Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Seth

Paradox: Attention, Span, Decision, Life, Clean bathroom, Seth…

1. The attention paradox: Online, mass marketers

You can’t buy attention Online as easily as you can with traditional advertising.  Most commercial media has this imperative of being interesting built in.

The assignment is to make it viral, make it something people will watch or click on or even better, share.

This is hard for mass marketers, marketers who are used to making average stuff for average people and promoting heavily in media where they can buy guaranteed attention.

And so, we see organizations buying likes and pageviews, pushing for popovers and popunders and all sorts of new ways to interrupt online.

Smart advertisers are realizing that they have to make content worth watching to decide. A few are making media so entertaining that we not only want to watch it, but spread it.

The challenge is that all those hoops you need to jump through to attract attention might be precisely the opposite of what you need to do to cause action, to get someone to change her mind or to connect.

A squadron of singing ferrets might make your video spread, but that approach isn’t going to cause the action you seek.

And, alas, you have to do both.

2. Paradox on Decisions: Make more not less

You don’t run a punch press or haul iron ore. Your job is to make decisions.

The thing is, the farmer who grows corn has no illusions about what his job is. He doesn’t avoid planting corn or dissemble or procrastinate about harvesting corn.

And the farmer certainly doesn’t try to get his neighbor to grow his corn for him.

Make more decisions. That’s the only way to get better at it.

3. Paradox of This might not work” (working on something new)

Since June, I’ve been working flat out on creating the four books that were part of the Kickstarter and the big launch that climaxed with an event here in New York.

Along the way, I experienced what many people feel as they work on something new–I was  spending part of my time (against my better judgment) exhausting myself trying to predict and then control what people would think about my work.

Will they get it? Will this chapter hit home? Am I too far out on a limb?

This might not work.

At some level, “this might not work” is at the heart of all important projects, of everything new and worth doing.

And it can paralyze us into inaction, into watering down our art and into failing to ship.

I do my best work when I practice what I write about, and this time, I decided it was important to go as far out on a limb as I could.

The Icarus Deception argues that we’re playing it too safe, hence my need to go outside my comfort zone.

Changing the format, changing the way I interacted with some of my readers (using Kickstarter) and changing the timeframe of my work all combined to make this project the most complex one I’ve ever done.

Lots of moving parts, of course, but more scary, lots of places to fail. All very self-referential in a series of books about failure and guts and flying closer to the sun, of course. That’s the entire point, right?

Of course, trying to control what other people think is a trap. At the same time that we can be thrilled by the possibility of flying without a net and of blazing a new trail, we have to avoid the temptation to become the audience, to will them into following us.

Not only is it exhausting, it’s counterproductive. Sales (of concepts, of services, of goods) don’t get made because you’ve spent a sleepless night working on your telekinesis. They happen because you’ve made something worth buying, because you’ve outlined something worth believing in.

“This might not work” is either a curse, something that you labor under, or it’s a blessing, a chance to fly and do work you never thought possible.

As I slumped into my car, I turned on the radio. Stuck in the CD player, forgotten in the rush to get to the event, was the audio copy of Icarus.

(Download Audio Excerpt)

I don’t usually listen to my books after I’ve made them, but the recording sessions had been so arduous that I didn’t even remember making the recording. So there it was in my car, left behind as a quick refresher before I went onstage to give my first public talk about the book.

It turns out that I don’t just write for you. I also write to remind myself of what I’m hoping to become as well. Hearing myself, months later, reading something I didn’t remember writing or reading, I shed a few tears. Yes, this is work worth doing. Yes, being out on a limb is exactly where I want to be.

That’s where we’re needed… out on a limb.

Clean bathrooms

The facilities at DisneyWorld are clean. It’s not a profit center, of course. They don’t make them clean because they’re going to charge you to use them. They make them clean because if they didn’t, you’d have a reason not to come.

Paradox: It turns out that just about everything we do involves cleaning the bathrooms.

The facilities at Disney World are clean. It’s not a profit center, of course. They don’t make them clean because they’re going to charge you to use them. They make them clean because if they didn’t, you’d have a reason not to come.

Paradox: When you are trusted because you care, it’s quite likely the revenue will take care of itself.

Creating an environment where care and trust are expressed. If you take a lot of time to ask, “how will this pay off,” you’re probably asking the wrong question. When you are trusted because you care, it’s quite likely the revenue will take care of itself.

Paradox: You know something is important when you’re willing to let someone else take the credit if that’s what it takes to get it done.

When a conference works (and doesn’t)

When we get together with others, even at a weekly meeting, it either works, or it doesn’t. For me, it works:

…If everything is on the line, if in any given moment, someone is going to say or do something that might just change everything. Something that happens in the moment and can’t possibly be the same if you hear about it later. It might even be you who speaks up, stands up and makes a difference.

(At most events, you can predict precisely what’s going to be said, and by whom). In the digital age, if I can get the notes or the video later, I will.

…If there’s vulnerability and openness and connection. If it’s likely you’ll meet someone (or many someones) that will stick with you for years to come, who will share their dreams and their fears while they listen to and understand yours. (At most events, people are on high alert, clenched and protective. Like a cocktail party where no one is drinking.)

…If there’s support. If the people you meet have high expectations for you and your work and your mission, but even better, if they give you a foundation and support to go even further. (At most events, competitiveness born from insecurity trumps mutual support.)

…If it’s part of a movement. If every day is a building block on the way to something important, and if the attendees are part of a tribe that goes beyond demographics or professional affiliation. (At most events, it’s just the next event).

The first law of screenwriting is that the hero of a great movie is transformed during the arc of the story. That’s the goal of a great conference, as well. But it’s difficult indeed, because there are so many heroes, all thinking they have too much to lose.

Two people you might need in your professional life

An agonist. While an antagonist blocks an action, the agonist causes it to happen. Even more than a muse, a professional agonist might be exactly what you need to provoke your best work.

And of course, a procrastinatrix. Someone who’s only job is to hold you accountable for getting it done, now, not later.

In a world with fewer bosses than ever, when we are our own boss, these two functions are more important than ever. If you can’t find a way to do it for yourself, spend the time and the money to find someone to do it for you.

Neither job is particularly difficult to do, but it’s hard to do to yourself. Two more job titles for the future…

Every day is an investment

Path you’d like to walk

You’re not lucky to have this job, they’re lucky to have you.

For how long are you willing to be trampled and humiliated as a perpetual “in-training professional“?

How long are you willing to temp. work and submit to part time jobs in order to acquire more skills and talents on jobs you don’t care for, and for people they don’t care for you?

Is your path somewhere you’d like to go?

Are you ready to circumvent the countless uncertainties and little setbacks?

What am I doing to develop my leadership skills and talents?

To help others be better persons in control of their potentials?

Seth Godin posted on May 17, 2013

Every day, you invest a little bit of yourself into your work.

One of the biggest choices available to you is where you’ll be making that investment.

That project that you’re working on, or that boss you report to… is it worth it?

Investing in the wrong place for a week or a month won’t kill you.

Spending 10 years contributing to something that you don’t care about, or working with someone who doesn’t care about you

You can do better.

Is Life full of holes?

Every scrutinized historical event fails to hold up to serious inspection.

There’s missing evidence.

How did he get from point A to point B? Where’s the document or the eyewitness or the proof?

Your future opportunities are like this as well.

Even at the hottest part of the 1998 Internet run up, skeptics wanted more proof that the internet wasn’t merely a waste of time. They wanted all the dots connected, and were happy to keep collecting dots until opportunity passed them by.

For a train to get from one city to another, it makes countless tiny leaps, crossing microscopic chasms that would easily show up if you looked closely enough.

That doesn’t keep you from getting there, though.

I don’t think the right question is, “is the path perfect?”

Probably the better question is: “Is this somewhere I’d like to go?”

It’s significantly easier to cross a gap when you have direction and momentum.

Overcoming the impossibility of amazing

If you set your bar at “amazing,” it’s awfully difficult to start.

Your first paragraph, sketch, formula, sample or concept isn’t going to be amazing. Your tenth one might not be either.

Confronted with the gap between your vision of perfect and the reality of what you’ve created, the easiest path is no path.

Shrug. Admit defeat. Hit delete.

One more reason to follow someone else and wait for instructions.

Of course, the only path to amazing runs directly through not-yet-amazing.

But not-yet-amazing is a great place to start, because that’s where you are. For now.

There’s a big difference between not settling and not starting.

Dan Rockwell asks you this simple test:

“What am I doing to develop my leadership?”

Lousy leaders don’t have an answer.

Marshall Goldsmith, named Harvard Business Review number one leadership thinker in the world, said:  “I always learn more from the people I coach than they learn from me“.

And it helps that Marshall only works with top leaders of top organizations in the world.

Grow your leadership by growing others.

Help yourself by helping others. Teachers learn more than students.

The surprising path to the top is helping others to the top.

Unselfishly develop yourself by unselfishly developing others.

Tip: Know less. Even if you think you know, listen and learn.

Tool to help you develop others and yourself: Managers as Mentors,” by Chip Bell and Marshall Goldsmith.

Is it we want to know so we learn to predict? What is prediction

Note:  Paragraphs in parenthesis are mine.

In a post by Seth, titled ” Are you a scientist?” I read:

“Scientists make predictions, and predicting the future is far more valuable than explaining the past.

Ask a physicist what will happen if you fire a projectile like this in that direction, and she’ll know. Ask a chemist what happens if you mix x and y, and you’ll get the right answer. Even quantum mechanics mechanics can give you probabilities that work out in the long run” End of quote.

(Seth is confusing prediction and deterministic models.  What natural scientists, in the previous examples, are doing is not predicting, but stating a determined behavior by inanimate objects that do not change with time and can be studied with few variabilities.  The model plainly describes “how the system functions” using natural laws, in mathematical equations, which have been discovered by studying trends that don’t change much.

For example, the interactions among the few variables in the natural inanimate world are restricted and the mind can visualize the picture of “how the system or model functions”.  In complex systems, such those involving animate subjects, such as mankind or even animals, the variability is huge among the various factors affecting the system behavior, either the internal variability of the subjects, or the external factors influencing the system behavior. 

Consequently, the fluctuations in the system have to be studied differently:  A kind of “prediction” of the next stage or phase of the system is required, according to our leraning habit of viewing the universe in linear thinking.)

Seth goes on: “Analysts who come up with plausible explanations for what just happened don’t help us as much, because it’s not always easy to turn those explanations into useful action.

Take the layout of Craigslist. Just about any competent online designer would have predicted that it would fail. Too clunky, undesigned, too many links, not slick or trustworthy… Or consider a new r&b artist, or a brand new beverage.

After the fact, it’s so easy to say, “of course it worked…” and then make up a reason for whatever it is that just succeeded.

The practice, then, is to start making predictions. In writing. You don’t have to share them in public, but the habit will push you to understand your instincts and to sharpen your ability to see what works (and what doesn’t) without the easy out of having to explain what already happened.

Look at startups or political campaigns or new products or ad campaigns… plenty of places to practice your predicting skills.

I predict you’ll learn two things:

  1. It’s really difficult to make predictions, because success often appears to be random
  2. Based on #1, it’s probably smart for you to initiate more projects that aren’t guaranteed winners, because most winners aren’t guaranteed.

And a bonus… the more you practice your predictions, the better you’ll get at discerning where the science is”. (End of quote)

I usually copy Seth posts before reading the content:  I know that I will invariably find more holes in the short article than in a square-meter chunck of swiss cheese.  I know that almost any post of Seth is ground for a critic article.

I categorize Seth posts as “inspirational” and lacking foundation:  They are of the type “In the final analysis… bla…bla…” and I wonder how Seth pulled it off to skip all the necessary previous “analysis”.

I figured that Seth judiciously use up-to-date terminologies and attach them to key words such as “Action”, “profit”, “get on with it”,  “don’t linger on testing”…And these posts sounds credible and valid to the youth.  Those who consider Seth as their Guru, for advancing their business, usually fail to taking a wretched minute to critisize the article:  To them, the post is a call for action and not for serious reflections.

Even multinational financial institutions “do not predict”:  Their models are pretty much deterministic in nature. Multinational financial institutions win every transaction: They have more pieces of intelligence than all advanced States combined, and they have the manpower, equipments, and the latest software to instantly process data, and take split-second decisions to buy or sell.  Multinational financial institutions do not play in the stock market:  They are the Stock Markets, they are the casino, they designed the system, and the rules of the game!

For example, we are very familiar with the catchy words of planning, organizing, predicting…They are smokescreen concepts to excuse the plundering and exploitation of the western mind.  Manking has survived in spite of planning, organizing, predicting…

The discoverers who are exhibited in the forefront are those who regurgitated the key words of planning, organizing, predicting in their vocabulary or interviews.  There are far more scientists and discoveres who practically didn’t consciously plan, predict, or organize their life.

It is the daydreaming expectations that set off split-second decisions that have carried the survival of mankind:  It is the huge ego and stubborness of mankind to proceed with their split-second decisions, against all odds, that is the real story. 

Those who explained, shared, and disseminated their daydreaming expectations have always found followers to picking up the relay baton and advance the dream a step further.

Mankind progressed in periods of free thinking, expressions, and gathering of the free minds, rather than in periods of “peace” where the mind was constrained to abide by specific ideological dogma (whether religious, scientific, or political). 

That is the real adventure of mankind.

Is it “we want to know so we learn to predict?” Sounds convincing at first reading.  We want to know because we need to survive in this changing and fluctuating universe of matter and man.  We want to know because it is our right to have healthy vanity to know what is going around us.




March 2023

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