If youre making something physical, you need to sell it (physical is limited and therefore scarce; it needs to be sold).

An example of the digital / physical divide: TED Talks.

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You can watch thousands of TED Talks online for free. But if you want to attend in person, it can cost upwards of $6,000 per ticket. The brilliance of this method: the online distribution is free (so essentially free to the curators) and it gets people talking. Because people are talking, it spreads the idea. By spreading the idea, people become interested and willing to pay lots of money to go attend a live showing. The digital supports the physical and vice versa.

If youre a creative entrepreneur, you should have different hats to wear; you should have a hat for your design, your art, your marketing, your networking, etc. Depending on what aspect of your project youre working on, changing hats is essential.

Its also possible to have certain areas where only certain hats are allowed. For example, Seth has an office room where only positive thoughts are allowed. People will be (and have been) kicked out for speaking negatively. To enter the room, you must be wearing your positive hat.


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People crave connection. Become a community organizer. Organize your tribe (meet-ups, schedule events, etc.).


You have a choice: you can avoid responsibly and mechanize (see: robot factory), or you can take responsibility and create art.


Brainstorming doesnt work. Once people realize that they have to actually DO WORK to bring their ideas to life, the brainstorming excitement fizzles out Dont put effort into group brainstorming its a waste of time. Become edgier through process and discipline. An example of edges: 1. Open 24 hours a day. Effort is better spent towards edge-craft: a stepwise movement to edges.


Dont let your edges turn into your tactics. Your edges are your guide toward making the right choice. Always make the choice that moves you to your edge.

2. Always pick up the phone (customer service edge).

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Whos list do you want to be on?

When someone is looking for the best person in the world at XYZ, do you want to be on that list? Which list is this? Who does it belong to? Essential Truths to Remember:

Start looking everywhere you go to add people to your team so they will add you to their list. Is your name on every list you think it could be? 1. Opportunities open up every day. 2. People are looking to build their list. 3. You choose your team you decide the lists you want to be on.


What does success look like?


Now think of ways to connect them to one another.

If you want to change the world, if you want to be the best in the world at somethingwhat does this look like? What does world mean? What does success mean to you?

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Identify a list of the top 100 people you want to connect with.

You can connect with them by creating meet-ups to connect them to one another. People will want to connect with you if youre not selling them.

On YOUR story

People dont talk about numbers and facts; they talk about the story the numbers and facts tell. People will tell stories about you: with your help, or without your help. So help people tell the story you want them to tell.

On Copywriting

Talk (and therefore write) in a way people want to hear, not in the way that makes you right.

The 4 Essential Characteristics for Every Entrepreneur

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1) Patience for ROI. Take your time. Put in the effort. Make things better than they need to be. Create art. 2) Connecting versus profiteering. Find and make connections with other people. Connect other people to one another who would benefit. Connect ideas to the people who would benefit from them. Focus on connection first and foremost. 3) Willingness to seek. Seek knowledge. Seek failure. Dont hide behind a desk, a guaranteed income, the certainty of what you know and dolook for uncertainty and fear and then find the courage to take them both on daily. 4) Better storytelling. We are the stories we tell (and the stories others tell about us). Learn to tell better stories.

On Ideas
Dont worry about stealing ideas. And dont worry about your idea not being good enough. Its not about competition anyway. Its about taking a good idea and making it better.

Every idea you improve upon, you create a bigger bucket for everyone else to draw upon. This is the infinite sum game. As you grow and increase and produce, so everyone else benefits.

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On Tribes (Part 2)

If you have an idea, you need to make it clear. You need to be able to break it down into steps, from inception to completion. If, for some reason, your idea is not clear or includes miracle happens as one of the steps, then your idea is no good.

Tribes are cultural. Certain stories and certain words identify a tribe. But there is no ownership of said tribe. Tribes are all about connection connection of people and ideas. So if youre not leading a tribe, start connecting stuff.

You cant own a tribe. Tribes arent owned by anyone.

On Leadership

Leadership isnt about telling others what to do.

Instead, leadership says: Im going to go this way, who wants to voluntarily follow?

The Reality
Fears - we all have them:

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Im not ready. If I had the technique, I would startif I knew how to edit, I would initiateif I knew how to market, I would beginor if I knew what attracted customers, then I could instigate Lies. All of it.

These lies are convincing because we so often tell ourselves Im not ready.

And heres the worst part: you wont find someone else to invalidate the lies you tell yourself because everyone promotes and supports this idea and uses it against you; marketers and salesmen especially. The marketer or salesman knows you dont think youre ready, so theyll tempt you with helpful tips to make sure youre successful to get you ready so you can be successful

Thats the lie they will tell.

Its all manipulation all of it. These marketers and salespeople are simply manipulating your weakness.

And they will feed you distractions in the form of notes and checklists and courses and services...

But you know what? YOU ARE READY. So START.

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Do what you know you can do, and do it right now. Instead, begin creating. Today.

Dont worry about editing. Dont worry about marketing. Dont worry about the unessential things that dont matter at least not right now.

In One Month | In One Year

What will you have created?

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At the end of the weekend with Seth Godin, he gave us each a challenge: Go ship something in the next 30 days. So I did (see: The Art of Instigating, inspired by this weekend, no less) Now I want to extend the challenge to you:

Youve just finished this eBook and there had to have been something you gleaned from this knowledgesomething, even if it was small or seemingly insignificant, that could change your life or business for the better. Use that piece of knowledge and put it to use.


If youre not sure how, here are a few free resources to get you started:

The Gunslingers Guide to Starting: Start, finish and ship your project in 30 days or less.

The Gunslingers Workbook: Use it on your computer or print it out and use these workbook pages to bring your idea to life.

Putting on Your Brain Goggles - Idea Creation 101: Cant seem to come up with a good idea? This short eBook will get your brain in the right spot to start creating.

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And if you want some more content to help you start, finish, and ship your project, then you can always subscribe to my blog by clicking here. Its free and always will be.

Thank You

Thank you so much for reading. Like I mentioned earlier, this thing wasnt easy or cheap to put together. But if you read and enjoyed it, it is worth every ounce of effort I put into it. If you like what Ive done here, you can follow/like/connect with me on: TWITTER | FACEBOOK | LINKEDIN

If you want more of my content, you can find it: TOMMORKES.COM On my blog:

Via my podcast:


Again, hope you enjoyed. And if you did please spread the word!

This is Tom Morkes,

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If youre reading this, you ARE the Resistance