Posts Tagged ‘linchpin’

Linchpin Marketing

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

After my premature review of Seth Godin’s Linchpin I have been eagerly awaiting updates from my American cousins so that I can see what we Euros are in for when it ships. With the official launch on January 26th and the advance copies in the hands of Seth’s Tribe the tweets and posts are very positive. I like this review by Trebuchet because it succinctly summarizes the advice that Seth gives to succeed in the shifting sands of today’s business environment. There is a full list of the reviews over at Squidoo.

I continue to be impressed with the marketing campaign behind this book, and it’s clear that Seth walks the talk. Following the pre-release copy to the first 3,000 people who made a donation of at least $30 to the Acumen Fund, the book signing sessions offer a two hour Q&A: I would snap tickets up for this if I was in New York.

The review over at Lowell’s they note that many of the themes in Linchpin will be familiar ones to readers of Seth’s previous writing, which is the impression I got from the preview. It also seems I may be right in suggesting that this is more of a self-help book than previous works. The team over at Lowell’s, ‘struggled with how to categorize this remarkable book. Is it a self-help book? A leadership book? A business strategy book?’ I can’t anwer that yet, but I look forward to being able to soon.

New Management Paradigm Is Tribal

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Yesterday I got a bit ahead of myself by reviewing Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin without having read it. I did read the 60-page preview sent to European readers, but the fact that I think the book lacks some meat makes sense given that my American cousins are being treated to an extra 240 pages, so until we Euros get the full package let’s talk Tribes.

There are few books that will get the skeptic in me excited, and it seems even fewer as I get older, but in Tribes Godin did the trick! Of all his books it is the most relevant to my main area of interest – crowdsourcing. To put it in a nutshell this book inspires you to lead, not manage, and explains that by building a tribe you are creating more value than via a typical top-down approach.

It’s a book of ideas, including the one that you should believe in what you do, and try to create change around those beliefs. You do this by inciting a movement, and providing the structure that enables your tribe to communicate and advance your believe. These are what I consider to be some of the underlying principles behind building a solid crowdsourcing platform.

The book explains that technology, and the emergence of the social graph, are facilitating the conversion of groups into tribes, and making it easier than ever to be a leader. These tools are giving individuals more power than ever before, and there is a real opportunity for those who can reach a mindset where, ‘the safest thing you can do feels risky and the riskiest thing that you can do is play it safe’

Beyond the presentation of ideas, Godin goes on to give you practical advice on how to build a tribe:

  • Publish a manifesto
  • Make it easy for your followers to connect with you
  • Make it easy for your followers to connect with one another
  • Realize that money is not the point of a movement
  • Track your progress

He briefly discusses each, and goes on to explain the guiding principles of forming a tribe, but this is no nuts and bolts guide on how to become are leader. That is a problem for many senior managers – they  know that they gotta change, but they need more than a philosophy. I think that this is where platforms specifically set up to help companies and managers build tribes come into play. Of course, there are big ones like Twitter, but I think we will start to see company-specific technologies. I have a few ideas on this that I will flesh out in future posts.

So where do I stand on Godin’s Tribes? It’s an exciting, and inspiring read. Digest it and build a tribe of your own!

Is Godin’s Linchpin any good?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Seth Godin

[note: This review is based on the electronic excerpt that was distributed to international readers. Once I get a full physical copy it will be revised. The actual book is five times longer than the document I reviewed. i.e. this post can't fully answer the question in the title.]

Today marketing’s philosopher Seth Godin shipped his new book Linchpin, and it is quite a departure. Godin has always been one to rally the troops, but this reads more like a self-help book than sharp marketing analysis. As the author says, ‘My goal is to persuade you that there is an opportunity available to you, a chance to significantly change your life for the better.’ The basic premise of the book is that the post-industrial paradigm is totally broken, and this means we should stand up and change the way we behave in the workplace, whether as employees or entrepreneurs.

I feel like Godin is taking advantage of the fact that we are in a recession to make his point. Whilst he is correct in stating that job growth is flat and that we are in a negative wage cycle, he does not highlight the fact the economy is cyclical and we have seen this many times before. Instead he paints the current economic situation as evidence that in the face of competition and technology the Fortune 500 way of doing business no longer works. It’s a bit of a stretch if you ask me. When Charles Leadbeater estimates that crowdsourcing will disrupt 20 percent of the developed economies I think it is a more realistic assessment, and thus the other points in his book We-Think carry more weight.

But I can’t fault Godin’s motives as he just wants his readers to seize the opportunities that the current changes are creating. I’ll give him a pass for using that basic sales tactic of instilling fear to create a need. I don’t think you can go wrong by following his mantra, ‘The bargain is gone, and it’s not worth whining about and it’s not effective to complain. There’s a new bargain now, one that leverages talent and creativity and art more than it rewards obedience.”

The title of the book comes from the idea that it is the individual in the organization who collects, connects, and nurtures relationships who is indispensable. The author opines that these linchpins are the essential building blocks of tomorrow’s high-value organizations. Is there anything really new is stating the importance of relationships in business? I don’t see this as an insight – am I missing the point? If so please be linchpin-like, connect to me and let me know what I am missing.

When Godin states that ‘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’ he is going back to ideas that he has put forward many times before. In his book Tribes he shared the lessons he learned at Spinnaker where at the age of 24 he got company-wide buy-in by publishing an internal newsletter reporting on how his products were progressing. I guess there is no harm making such a valuable point again, but for me it is another reason why I consider Linchpin a refresher for Godinites rather than something new they can sink their teeth into.

When I read “The law of linchpin leverage” I really felt like I was being drawn into Tony Robbins territory. The law states that “The more value you create in your job, the fewer clock minutes of labor you actually spend creating that value.” The point that Godin is trying to make is that in order to be a linchpin you only have to be a dynamic innovator for a small percentage of the total time you are working, but it may be misinterpreted as the idea that you can achieve more by doing less.

I agree with the premise that you need to be fearless, but not reckless, and I am fascinated by the idea that we are all artists. Godin writes, ‘You can be an artist who works with oil paints or marble, sure. But there are artists who work with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.” He defines art as a personal gift that changes the recipient, and I agree that thinking about our roles in this way is a great way to facilitate becoming linchpins.

Overall I think that this would be an exciting and inspiring book to readers unfamiliar with Godin, but for those that have read him before, then shame on you if you aren’t already following the advice in Linchpin!

Good Godin He’s Done it Again!

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Nobody works a crowd like Seth Godin, especially if it’s his own.

This week, marketing’s answer to Alain de Botton launched the free presentation ‘What Matters now.’ You can download it here. The project gathered some of the smartest digital thinkers and asked them each to contribute a slide on what we should be focused on right now. Then boom – it’s launch time, and each one of the contributors announces it on their blogs, and the download becomes a Twitter trending topic for seven hours.

On the first slide of the download our guru informs us that ‘In a digital world, the gift I give you almost always benefits me more than it costs’ and at the same time lets us know that his new book Linchpin is coming out in January. Aha.

The presentation itself is a mash-up where the contributors fuse their personal styles with Godin-like sage and concise advice. It’s pretty good, but I just wish they’d asked Scott H. Greenfield to contribute – there’s a man who’ll get internet marketers thinking. One of my highlights was the Long Tail’s Chris Anderson, ‘Peer production, open source, crowdsourcing, DIY and UGC—all these digital phenomena are starting to play out in the world of atoms, too. The Web was just the proof of concept. Now the revolution gets real.’ My, it sounds exciting! The diagram below is a good one too.



This is the second wave of Seth’s book launch strategy, following on from him sending a pre-release copy of Linchpin to the first 3,000 people who made a donation of at least $30 to the Acumen Fund. This latest effort is twofold. First he has accessed the tribes of the contributors, and secondly he has brought these contributors further into his inner circle. No doubt we will see Aaron Wall and others reviewing Linchpin in January.

If as Guy Kawasaki says on his slide ‘the future belongs to people who can spread ideas’ then Godin is sitting pretty good, and  I need a few more readers, so why not hit my RSS button? Oh yes, I’m supposed to give you something first.

Acumen Tries Crowdfunding

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

acumen-fund-seth-godinThe Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty, recently benefited from 3,000 people making a donantion in order to get a pre-release copy of Seth Godin’s Linchpin. They then followed up with a rather interesting email to the donors:

I need your ideas.

Thank you for your contribution to Acumen Fund. We’re really grateful to Seth for thinking up the idea and especially to you for taking action.

As fans of Seth, you are probably amazing marketers and communicators.  We’re thrilled to get your donation, but we’d be even more excited to hear your ideas.  We’ve created a special group that we’d like you to join where we’ll hold this conversation.

I will be sending you a special invitation to join this group.  Besides that I won’t send you any more email, because other than saying thank you, we don’t have permission to add you to our list… BUT! I hope you’ll accept my invite and sign up for the group.  If you sign-up, we’ll send you occasional emails about ideas we have brewing, opportunities we’re pursuing and videos we’d like you to see.

Best regards,

This is a great idea. Acumen is not just crowdfunding by asking a crowd for money, instead they are giving existing donors the opportunity to contribute ideas. This is what real crowdfunding is all about – engaging a crowd to donate, and direct the use of their donations, or direct the way the charity is run.

My review of Linchpin here.