The debut of our Untemplater Video Interview Series is with none other than Seth Godin! Seth was gracious enough to chat with us about entrepreneurship, the value of an MBA, the best way to start a company, and his new book Linchpin.
Read below to see the full list of questions that I got to ask Seth and short excerpts of his answers:
Can you tell us about your first entrepreneurial experience?
There is a difference between being a freelancer and an entrepreneur:
Freelancers don’t have bosses; they work for themselves but they get paid for the hours that they work. If they don’t put in the hours, then they don’t make money.
Entrepreneurs build something bigger than themselves. They use other peoples money and they build organizations that can live and die without them.
If you act like an entrepreneur, but work like a freelancer, sooner or later you’ll go nuts or work yourself to death.
You have founded some amazing companies. Can you tell us about the companies that failed?
- The first company that made video tapes of fish swimming in an aquarium for people that couldn’t take care of their fish
- Company that did fund-raising for high school bands selling light bulbs door-to-door
- In the book packaging business, Seth got 900 rejection letters in the first year
There have been many failures that Seth has overcome for every success that he has had.
When you failed, how do you still have the income to continue pushing and starting another company?
Seth’s biggest fear is having to get a job as a “bank teller.” The battle as a freelancer or entrepreneur is to have enough money to make sure that he would never have to succumb to getting a job as a bank teller.
Advice Seth gives:
- Have enormously low overhead and rent
- Keep forward motion with your projects: build new relationships, sharpen skills, push your name out there
With your startups, are you building something that you’re passionate about or are you solving a pain?
Seth has never said, “Here’s a cool thing that’s going to make me money.”
Seth is always looking to change people for the better, to set a positive example, and to build a platform to spread ideas.
Would you advice a young aspiring entrepreneur to do something that she is passionate about or solve a pain?
Seth believes it’s important to be passionate about the process.
If you try to make your hobby into a career, then more likely than not you’re going to end up wrecking your hobby.
What you need to become passionate about is the process of running projects, the process of ideation, the process of thinking through a business model.
Do you feel an MBA is necessary for an entrepreneur or someone looking to move up the corporate ladder?
Seth believes an MBA is dramatically overrated unless you want to become a Management Consultant or Investment Banker. If you don’t want those two jobs AND if you can’t get into the top 4 in Business Schools, don’t get an MBA.
Tell us about the 6-month Alternative MBA Program that you created
9 professionals were chosen to go through a 6-month educational experience with Seth Godin where they learned all the highlights of a traditional curriculum, but more importantly, built things and experienced real-life businesses.
Lets pretend that tomorrow you start with a blank slate. If you wanted to build Squidoo again, what would be your first steps?
The big win on the internet is in organizing micro tribes who want to be a part of what you’re doing and where you’re going.
The challenge is how do you find that tribe and how do they find you. And how do you develop a business model where your tribe decides that they love you and will follow you before they end up giving you lots of money.
There is so much free content online. What is the X-factor that compels someone to pay you money for an Ebook or newsletter
There are only two types of content that are worth paying for online:
- Content that gets you stuff faster than anyone else: Bloomberg
- Information that connects you to other people
People aren’t going to pay for a newsletter or a well written article.
What can people expect from Linchpin
The new economy does NOT reward people who fit in. If you fit in, if you follow the manual, if you are average, if you are obedient, if you do what you are told, if you are compliant, then we will ignore you, mistreat you, disrespect you, and then discard you.
Linchpin shows you how to become indispensable.