Godin 12-03-09: Did Seth meet Ken?

December 3, 2009

Sometimes the valuable nugget for me in Seth Godin’s blog post is not the main point. Sometimes it’s a tangential aside, and sometimes it’s just an automatic way of thinking that shows his point of view. In fact, in one post he referred to this as an accent in the way people speak, write, and act.

I was reading through the bullet points in Seth’s recent post titled Is it too late to catch up? which is about ways for companies that have not established a web presence to go digital and learn about online marketing. It wasn’t a particularly interesting topic to me so I was scanning, until I hit the last two bullet points:

• Don’t [have any meetings about your web strategy]. Just do stuff. First you have to fail, then you can improve.

• Refuse to cede the work to consultants. You don’t outsource your drill press or your bookkeeping or your product design. If you’re going to catch up, you must (all of you) get good at this, and you only accomplish that by doing it.

I added the brackets in the first one, because you can fill those brackets in with a lot of options and the wisdom still rings true.

“Don’t plan the format and structure of your blog for the next year. Just start blogging. First you have to fail; then you can improve.”

“Don’t fret over every sentence in the article you’re writing to post online. Just write it. First you have to fail; then you can improve.”

“Don’t memorize every possible variation you might encounter during a consulting session. Just have consulting sessions. First you have to fail; then you can improve”

I think Seth Godin may have been reading Ken Robert’s Mildly Creative blog post about the two-step process for making meaning. Ken tells us, “you can’t do anything with it until you make it.” [my note: “it” = whatever you’re creating or doing]

The second bullet point above, the last from Seth’s long list, will totally upend the worlds of most coaches and other consulting types I know. We have been trained relentlessly from all sides that it’s better to hire someone to do the web stuff unless we are highly technical and web oriented. We’ve been told not to waste our time on it because we can outsource it and spend our time in better ways.

But now I’m thinking of a coaching friend who isn’t sure if her blog is updated because she sent material to her VA but doesn’t know when it will be posted. Hmmm…

Maybe it’s good to have help doing the online marketing, but it’s important to know how to do it ourselves if we need to. Marketing is the number one activity of most successful businesses, right?

Kind of goes along with that first point.

First you have to fail; then you can improve.

I really love that one.


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