Linchpin by Seth Godin
One Line Summary
Drone work is dead. Become an artist not to starve, but to CRUSH IT
You gotta love Seth Godin. He’s a true blue executor that has had a tremendous impact on the way people view marketing. And he doesn’t pull punches.
Godin explains that in the past, what businesses craved were cogs in the system. Unskilled employees that could be hired cheaply and take orders. Compliance was what was craved.
But that’s starting to change. More and more, what’s getting people to open up their wallets isn’t factory work. It’s art.
I don’t mean art in the traditional sense of painting and sculpting. I mean what art represents.
Passion. Creativity. The extra mile. Done with no direct expectation of a return.
The old economy said, “how can I get more?”. The new economy, the “gift” economy, says “how can I give more?”
When you take this attitude, now you’re beginning to understand what it means to be a Linchpin.’
Why it’s Awesome
Godin is right about a lot of things. In the era of content marketing, it’s about giving with no need for a reward. I don’t make an Instagram post because I imagine someone is going to drop money on my head.
Old school business people can’t wrap their head around this. I know because I’ve tried to explain it. To them, it’s still about just buying advertising and waiting.
THIS is an AD in the gift economy. I don’t care if you’re an RSD fan or not. Just look at it objectively.
This is far from just asking people to buy your shit. This is, as Godin would say, is art.
Tyler is a Linchpin for RSD.
Of course, you could argue RSD is still a niche company and that larger companies couldn’t get away with this. But that would be missing the point.
Being a Linchpin is not about creating some trippy psychedelic video and screaming at your audience. It’s about the extra mile and doing what you love.
Take moment to realize right now that you are unique.
No one has your exact life experience and talents. No one has your personality.
No one else is you.
To be indispensable, to be a Linchpin, is to be unique. Scarcity creates value.
In a world where being a Linchpin is more profitable than ever, that means you already have a unique selling point. It’s you.
The more you put your personality on blast, the more indispensable you become. You’re niching yourself, and niching wins.
The alternative is you stay average. Bland yourself down and hide to the world. But in a world that is rewarding average less and less, that’s actually the riskier decision.
Godin isn’t saying you have to go become an entrepreneur or something. I’m seeing that while people used to be conditioned into being employees, now we’ve got almost the exact opposite thing happening on a smaller scale.
People are actually being pushed into entrepreneurship who probably shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. They see the money, the status and the freedom to work for yourself and assume that means they should open up their own business.
Businesses are taking advantage of this shift big time. Look at all these companies that basically claim to help you setup a “lifestyle business”. They know more and more people are trying to go their own way.
That’s fine. I’m sure many of these businesses provide legitimate service. But I don’t think people really understand what they’re wishing for. Entrepreneurship is tough as shit.
There’s nothing wrong with not being the CEO either. Every CEO needs people below him. There’s no shame in that.
The point of this book is to find your role and become indispensable at that. ANYONE can be a Linchpin, entrepreneur or not.
Godin also presents a really interesting perspective on resumes: if you’re a Linchpin, ditch the resume.
Resumes are in an overabundance these days. Many large companies have scanners that simply go through the resumes for predetermined requirements and then spit out potential candidates.
Instead of resumes, think projects. Everyone has the ability to produce and publish high quality content these days. If you’re a Linchpin writer, go start a blog. If you’re a tutor, go create a YouTube channel detailing all your methods.
Resumes are impersonal, boring and easy to fake. Projects are real, exciting, and standout. The employer really gets a sense of who you are. You can’t fake a blog you’ve been writing diligently for a year.
Another point Seth Godin talks about that I love is about resistance. Sure, everything I’m saying might sound nice. But when it really comes down to it, will you execute on it? Most people will not. There’s countless reasons for why this is, but basically it comes down fear. You fear all sorts of things, and this fear expresses itself as resistance.
I talk a lot about resistance in Vision Quest, so if you want to understand how to beat it then check out the course. Here I just want to introduce the topic.
Resistance is what you feel when you have a good idea, get all jazzed up and then starting seeing all the downside when it’s crunch time. It’s what you feel when you don’t just ship the damn product because it isn’t “perfect”. It’s our primal survival instinct.
Resistance is a bitch because it literally can hi-jack your brain. That’s not an exaggeration, the part of your brain that controls the survival instinct has “priority” so to speak in your brain.
But you don’t have to let it rule you.
There’s a lot more resistance (fear) when it comes to being a Linchpin. You have to, gasp, think for yourself. No more mommy to tell you what to do.
Of course I struggle with this myself. You don’t know how many times I’ve wished someone could just tell me what to do to continue building my following. And even though many people can help you, there’s no color-by-number system.
That’s fine because the truth is you don’t need anyone. If others can do it, so can you. But it’s not easy.
Neither I nor Godin can tell you have to be a Linchpin. It’s anti-thesis to the entire idea. Being a Linchpin means leadership.
But even though it’s hard, if you talked to most Linchpin, you’d see they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Can you say the same for the cogs in the machine?
Who Will Love It
-Anyone looking to thrive in their career / modern entrepreneurship
Why Does It Suck
I love Godin, but he’s definitely a macro-picture kind of guy. If you want the more nitty gritty “how-to” stuff, look elsewhere. Seth Godin isn’t interested much in the micro.
Who Will Hate It
-Cogs stuck in the machine
The Wrap Up
Amazing book, especially for millennials trying to figure out the direction they want their life to go. Godin’s understanding of our generation is current and really on point. We are different, but that’s okay. Different is what development looks like.