Day with Seth Godin brings business revelations

It's safe to say I was a little more than excited to be one of 50 people in the world invited to an exclusive, private session with my favorite author and change-agent, Seth Godin. I think I was more grateful for the invitation from Seth's people than for my first trip to New York City. I couldn't wait to grab a New York bagel on my 8 block walk in the Big Apple from my hotel to the conference.

All bagels and cream cheese aside, Godin spent four of our five hours together in a casual conversation, spending only the first hour with prepared remarks about his latest book, Linchpin. The subtitle describes the book best: "Are You Indispensable?"

Seth Godin is the author of Tribes, The Dip, Purple Cow, All Marketers are Liars, Permission Marketing, Meatball Sundae and other international bestsellers that have changed the way businesspeople think and act. He's the most influential business blogger in the world and consistently one of the twenty-five most widely read bloggers in the English language.

"The only way to get what you're worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about," Godin writes.

"I have no plans to write another book after this," Godin said, triumphantly. "I feel like my life's work is to promote the ideas explained in Linchpin." At the end of April, Godin announced that he was taking his Linchpin show on the road, with a possible stop in Portland, Oregon, in 2011.

The 12-time best selling author, founder of Squidoo, and former columnist for a little magazine called Fast Company, Godin carefully answered questions from his carefully selected audience from around the world.

I met a woman, Carmen Hurd-Reinmund, who brought together third-world orphanages and equestrian philanthropists. Now that's a Meatball Sundae. Her organization, Horses + Orphans, builds equestrian facilities at orphanages, then brings the older orphans to England to learn how to train world class horses, a valuable skill in Africa and South America, where they do much of their work. These students then go back to their orphanage to teach other orphans these same career skills.

I also met Dr. Orin Levine, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Levine is an expert on vaccines especially those that prevent pneumonia and meningitis. While at the conference, Levine shared some big news with Seth about his organization: A billion-dollar donation of antibiotics and vaccines for his organizations use around the world. Dr. Levine's work focuses primarily around healing children with pneumonia.

That Friday, April 16th, my Twitter followers were lit up with Godin-isms from the conference. Here's a summary:


  • "What got you here won't get you there."
  • "We have a problem when you give someone a mile and they only take an inch."
  • "Enlightened human resources departments talk about human capital, but treat people like cogs."
  • "The devil doesn't need an advocate. He's doing just fine on his own."
  • "You can either race to the top or race to the bottom. If you race to the bottom, the fear is that you will win."
  • "Technologies give us permission to put ourselves at risk."
  • And my favorite: "Quit thinking outside the box. Outside the box is a vacuum; nothing happens there. Go to the edge of the box and break a rule. That's where real change happens."