Tune into part 2 of our discussion with Author and Entrepreneur, Seth Godin. In this episode Seth discusses an array of topics with the #LearnToWin Team including fear, intentionality, conscious leadership + the one TV show he watches a year.

Seth has written 19 best sellers, was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame and continues to motivate and inspire people all over the world with his altMBA program along with his public speaking events.

2:03 – Why do we fear, fear?

5:03 – The negative impact of television

9:54 – Why intentionality matters

11:56 – How AI will drive marketing spend

13:40 – Filtering by the smallest viable audience

15:13 – The need for conscious leadership










Full Episode Transcription:

Todd: (00:00)
Beautiful segue into fear. Joe Rogan was, I met him when I was on fear factor and that was another story we can’t get into, but I really gravitated towards your work and your thoughts on fear, right? And fear and I think pushing yourself and getting outside your comfort zone. But on the flip side of the coin, also your book that had by far the most impact on me was the debt. It actually made me break up a partnership with a business partner. So it’s this fearlessness that I have some of in me in certain ways. And then knowing when to not be fearless. So I’m curious to hear your thoughts on why is it so important to confront fears or understand your fears and when do you, when do you decide to push forward and when do you stay back.

Seth: (00:50)
That’s a great question. I like to dissect the words here. I have never proposed fearlessness. I think fearlessness is really close to recklessness, which is really close to being dead. The fear is there for a reason and you probably can’t even make it go away even if you want to. That’s not a question for me. The question for me is, first of all, why are you afraid of fear as opposed to just listening to fear? Cause if you’re afraid of your knowing you have two fears and you don’t even get near the thing, if you can figure out which part of it you’re afraid of and why even if that’s a false signal or a useful signal, it’s a false signal. It’s probably for the other people. And in that moment you have a huge advantage is you realize it’s a false signal and they don’t.

Seth: (01:39)
And that, you know, just we’ve mentioned email a couple of minutes ago. When did you get your first email, address? Why didn’t you get your first email address the year before that? Because it turns out the people who got their email addresses at the beginning were also the ones who bought domain names when they were free. We’re also the ones whose productivity went up when everyone else’s was slowing down. We’re also the ones, right? So there were all these benefits that came from it. These people weren’t fearless. They just said, well if I’m wrong about email, what does it cost me? And you adopt a mindset of exploration which lets you explore various frontiers. Now that’s different then working on a dude ranch in Arizona and deciding to always go first when they’re cleaning out the Sage brush. Cause that’s where the rattlesnakes live. And there’s plenty of history that the people who go first are dead.

Seth: (02:34)
Don’t be one of those people. That’s a good fear to have. And so that’s the distinction of talking about. So you know, I started saying 20 years ago, everyone should have a blog. There are a lot of people who still don’t have a blog cause they’re afraid, write it under another name. Well now I’ve removed the only fear you could possibly have and you still don’t have a book. Like so the point is we say why I need to leave time to watch Netflix right now we’ve really gotten to the heart of it, which is you’re afraid of exposure to life and it’s easier to hide. Well now that we’ve worked it all the way through, that’s fine. But don’t whine about the fact that you’re not moving forward because it’s a choice.

Derek: (03:15)
Wanna follow up on that? 

Todd: (03:15)
No, no, I, I, I am in alignment with that 100%. Unfortunately I am the guy going into the brush sometimes at the rattlesnakes, but did help me on fear factor. 

Seth: (03:28)
Yeah, I confess, I’ve never seen it. I don’t have your TV, but I can imagine, I can imagine from the name, I’m already imagining a whole episode. 

Derek: (03:36)
So that’s a good question I have off the topic, so you don’t want the TV, you know, I’m used to, you don’t watch much TV if any, or maybe you do, but you don’t have the two accounts you follow on Twitter. It’s Alt MBA and Brian Koppelman. Why? Why is that? Why is Brian the person? He’s a very well. 

Seth: (03:51)
okay. So I watched TV one day a year cause I have to watch a whole season of Billions. 

Derek: (03:58)
This is a great show. By the way.

Seth: (03:59)
Brian is one of my closest friends. And that’s the only reason why. 

Derek: (04:02)
That’s the only reason why. Okay. Cause I really was like why of all people. Right. Like, but that’s a good, that’s a great asset. 

Todd: (04:09)
One day per year. 

Seth: (04:11)
Well because ruins me, I’m crying. Right? I’m mean I talk fast, I talk over people like double cross deep. I try to break deals. I counted having extra marital affairs because it goes straight to my amygdala and I can’t get, it takes me a long time to get over it. 

Todd: (04:26)
Do you read about popular shows? 

Seth: (04:29)
Oh yeah. I’ve seen five minutes of most things, so I can pretend I know what I’m talking about.

Derek: (04:37)
Do you watch on that day as well? 

Seth: (04:39)
No, I mean like you’re on the airplane, you’re at the gym, you’re at the airport. Oh that’s what that is, right. I just, I find that modern television has been weaponized to get under your skin in the shortest period of time with the maximum impact. And I don’t, I feel manipulated by it. 

Todd: (04:58)
So I have a question about it just cause we’re on topic. Do you think I tell this to my wife, I have a theory that it’s like the junk shows that a lot of people just love watching the reality, the Housewives, this and that. Like I think it really has a negative impact on the viewer and the culture. Yeah. But I don’t know, have you gone deep into that study? Is there actually a psychological study that you know of that measured the impact? 

Seth: (05:25)
Well Zig started talking about this 50 years ago, right? So Ziglar says everyone’s got an account in their head and they’re either making deposits or withdrawals. And I started as a salesperson and there’s a lot of withdrawals when you’re selling. No, no, no, no, no, no. And so most people who try to make it in sales fail because they’re not making deposits. And I was listening to three or four hours a Zig day. And that made up for the fact that I was hearing no, a lot. The problem with TV shows that are manipulating people into believing that there are a short, quick, happy endings combined with a huge disastrous outcomes. And that racing to the bottom is a useful way to be part of the culture. Well, if we were doing that to someone in a prison, a prisoner of war, we’d be violating some hate convention. Cause you’re being brainwashed into something.

Seth: (06:22)
And so the question is, you know, I don’t know. I bring a Pavlov all the time. It rings a bell with me. I don’t know. And the idea is if you condition someone to expect a certain thing when response to a certain stimulus that will kick in. And what I’m doing when I’m teaching people saying, you know what’s going to happen if you write this post, people in this workshop, are going to say something nice to you, see you and help you make it better. And people don’t believe it until it’s happened 10, 15, 20 times in a row. And then they get in the hang of it.

Todd: (06:55)
Do you also tell them that some people might say it’s bad?

Seth: (06:57)
Well in these settings, no one’s going to criticize you as a human. That’s because we control the setting. They will tell you what’s wrong with it, how to make it better. But the reason I don’t have comments on my blog, I wrote a blog post two years ago about why I don’t have comments is because the people who were commenting were anonymous and angry. And so every time I started to write a blog post, all I was thinking about was making it so they wouldn’t do that. So my blog posts started getting longer and more convoluted and I didn’t even want to hit publish. And after a week I said, I have a choice blog with no comments or no blog. And I don’t read my Amazon reviews. I haven’t read one in six years because I’m never going to write that book again. So I don’t need to read what an anonymous person didn’t like about it. That’s telling me about them. It’s not telling me about me. So that doesn’t mean you insulate yourself from all negative feedback. It means you insulate yourself from people who are for their own purposes, saying something without you in mind. And that’s how I’ve conditioned myself to keep shipping. Other people are going to have a different technique. Like Brian loves all this stuff and he’s, you know, deep into Twitter, he, he gets fuel from people who say idiotic things. If you get fuel, you go ahead and do, I love it. 

Derek: (08:20)
So going back to this brings up the topic of time in my brain, right? So like, and just how do you mean you had a post a couple of weeks ago talking about opportunity costs. We’re talking about all these different pieces all related. I mean, for you, what is the way that you spend your desire to spend your time? Like, I mean, is it doing stuff like that? Is it, is it creating more projects? Is it creating relationships?

Seth: (08:42)
So, you know, intentionality matters a lot. Whenever I say intentionality, I think of Hershey park in Pennsylvania for two reasons. The first one is, at least when I was there 15 years ago, it had the worst signage I’ve ever seen. Every sign is a slightly different typeface and none of it made sense. Whoever designed it did not design it with intent. They just slap stuff together. But the second thing is if you go to Hershey park or any place actually, and watch what other people are doing, some people are there with intent. I came to do this or accomplish this or feel this and they’re doing it and other people are wandering about. A shiny object catches their eye and they do this and at the end of the day they’re like, what did I do? That’s the mindset of what’s on TV. I’ll just keep turning the channel.

Seth: (09:28)
So I am intentional and because I was in the internet a long time ago, I don’t do this to make a profit. I do this because it’s my passion and I’m intentional about what do I want to accomplish. And I have addictions. I’m addicted to my email and I admit it. But when I am seeking to make a thing happen, something better might come along, but it better be better or I’m not going to be distracted by it. And often we see people who say it’s more important to me to please a stranger who raised their hand or called me on the phone than it is to do what’s on my agenda. And I think as soon as you sacrifice your agenda to an open API, you’ve given up. 

Derek: (10:11)
It’s a fascinating perspective. Yeah. Yeah. I love it. So I want to, so we had talked about doing this. I want to open up this idea. So we had talked about doing a speed round, if you will, at the end. When I say speed round, meaning. 

Seth: (10:26)
Everything’s a speed round. 

Derek: (10:27)
So let’s put it this way. We just say a word and you just go wherever you want to go with that. Like in a sense of, you know, so for example, artificial intelligence and marketing. 

Seth: (10:37)
That’s four words.

Derek: (10:39)
Fair enough. What about topic. A topic. Whatever comes to mind when you hear that. 

Seth: (10:44)
Okay. So artificial intelligence is everything a computer hasn’t done yet. So as soon as the computer can do it, we don’t call it artificial intelligence anymore. I worked with Arthur C. Clark a really long time ago. So we’ve been calling something artificial intelligence for a really long time. It’s just always around the corner. Marketing is not advertising without a doubt.

Seth: (11:06)
Once we have algorithmically placed interruption ads in social media and the internet advertising, media buying is going to be a different craft and the number of people who need to do it is smaller. But that’s not marketing. Marketing is what change do you seek to make in the world? What are you trying to do here anyway? How does this product make me feel? What’s your actual story? That’s marketing. I’m glad that we don’t have media buying anymore in this space because you know, it’s rare to find a media buyer who had a brilliant breakthrough strategy, right? They were just a clerk and some of them were very well paid clerks, but you don’t point to one brand versus another. Say they won because had a better media buyer is not buying it. So AI is gonna drive marketing spend. It’s going to make Facebook a bunch of money.

Seth: (12:03)
It’s going to make interacting online worse than ever. And we can’t stop. 

Derek: (12:09)
Will that then drive people back to being human connected, if you will, for lack of better term. Like because the internet will become, because it has become the place for what it is now. Right. Do you foresee that that shift will get to the point where it’s so bad if you will, the people go back return to the roots of being connected on a human level. 

Seth: (12:27)
Okay, so even at its peak, bottled water was only being purchased by five or 10% of the population. Yeah. So you don’t compare it to water. You say is this luxury good for a few people that most of us market something, we’re 10% of the population would be a huge home run. Sure. So let’s not worry about what masses of people are going to do.

Seth: (12:52)
The people who care, what are the people who care going to do if they’re not willing to see you and be human with you, they’re not gonna be your customer anyway. So the first level of filtering as a marketer is the smallest viable audience. Where is the group of people?

Derek: (13:06)
Right there? You had it written down. 

Seth: (13:09)
Where’s the people who would miss me if I’m gone? Yeah. Can I so overwhelmed them with the light that they’ll tell the others the end and we get lost in that because we look at tide or we look at Arrid extra dry and we say that’s the gold standard. No, that’s just a souvenir from 1960. 

Derek: (13:28)
Okay, next topic related conscious capitalism. 

Seth: (13:32)
Yeah. I wish, I think that Milton Friedman polluted the whole conversation by saying erroneously completely out of whole cloth. The only purpose of a corporation is to maximize the value for shareholders. It’s not true. There’s no basis in that. But it, let’s you off the hook. Let’s them take as much money out of the businesses they want and do whatever they can justify. I think conscious leadership is urgent, essential and has always been true. If you’re not proud of it, don’t do it. But as soon as someone appends capitalism to it, now they’ve got these two conflicting things cause you use the word capitalism to mean Milton Friedman. Otherwise you wouldn’t have said capitalism and Milton Friedman didn’t believe in conscious. Milton Friedman was an unconscious capitalist. 

Derek: (14:28)
So go on the same lines though, cause it, just to dig in further, do you then see a totally new economic system that needs to be created along the lines of conscious leadership and economics? 

Seth: (14:38)
Yeah. So Corey Doctorow has written about this brilliantly. There’s no evidence that macroeconomics is true. They made up the Nobel prize and all the other Nobel prizes are really old. This one’s 1960 some bank paid for it, but they’re always wrong. So yes, the math of supply and demand, rational actors in certain timeframes, making rational decisions is legit. Behavioral economics is legit, but big economics, that’s just all new.

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