Perhaps you could just make something awesome instead

Mass marketers love the promise of big data, because it whispers the opportunity of once again making average stuff for average people, of sifting through all the weird to end up with that juicy audience that’s just waiting to buy what they’ve made.

Big data is targeting taken to the highest level of granularity. It grabs your behavior across web sites, across loyalty cards, who knows, across your phone records… the promise of all this grabbing is that marketers will be able to find precisely the right person to reach at the right moment with the right offer.

[Worth noting that the flipside–the ability to reach the weird and offer them something that would never be practical otherwise–is a breakthrough just waiting to happen.]

And the rocket scientists are busy promising Hollywood that they can run the numbers on a script and figure out how to change it to make it more likely to sell. Add a sidekick to that superhero, perhaps, or have that demon be summoned instead of whatever it is that unsummoned demons do…

This rearview window analysis is anathema to the creative breakthrough that we call art. No amount of digital focus group research could figure out that we wanted Memento or the Matrix or Amour. Worse, it’s based on the flawed assumption that the past is like the future, that correlation and causation are related. By that analysis, every Supreme Court chief justice, US president and New York City police chief is going to be a man. Forever more.

We are going to get ever better at giving committees ways to turn your work into banality. That opens up the market even more for the few that have the guts to put great work into the world instead.


Positive thinking influence on my business!

Till date many have discussed, opinioned, preached, educate, and question the art of positive thinking and the benefits offered by think positive attitude. But no one had the willingness on what did they get from optimism till date or on what basis they are judging that an optimistic approach has given the best chance to survive. Well, here is what my experience has gathered from thinking positive and that is what I am letting you people know in this article.


Hi, my name is Tom and I am a person who owns an electronic good shop in New York City; a city which is full of colors. My business is the one which my father started in 1989 years ago and we do have a good customer base, who is literally patrons to our business. Any new product which is out in the market, we help you own it. We sell, distribute, integrate different products of many electronic brands and have do have a good domestic and commercial base.


But from the past 10 years, the advent of digitalization has influenced our business to a great extent. With the internet revolution in full progress the footfall to our store has decreased as people are interested in buying the goods online. When the revolution of the web started to take a toll on our business, many of our family friends have indicated that our electronics business in store will be in jeopardy in the next few years.


People also started to advice me and my father to sell it off and instead start to look out for work in stores like walmart and others. Since, we only had experience in selling electronics; they started to sarcastically point out that we had no choice but to work as a salesman in some stores in the city.


With this kind of sharp criticism my father fell ill and after few days he started to think in the same way as others. All he had in his mind was to sell off the goods to big stores and start to look for some work. The best thing is that my father also has some technical skills in him and can repair some of the goods like televisions, refrigerators, dish washers and vacuum cleaners.


When he finally announced the bad news that we are going to close our business, my family was a bit disappointed. But my mother started to think the other way. She always shows optimism in every effort she puts in and told my father, why not think in a different way.


This positive attitude of my mother generated a thought in my mind, which said that why don’t we think in the way online businesses are thinking? What is that which is making their business go merry?


This though gave me an idea and instead of thinking to close down our business, we decided to try some marketing skills. I and my mother decided to take our business to the consumers and then see the difference. We started to look for some lucrative alternatives which can make our customers happy and indirectly increase our sales.


My mother offered monthly EMI plan, where people can buy their goods in installments. I know that this is an old marketing skill now, but in the year 1991 it was a new one and this experience of mine is from that period. Then we started savings scheme, where people can save some of the money in our savings scheme for 11 months will get the 12th moth installment as a bonus from our business. This idea clicked and we are now not only the number one electronics sellers in New York City but have an online portal as well, in order to be on par with our competitors.


So, all that I want say is that positive thinking of my mother influenced our business to get onto the track and I would like to recommend the same optimistic attitude to be practiced by others in all their other efforts.


Avoiding fear by indulging in our fear of fear

Every day, we make a thousand little compromises, avoid opportunities, actions and people–all so that we can stay away from the emotion of fear.

Note that I didn’t say, “so we can stay away from what we fear.” No, that’s something else entirely. Right now, most of us are avoiding the things that might merely trigger the emotion itself. That’s how distasteful it is to us.

The alternative? To dance with it. To seek out the interactions that will trigger the resistance and might make us uncomfortable.

Are we trying to avoid the unsafe? Or merely the feeling of being unsafe? Increasingly, these are completely different things.

Due to ‘enhanced security’ a recent bike event in New York City forbade the 30,000 riders from carrying hydration packs. No practical reason, just the desire to avoid fear.

The upcoming exam doesn’t get studied for, not because studying is risky, but because studying reminds us that there’s a test coming up.

We loudly keep track of all the failures of commission around us, but never mention the countless failures of omission, all the mistakes that were made by not being bold. To track those, to remind ourselves of the projects not launched or the investments not made is to encounter our fear of forward motion. (So much easier to count typos than it is to mention the paragraphs never written.)

There’s no other reason for not having a will, a health proxy, an insurance policy or an up to date checkup. Apparently, while it’s not risky to plan for our demise, it generates fear, which we associate with risk, and so we avoid it.

It’s simple: the fear that used to protect us is now our worst enemy.

Easier to avoid the fear than it is to benefit from living with it. I’ve heard the quote a thousand times but never really thought it through…

Hence the opportunity. If you do things that are safe but feel risky, you gain a signfiicant advantage in the marketplace.

In search of resilience

Most of the time, we build our jobs and our organizations and our lives around today, assuming that tomorrow will be a lot like now. Resilience, the ability to shift and respond to change, comes way down the list of the things we often consider.

And yet… A crazy world is certain to get crazier. The industrial economy is fading, and steady jobs with it. The financial markets will inevitably get more volatile. The Earth is warming, ever faster, and the rate and commercial impact of natural disasters around the world is on an exponential growth curve.

Hence the need for resilience, for the ability to survive and thrive in the face of change.

A non-resilient hospital in New York City closed for months because the designers failed to design for a flood. A career as a travel agent ends when, fairly suddenly, people don’t need travel agents any longer. A retirement is wiped out because the sole asset in the nest egg is no longer worth what it was.

The choice is to build something that’s perfect for today, or to build something that lasts. Because perfect for today no longer means perfect forever.

Here are four approaches to resilience, in ascending order, from brave to stupid:

  • Don’t need it
  • Invest in a network
  • Create backups
  • Build a moat

Don’t need it is the shortcut to living in crazy times. If you don’t have an office, it won’t flood. If you have sixteen clients, losing one won’t wipe you out.* If your cost of living is low, it’s far less exposed to a loss in income. If there are no stairs in your house, a broken hip doesn’t mean you have to move. Intentionally stripping away dependencies on things you can no longer depend on is the single best preparation to change.

Invest in a network. When your neighbor can lend you what you need, it’s far easier to survive losing what you’ve got. Cities and villages and tribes with thriving, interconnected neighborhoods find that the way they mesh resources and people, combined with mutual generosity, makes them more able to withstand unexpected change. And yes, the word is ‘invest’, because the connection economy thrives on generosity, not need.

Create backups. Not just your data (you do have a copy of your data in two or three places, don’t you?) but anything that’s essential to your career, your family or your existence. A friend with a nut allergy kept a spare epipen at our house—the cost of a second one was small compared to the cost of being without.

Build a moat is the silly one, the expensive Maginot-line of last resort. Build a moat is the mindset of some preppers, with isolated castles that are stocked to overflowing with enough goods to survive any disaster**. Except, of course, they’re not. Because they can’t think of everything. No one can.

We’re tempted to isolate ourselves from change, by building a conceptual or physical moat around our version of the future. Better, I think, to realize that volatility is the new normal.

Putting all your eggs in one basket and watching the basket really carefully isn’t nearly as effective as the other alternatives. Not when the world gets crazy.

**Henry Mason describes a friend who said, “My dad had one job his whole
life, I’ll have seven, and my kids will have seven jobs at the same

**and not just preppers, but corporations that act like them

Two seminars in October

First up, a free, small-group seminar in my office near New York City for leaders of non-profit organizations. Check out the details and apply via this form. The deadline for applications is next Friday, so don’t delay.

I’ll be hosting about fifteen leaders on October 15, and I apologize to those that I can’t accomodate. Here’s a recent review of the day-long office experience as well as a shorter review of a previous event, and a video from 2009.

Second, for entrepreneurs, freelancers and people working for organizations seeking to make a ruckus, a weekend seminar at the fabulous Helen Mills Theater in New York on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21.

The Helen Mills is an intimate space with less than 125 seats, so there will be a lot of connection going on. Expect to be interacting with CEOs, up and comers and independent writers, impresarios and agents of change.

Sunday adds a new format, and I’m hoping you’ll come for both days and see how far it can take you.

A weekend devoted to small businesses, entrepreneurs, freelancers and anyone in a larger organization that wants to take responsibility and make something happen. The internet has opened doors, made connections and created leverage. The post-industrial age is here, and it brings with it the opportunity to carve a completely different path–for you, for your team and for your organization.

People who have attended previous events have left with new strategies, new tactics, and most important, new resolve on how to get through their Dip. Knowing that there are other people in the same place, and being able to establish lines of support can really change the way you do your work.

The format: I’ll set the stage with an hour-long talk about the role of impresarios, the connection economy and the chance to create work that matters. From that, we’ll shift to a wide open Q&A session in which attendees share their stuckness, talk about their strategies and mostly ask about how this new way of thinking (and doing) can help them. I’ve discovered that by spending more than six straight hours leading the discussion and answering questions, I can start to get under your skin and help you see how this revolution is open to you.

For the entire day, you’ll be surrounded by fellow travelers, by people in just as much of a hurry as you are. I’ll provide lunch and snacks (and lots and lots of coffee) and we’ll go at it until about 3:45. It’s a long day, but worth the effort.

That afternoon, you’ll have the chance to connect with other attendees and (if you’re staying for Sunday) dive into your homework. Dinner that night (optional, dutch treat) will be divided across ten restaurants throughout the city, with groups picked to maximize cross-pollination. If you don’t meet someone who significantly changes your outlook and your future projects, you probably were hiding…

The next morning, the Sunday attendees will reconvene bright and early at 9. For Sunday’s session, we’re moving out of the theatre and into the group space upstairs. We’ll spend the day alternating between group work, assignments, presentations and feedback from me.

Both days include lunch, snacks, Q&A, surprises but, sadly, no dancing monkeys.

This is my last public event until my book launches, and I hope you’ll be able to join a very motivated, very talented group of people for a weekend that will both frighten and empower you to go do the work you’re capable of.

Get tickets here. There are a few early bird discount seats for blog readers.

PS To be clear, Saturday is a classic Seth Godin Q&A session, designed to help you think through the challenges you’re facing and to see the common elements that so many successful projects share. Sunday is that plus group work, presentations, thought exercises, the Shipit workbook and more. It builds on Saturday and is a smaller group, with more airtime for all.

If you have questions, drop a line to