“Linchpin” by Seth Godin Notes


Was searching Seth Godin quote, “Personal Interactions don’t have asymptotes” and found this note summary…

Notes from the book

“Linchpin, Are You Indispensable?”
by Seth Godin
Published by Portfolio
2010

note taken on 03-25-2010  by Dwayne Phillips
d.phillips@computer.org

  BIG NOTES
    Art us a personal gift that changes the recipient.
  Art is the ability to change people with your work.
    Real artists ship!
  Let Me Restate This Because It IS So Important (p.216)
    We have everything we need, so we’re not buying commodities. We’re
    not even buying products. We’re buying relationships and stories and
    magic. Our business, our politicians, our friends – it’s all the
    same; It’s about figuring out whom we can trust and work with and who
    must be kept at bay.
    Corporations tried to depersonalize all of those so they could lie
    to us, so they could package commodities, so they could scale without
    involving humans. And now they’re out of steam. The corporation is
    not working as well.
    Since all you have to sell are relationships, you have to bypass
    the scam filters. You can certainly try to be the rational
    best-price, most-convenient alternative. But if you can’t do that
    (and who can?), then the only path available to you is to change me,
    connect with me, or make a difference in my life.
    Wal-Mart wins because it’s cheap and close. Everyone else who wins
    must do it by being generous.
    And for that, you must be an artist and you need to mean it.
  Maybe You Can’t Get Paid for Doing Your Art
    But I bet you can figure out how to love what you do  
 

CHAPTER 1 – Introduction
  You are a genius, but society keeps drumming the genius out.
  The system we grew up with is a mess.
  Our world is filled with factories.
  Where does average come from?
    1. You have been brainwashed by school
    2. Everyone has a little voice in their head that is angry and
    afraid. Your RESISTANCE your LIZARD BRAIN.
  The rules of the game have changed and no one told you.  
 

CHAPTER 2 – The New World of Work
  Bureaucrats, note takers, literalists, manual readers, map followers
  and fearful employees
    for nearly 300 years, that was the way work worked
  Thank you for protecting us from our fears
    The key piece of leverage was this promise: follow these
    instructions and you don’t have to think.
  PERL – Percentage of Easily Replaced Laborers
  The business model should be such that the employees needed possess
  the lowest possible level of skill necessary to fulfill the functions
  for which each is intended.
  If you make your business possible to replicate, you’re not going to
  be the one to replicate it.
  How companies used to make money
    hire as many obedient, competent workers, as cheaply as you
    possible can.
  There are no longer any great jobs where someone else tells you  
  precisely what to do.
  The Law of the Mechanical Turk
    Any project, if broken down into sufficiently small, predictable
    parts, can be accomplished for awfully close to free.
    See how Wikipedia was built, millions of little tasks done for
    free.
    The Internet has turned while-collar work into something akin to
    building a pyramid in Egypt.
  First you have interchangeable parts, then you have  interchangeable
  workers.
  Having a factory job is not a natural state. It is only recent in
  human history.
  Now success means BEING AN ARTIST
  The Myth of the White-Collar Job
    Most white-collar workers wear white collars, but they’re still
    working in the factory.
  Average is over.
    Everyone is indispensable if they want to be.
  Three kinds of workers
    1 Management
    2 Worker
    3 LINCHPIN
  The end of Attendance Based Compensation and the search for the
  difference maker
  Owning the means of production
    When labor is dependent on management for the factory and  the
    machines and the system they use to do their work, the relationship
    is fraught with issues over power and control.
    Today, the means of production  is computer plus internet.
    $3,000 buys a worker the entire factory.
  The Web has made kicking ass easier to achieve, and mediocrity
  harder to sustain.
  The only way to be indispensable is to be different.  
 

CHAPTER 3 – Thinking About Your Choice
  Teaching remarkable – The problem is that most schools don’t like
  great teachers.
  Generosity is the very best strategy:
    If you believe that great talent leads to more innovation and more
    productivity, which then lead to more demand, generosity is the very
    best strategy.
  The Old American Dream
    1. keep your head down
    2. follow instructions
    3. show up on time
    4. work hard
    5. suck it up
  The New American Dream
    1. Be remarkable
    2. Be generous
    3. Create art
    4. Make judgment calls
    5. Connect people and ideas
      AND we have no choice but to reward you.
  Three words that can kill an organization
    NOT MY JOB
  Secret memo to employees
    You should choose to be indispensable
  Secret memo to employers
    You want your employees to be indispensable
  The Boss’s Lie
    “what I want is someone who will do exactly what I tell them to.”  
 

CHAPTER 4 – Indoctrination: How We Got Here
  Mediocre Obedience – we’ve been taught
    to be a replaceable cog
    to consume as a shortcut to happiness
    not to care about our job or our customers
    TO FIT IN
  A Factory
    An organization that has figured it out.
  Public education
    Its launch was a profound change in the way our society works. It
    worked. We trained millions of factory workers.
  Consumers
    In the 1890s, the typical teenager owned only a few items of
    clothing. In the space of two generations, we created a consumer
    culture.
  The distinction between cogs and linchpins is largely one of
  attitude,  not learning.
  School
    Fear is a great shortcut on the way to teaching compliance.
    The problem is that what we’re teaching is the wrong stuff.
    We want to teach workers just enough to get them to cooperate.
    Lousy teachers are now dangerous.
  What we should teach in schools:
    1. Solve interesting problems
    2. Lead  
 

CHAPTER 5 – Becoming the Linchpin
  Without the linchpin, things fall apart.
  The Law of Linchpin Leverage
    The more value you create in your job, the fewer clock minutes of
    labor you actually spend creating that value.
    In other words, most of the time, you’re not being brilliant.
  It takes art
    Our economy now rewards artists far more than any other  economy in
    history ever has.
  Commodity producers
    Hire cheap drones that you can scale, replace, and disrespect.
    Let someone else have that job. You deserve better.
  Knowledge and Judgment
    the shared knowledge of the Internet make domain knowledge on its
    own worth significantly less that it used to be.
    Depth of knowledge combined with good judgment is worth a lot.
  Emotional Labor
    the hard work of making art, producing generosity, and exposing
    creativity.
    every interaction is an opportunity to practice the art of
    interaction.
  The Troubleshooter
    Troubleshooting is an art, and it’s a gift from the troubleshooter
    to the person in trouble.
    The troubleshooter steps in when everyone else has given up, puts
    himself on the line.
  Jobs – the number of good jobs for manual laborers has been  
  dropping for years.
  Emotional Labor
    it is available to all of us, but is rarely exploited as a
    competitive advantage.
    We spend our time and energy trying to perfect our craft, but we
    don’t focus on the skills and interactions that will allow us to
    stand out and become indispensable.
  Where do you put the fear?
    The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds.
  Asymptotes
    Personal interactions don’t have asymptotes. Innovative solutions
    to new problems don’t get old. Seek out achievements where there is
    no limit.
    Bowling is an asymptotic sport, you get to 300 and no higher.
    Organizations that earn dramatic success always do it in markets
    where asymptotes don’t exist.
  It it wasn’t a mystery, it would be easy. If it were easy, it
  wouldn’t be worth much.
  The Pursuit of Perfect
    The problem is simple: Art is never defect free.
  The Downside of Good
    The problem with meeting expectations is that it’s not remarkable.
    Seek something that is neither good nor perfect.
    You want something remarkable, nonlinear, game changing, artistic.
  I WORK FOR BLESSINGS
  Resumes – a resume gives the employer everything she needs to reject
  you.
    How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation instead?
    Projects are new resumes.
  Motivators for Artists
    1. challenge and responsibility
    2. flexibility
    3. a stable work environment
    4. money
    5. professional development
    6. peer recognition
    7. stimulating colleagues and bosses
    8. exciting job content
    9. organizational culture
    10. location and community
  Remarkable People and Remarkable Jobs
    If you need to conceal your true nature to get in the door,
    understand that you’ll probably have to conceal your true nature to
    keep that job.
    I don’t want a job that a non-linchpin could get.  
 

CHAPTER 6 – It It Possible to Do Hard Work in a Cubicle?
  Emotional Labor – is the task of doing important work, even when it
  isn’t easy.
  The Gift of Emotional Labor
    when you do emotional labor, you benefit.
  Art
  In everything you do, it’s possible to be an artist.
    Art is about intent and communication, not substances.
    Art us a personal gift that changes the recipient.
    The most visceral art is direct. It’s the art of interaction.
  Art is the ability to change people with your work.
    Most of all, art involves labor…the emotional labor of doing
    something difficult.
    I will not feel complete until I give this gift.
  Generous
    The art of being generous makes you rich beyond measure.
    But that’s a hard thing to start doing, because you’ve been taught
    that what’s yours is yours.
  A Practical Reason for being an Artist
    the number of people willing to act as patrons has skyrocketed.
    artists have moved from the exterior of our economy to its center.
    People do their art where they find it, not the other way around.
  Gifts
    Gifts allow you to make art.
    Over time, the gifts accrue and you have created a reputation.
    And the gift is as much for you as it is for the recipient.
  It’s not an effort contest, it’s an art contest.
  The future of your organization depends on motivated human beings
  selflessly contributing unasked-for gifts of emotional labor.
  The easier it is to quantify, the less it’s worth.
  The job is not the work (the art).
  Emotional Labor
    Are you indispensable at work?
    What about at home?
    Why different answers?
    Are you charming when you go on a date?
    Are you charming in a meeting at work?
    Why different answers?
  Artists are Optimists
    The reason is simple: artists have the chance to make things
    better.
    Passion for your art also means having  a passion for spreading
    your art.
    When an artist stops work before his art is received,  his work is
    unfulfilled.
    MARKETING MARKETING MARKETING!!!  
 

CHAPTER 7 – The Resistance
  Real artists ship!
    I think the discipline of shipping is essential in the long-term
    path to becoming  indispensable.
    Artists think along the edge of the box (not in the box, not
    outside the box) because that is where things get done.
  The only purpose of starting is to finish.
  Thrashing
    Thrash early. If you thrash late you won’t ship.
    Limit the number of people allowed to thrash.
  Resistance
    The Lizard Brain is the source of resistance.
    The daemon is the source of great ideas.
    The daemon is always battling the lizard brain.
  Failure
    You might fail.
    Successful people learn from failure.
    You become a loser because you’re good at losing.
    Going out of your way to find uncomfortable situations isn’t
    natural, but it’s essential.
  Plan B
    You’ve probably guessed what happens when you have a great backup
    plan: You end up settling for the backup.
  The race to make average stuff for average people in huge quantities
   is almost over. Were hitting an asymptote.
  If you become indispensable, you’ll discover that you get a better
  boss.
  The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things
  done.
  The Work and The Job
    The work is the art.
    Your job is about following instructions.
    The work is about making a difference.
  Shipping
    Successful artists: thrash a lot at the start, because starting
    means that they are going to finish.
  The Internet
    On a day when the resistance is in charge, I check my e-mail 45
    times.
  I ship, I do this by NOT DOING an enormous number of tasks that are
  perfect stalling devices.
    The goal to strip away anything that looks productive  but doesn’t
    involve shipping.
  PROJECTS
    Attempt to create only one significant work a year.
    Break that into small projects, and everyday find three tasks to
    accomplish that will help you complete a project.
    AND do only that during your working hours.
    I’m talking about an hour a day to complete a mammoth work of art.
  HERE IS HOW I MAKE STUFF
    1. write down the due date
    2. Write down every single notion, plan, idea, sketch, and contact.
    Go fishing.
    3. This is where the thrashing and dreaming begin.
    4. Put the cards (3.) into a database.
    5. Rearrange, draw, sketch.
    6. Go through the database, build a complete description of the
    project.  It’s the blueprint.
  People will laugh at me.
  When I put myself on an INTERNET DIET
    only five checks a day, not fifty
    my productivity TRIPLED.
  Platform
    You need a platform that makes it easy to turn your insight into a
    movement.
    I’m trying to sell you on the idea of building a platform before
    you have your next idea, to view the platform building as a separate
    project from spreading your art.
    A platform is an asset.
    By separating the hard work of preparation from the scary work of
    insight.  
 

CHAPTER 8 – The Powerful Culture of Gifts
  The Gift Culture
    1. The internet (digital goods) has lowered the marginal cost of
    generosity.
    2. It’s impossible to be an artist without understanding the power
    that  giving a gift creates.
    3. The dynamic of gift giving can diminish the cries of the
    resistance and permit you to do your best work.
  The winners are once again the artists who GIVE gifts.
  There are no artists on the assembly line
    As soon as it is part of a system, it’s not art.
  Becoming a linchpin is not an act of selfishness.
    it gives you a platform for expending emotional labor and giving
    gifts.
  The curse of reciprocity.
  It’s difficult to be generous when you are hungry, yet being
  generous keeps you from going hungry.
  Gifts Make the Tribe
    Moses, the old law, you cannot charge interest to your own people,  
    your own tribe.
  For the last five hundred years, the best way to succeed has been to
  treat everyone as a stranger you could do business with.
    One of the factors in the growth of the Protestant Reformation was
    that commercial interests supported its spread because they needed
    the moral authority to lend and borrow money.
  A long without interest is a gift. A gift can make you
  indispensable.  
  Alcoholics Anonymous and Gifts
    Real gifts don’t demand reciprocity.
    In AA, the gift brings an obligation to help the next person – gift
    them.
  The Circles of the Gift System
    by giving gifts, you expand your circle and the real magic is the
    leverage this expansion adds, not the loss of commerce it causes.
  Three Circles of Art
    1. the true gifts
    2. the circle of commerce
    3. The internet creates a third circle, the circle of your tribe,
    your followers, fans who become friends. This circle enables you to
    enlarge the circle of commerce and make more money and improve lives.
    As the third circle grows, the second circle takes care of itself.
  A gift always creates a surplus as it spreads.
  Artists are indispensable linchpins.  
  Art is scarce; scarcity creates value.
  Three Ways to Think about Gifts
    1. Give me a gift
    2. Here’s a gift; now you owe me big time
    3. Here’s a gift, I love you.
  Metcalfe’s Law (the inventor of ethernet)
    the value of a network increases with the square of the number of  
    nodes on the network.
  The Magic of Living Below Your Means
    Some people believe they cannot afford to give gifts
    they have so bought into consumer culture that they are in debt or
    have monthly bills that make no sense at all.
    When you cut your expenses to the bone, you have a surplus.
  Society is where we give gifts.
    The only people who don’t benefit from this are the hoarders.
  What people giving gifts seek is RESPECT.  
 

CHAPTER 9 – There is No Map
  Annoyed at Intent (of Persons)
    If you accept that human beings are difficult to change,  and
    embrace the uniqueness that everyone brings to the table, you’ll
    navigate the world with more bliss and effectiveness. And make better
    decisions, too.
    The ability to see the world as it is begins with an understanding
    that perhaps it’s NOT your job to change what can’t be changed.
    How do you handle bad news?
      Changes your emotional state or what you think of yourself
      Then you are attached
      INSTEAD
      Isn’t that interesting? Learn and move on.
  We assign motivations and plots and vendettas where there are none.
  When our responses turn into reactions and we set out to teach
  people a lesson, we lose.
  Effort
    The challenge is in understanding when our effort can’t possibly be
    enough.
  Scarcity creates value
    and what is scarce is a desire to accept what is and then work to
    change it for the better, not deny that it exists.
    LIVE IN THE HERE AND NOW.
  Attachment to Things We Can’t Control
    The linchpin has figured out that we get only a certain number of
    brain cycles to spend each day. Spending even one on a situation out
    of our control has a significant opportunity cost.  
 

CHAPTER 10 – Making the Choice
  Don’t ask for permission to do a better job, just do it.
  The Candy Land Decree
    Destroy all copies of the game.
    You pick a card, do what it says, repeat.
    Instead, give the kid a box of wooden blocks.
  Perhaps the biggest shift the new economy brings is
  self-determination.
  More Hours?
    More hours?
    More paintings?
    More writing?
    To a point this is good, as long as there is a balance, as long as
    you  leave enough time for the work that matters.
  If you give your boss the gift of art, insight, initiative or
  connection, she’s less likely…to replace you.
  Revolution – in relevance, in mattering, in interacting.
    Linchpins don’t need authority. It’s not part of the deal.
    People follow because they want to, not because you can order them
    to.
  Transferring you passion to your job is far easier than finding a
  job that happens to match your passion.
    Bloom where you are planted.
    Start now where you are and have passion.
  I could be more creative if only fill-in-the-blank.
  The linchpin is able to invent a future, fall in love with it, live
  in it, and then abandon it at a moment’s notice.
  Success lies in being generous or understanding someone.
  Every day is a new chance to choose.
  The Gifts that Matter
    Dignity is more important than wealth. Everyone needs “enough.” But
    once we have enough (and enough may be less than you think), what we
    crave and want is dignity.  
 

CHAPTER 11 – The Culture of Connection
  Return on Connection Investment
    The other has pushed hard to become adept at working with people.
    Why is “being good with people” so diminished as a competency?
    The linchpin is coming from a posture of generosity;  she’s there
    to give a gift.
  Genuine Gifts
    The only successful way to live in a world of honest signals is to  
    give the genuine gift.
    Genuine gifts, given with the right intent and a respectful
    posture, meet our sniff test.
    Now that we believe, a different relationship can occur. One about
    “us,” not just “you.” But only if you cease to manipulate me and stop
    doing your job. DO YOUR ART INSTEAD.
  Let Me Restate This Because It IS So Important (p.216)
    We have everything we need, so we’re not buying commodities. We’re
    not even buying products. We’re buying relationships and stories and
    magic. Our business, our politicians, our friends – it’s all the
    same; It’s about figuring out whom we can trust and work with and who
    must be kept at bay.
    Corporations tried to depersonalize all of those so they could lie
    to us, so they could package commodities, so they could scale without
    involving humans. And now they’re out of steam. The corporation is
    not working as well.
    Since all you have to sell are relationships, you have to bypass
    the scam filters. You can certainly try to be the rational
    best-price, most-convenient alternative. But if you can’t do that
    (and who can?), then the only path available to you is to change me,
    connect with me, or make a difference in my life.
    Wal-Mart wins because it’s cheap and close. Everyone else who wins
    must do it by being generous.
    And for that, you must be an artist and you need to mean it.
  The people you work with won’t change if you don’t believe.
    The communication of enthusiasm and connection and leadership
    starts with the gift you give, not with the manipulation you attempt.
    Dale Carnegie understood this.  
 

CHAPTER 12 – The Seven Abilities of the Linchpin
  Is There a List?
    Linchpins do two things for the organization:
    1. They exert emotional labor
    2. They make a map (a way forward)
  Delivering Unique Creativity
    You must ship.
    The sparse list of people willing (and able) to do this sort of
    work makes it particularly valuable.
  Super Powers
    The super part and the power part come not from something you’re
    born with but from something you choose to do and, more important,
    from  something you choose to give.  
 

CHAPTER 13 – When It Doesn’t Work
  What Do You Do When the Art Doesn’t Work?
    1. Make more art
    2. Give more gifts
    3. Learn from what you did and then do more
  Maybe You Can’t Get Paid for Doing Your Art
    But I bet you can figure out how to love what you do
  An Artist’s Dream
    Organizations rarely give linchpins all the support and
    encouragement  they deserve.
    Focus on making changes that work down, not up. Interacting with
    customers and employees is often easier than  influencing bosses and
    investors. Over time, as you create an environment where your insight
    and generosity pay off, the people above you will notice, and you’ll
    get more freedom and authority.
    Create movements where your boss can happily take credit.
  The Endless Giving Cycle of Art
    When you talk to people who are committed to giving to their art,
    what you’ll discover is this: they never stop giving.  
 

CHAPTER 14 – Summary
    All I wanted to do in this book was sell you on being the artist
    you already are.  
    So, what’s smart? Living life without regret.
    Every successful organization is built around people. Humans who do
    art.
    Art…is anything that changes someone for the better.

d.phillips@computer.org

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: