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Seth Godin is Poking You. Now Do Something.

Book Review: Seth Godin “Poke The Box”  – it’s $7.88 at Amazon at the time of this post.

I’m an unabashed fan of Seth Godin’s books. Some have been very formative in how I go about my life and business and some just made me tilt my head a little as the light flickered on in my head with a new awareness and understanding. His latest book, “Poke the Box,” is an example of how great things come in small packages. It’s a quick read with no chapters per se, just example after example of why you should stop making excuses, whining, contemplating failure and just start doing. He makes a strong case that businesses should have a person dedicated to “starting things” and reward those who fail. The theory is if you’re failing, you’re doing something.

In one example, Godin points at Starbucks. It started at Pike’s Place Market in Seattle as a coffee bean and tea leaf shop. You couldn’t buy a cup of coffee. That wasn’t in the business plan. When Howard Schultz took a trip to Italy and watched the barista make his espresso like an artist on a stage, he knew he was on to something. He brought the idea of baristas and cappuccino to Starbuck’s and they weren’t interested. Schultz’ idea ultimately prevailed, but without starting something and “failing” (selling beans and leafs), Starbucks may have never had happened.

Fail. The more you fail the closer you are to succeeding. Try something. Ship it to market. Get feedback. Tweak it or trash it, make something new and ship again. Repeat. And this is even more important for companies and individuals who have already found some success.

Poke the box. See what works.  Be an instigator. Be unconventional. Challenge the status quo. Stir the pot. Stop collecting good ideas and start implementing them.

  1. Steak
    March 31, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    Larry….I love his philosophy but how many PDs do you know who have the courage to do this? More importantly, how many suits have the courage to allow their PD to blaze such a trail?

    • March 31, 2011 at 8:26 AM

      It’s not about any PD or GM or company, it’s about you. Stop waiting for permission to create, experiment and try new things. As a talent, I listened to feedback, but I never asked for permission. I just did. I tried new things, made up words, made my own rules. Sometimes I failed. But even my failures were appreciated by my PDs. (“I know what you were going for here Smokey, but that was a little bit too much.”) It’s not about being reckless, it’s about being a contributor. As Seth points out in the book – no one gave FM radio permission to succeed. It was a non-factor for thirty years. No one paid attention to it, until a bunch of “hippies” decided to do something. And their action created demand for FM radios.

  1. April 11, 2011 at 2:09 AM

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