Given the current state of the economy and business community, I decided to re-read Seth Godin’s Linchpin. After revisiting it, I expanded upon a few key take-aways that every business owner should know and use right now.
1. The factory model and old deal are gone. The opportunity to simply input hard work and long hours for a big payout at the end is over. Wake up to global economics 101, where performance, creativity and innovation are now rule of thumb to earn end’s meat.
2. Playing by the rules, doing your job and following instructions will earn you a secure minimum wage, dead end job. The rules were written over 200 years ago for factory jobs and factory rules that are dead and gone.
3. Leadership and solving interesting problems are more than good habits and best practices. These are essential life skills that everyone should cultivate. This isn’t taught at school. In school, they teach you how to follow the rules and comply with outdated systems to prepare you for jobs and opportunities that no longer exist or that change quickly.
4. Ship it now. Launch soon. Launch now. Everything is practice. The quality of production will suffer for shipping too early. Though, on the other hand, shipping something on time that’s mostly finished is better than shipping nothing. “The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship.”
5. If you want to become indispensable in the Global Information Economy, create indispensable content. Do not accept common practice for your standard practice. Differentiate yourself by being better, even if only slightly so in a few key areas. Stand out. Do not confuse this with working harder or spending more money than the other guys.
6. Focus on adding value independent of effort and cost. What details can you add that would add value? They can be subtle, simple, cheap if not free. Yet they can make all the difference in the world.
8. Fearless doesn’t really mean “without fear.” What it means in practice is, “unafraid of things that one shouldn’t be afraid of.” Being fearless means giving a presentation to an important customer without losing a night’s sleep. It means being willing to take intellectual risks and to forge a new path. The fear is about an imagined threat, so avoiding the fear allows you to actually accomplish something.
9. The easier it is to quantify, the less it’s worth. When you give something away, you benefit more than the recipient does. The act of being generous makes you rich beyond measure, and as the goods or services spread through the community, everyone benefits.The future of your organization depends on motivated human beings selflessly contributing unasked-for gifts of emotional labor. And worse yet, the harder you work to quantify and manipulate this process, the more poorly it will work.