A review of Seth Godin’s Linchpin

Today I listened into Marketing Prof’s Marketing over Coffee. John Wall interviewed Seth Godin on his recently released book, Linchpin. I have not yet gotten my hands on the book, but this interview has definitely convinced me to find/buy it on Amazon.

The big idea Lichpin discusses is that the systems for business have changed. We are no longer feeding the machine and mass marketing for a mass audience. We have found avenues to rise above the concept of average work for average people. Now we have this giant opportunity to do work that matters, standouts, connects with people and makes a difference, which creates large amounts of value.

Seth Godin defines a Linchpin as being an entrepreneur out on his/her own or succeeding as an entrepreneur in an organization. They are the artists and the rule breakers. A good example to show this shift is the difference between old media (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc) to new media (podcasts – like this one, social media, blogging). With this difference, there is a huge leverage that never existed before. The overhead costs of information have shrunk dramatically, social interactions have increased in the thousands and anyone has the ability to be the broadcaster if they step up to the plate. We have finally caught onto the fact that human interactions cannot codified.

This leverage is not taken lightly. In fact, it is a scary phenomenon. Godin creates a metaphor of this fear. He suggests that we have lizard brains or brains of revenge that are terrified of “saber tooth tiger in the woods” meaning we fear the act of reaching out and touching customers. We are afraid our boss will not like our idea and that people will laugh at us. We are afraid to add our emotional labor to the process.

What we forget to remember is that there are no longer “saber tooth tigers” to fear. This is where the concept of gifting comes into play. Gifting is the act of giving something more than you get paid for and the more you do the stuff you don’t like to do the more the outside world will reward you.

Another stumbling block individuals face is the instinct to thrash. Thrashing is responding to fear by changing everything. Successful marketers get the thrashing over within the beginning of the process with minimal cost and fear involved. The majority of individuals thrash right before the concept/product is released due to great fear causing a greater cost to the company.

Again, what people forget to remember is that what makes something really great is that people use it (period). When Godin is asked why he writes books, he does not say because he loves writing or because it’s a decent profession or any combination of the two. He says, “I write books because I have no choice.”

With this, the big question to ask yourself is, What’s that thing that you do?


  1. uberVU - social comments - February 10, 2010

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by mtnmissy: Nice write-up discussing Godin’s new book Linchpin http://bit.ly/avWJuN. Already put it on hold at library, anyone else read it?…

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