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Interview: Seth Godin on Achieving Greatness

We talk with Seth Godin about his view of the 10,000 hour rule, his own concept behind achieving greatness, The Dip, and his personal journey to success. After leaving Spinnaker in 1986, he used $20,000 in savings to found Seth Godin Productions, primarily a book packaging business, out of a studio apartment in New York City. He then met Mark Hurst and founded Yoyodyne. After a few years, Godin sold the book packaging business to his employees and focused his efforts on Yoyodyne, where he promoted the concept of permission marketing.Yoyodyne, launched in 1995, used contests, online games, and scavenger hunts to market companies to participating users. In August 1996, Flatiron Partners invested $4 million in Yoyodyne in return for a 20% stake. At Yoyodyne, Godin published Permission Marketing: Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers. In 1998, he sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo! for about $30 million and became Yahoo's vice president of direct marketing.In March 2006, Godin launched Squidoo. In July 2008, Squidoo was one of the 500 most visited sites in the world.Godin is the author of over 18 books. Free Prize Inside was a Forbes Business Book of the Year in 2004, while Purple Cow sold over 150,000 copies in more than 23 print runs in its first two years. The Dip was a Business Week and New York Times bestseller; Business Week also named Linchpin among its "20 of the best books by the most influential thinkers in business" on November 13, 2015. In the early 1990s, he curated a 10-book series for children titled Worlds of Power. Each of the book's plots is based on a video game.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Episode notes last updated on August 09, 2019 22:01


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Smash Notes summary for this episode

What is the "10,000 Hour Rule" and is it credible ?

The idea is that 10,000 hours worth of work makes one an expert in that particular area. It is really seductive as it reduces to a simple number the secrets of success. It is not a magical number, but purposeful and focused practice does pay off.

What is emotional labor ?

This is what most do for a living. Everyone works with feelings.

What systems are currently set up to create motivating peer pressure for business leaders ?

There is a lot of pressure to fit in, but not to stand out. The challenge everyone has is to seek out people who care a lot as those circles help one stay inspired and motivated.

How should failure be handled?

No penalty for failure; tons of points for trying! Combine this with a belief that everyone is welcome. In most households, it is the opposite. Give people a chance. Trying and opening doors for people is a practice all should live by.

Can people be changed?

It is nearly impossible to change people who are not enrolled in the journey. People who do not want to learn cannot be taught. But, real change can happen when someone leans in.