Seth Godin, Author


Cool Tools Show 265: Seth Godin

Our guest this week is Seth Godin. Seth is a 20-time bestselling author, a blogger, an internet pioneer, and a teacher. Find out more at seths.blog.

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Show notes:

Roon software
I don’t think we pay nearly enough attention to the craftsmanship of software. That if people made cars or hand tools, as poorly as they make software, there would be an outcry. But we sort of accept it as a slap dash thing that solves their problem and then we move on. And my experience with Roon is the opposite. This is something that someone who cared put a lot of craft into. This is the best way I know to discover the music you own and the music you don’t. While it will allow you to play music on your computer, it really shines as a way to connect to a digital player for your stereo. For the cost of going to two movies, you can use it for a year. What Roon does is it makes your own collection beautiful. It shows you the lyrics. It shows you the album and review of almost every album you own. But it also is smart enough to know what you’ve been listening to and what you want to hear next, even if you don’t own it. And almost every night, I’m busy listening to Roon. And I have discovered all sorts of music that I didn’t know I was going to love. It plugs into TIDAL and the rest. And the app for the phone is just a remote control for wherever you’re running the main system.

Firefox app store and Video Speed Controller
If you’re using a browser. There’s an app store for it. Firefox has one. Chrome has one. And there are all these cool apps most of which are free, that work instantly. Sometimes elegantly, sometimes not, to make your life significantly easier. And the one that I’m talking about today is called Video Speed Controller. What Video Speed Controller does, it puts this tiny little + and – sign in the top left-hand corner of every video, and you can speed it up. And so, if you are watching something where you’re trying to get the joke but they’re going too slow, just hit the plus sign three times and it’ll run at 1.4 speed. And as somebody who has to work their way through a lot of things in my day, sometimes I want to do it at the speed the creator wanted, but sometimes I want them to just tell me the point. And this tool is instant and free. What a delight. And there’s lots and lots of this stuff in the app store.

Magnetic Dovetail Guide
This is one of my pandemic distractions. There’s really no reason to make something out of wood unless you enjoy it. And if you are making something out of wood, you can join two pieces of wood together in lots of extremely quick and efficient ways. Or you can cut dovetails. And dovetails are a combination of something that looks like a triangle with the top cutoff as a void, and then the reverse of it. And when you alternate them back and forth, you have two pieces of wood that will fit in like a hand in a glove, and we’ll stay together for a very long time.

New Rules for the New Economy
I don’t do any coaching. I don’t do any consulting, but I run into people all the time who think they want to have an impact on the future. And they’ve got some business plan or they’ve got some idea and I say, “Have you read New Rules for the New Economy?” And they give me a blank stare. And the thing is, it’s free. And the thing is, it was written by a wizard 20 plus years ago and he wrote down all of it. All of it is right there. And I am a big fan of doing the reading and you need to read New Rules for the New Economy. There are no excuses. It’s been sitting there for decades, in plain sight, often for free, and yet people keep getting surprised. Do the reading.

Datacolor ColorReader EZ – Match and Coordinate Paint and Color Values Instantly
It’s a magic trick. So in my basement, I have 18 cans of paint. Almost all of them are crusted over and useless because they’ve been frozen and they’re old. But you save them, because what if you need to touch up something on some wall somewhere. There’s no reason in the world to ever do that again. This little device is 50 bucks. You hold it against the wall and on your phone it then shows you three brands of paint and exactly what color mix the thing on the wall is. And if it’s a pre-mixed color, it tells you the name of it.

About The Practice:
There are two kinds of jobs. Jobs where you get told what to do, where you’re a cog in the system and where you’re going to be replaced by some combination of GPT-3 artificial intelligence and someone cheaper than you. Or there’s a job where you are challenged to do human work of being creative to solve an interesting problem. And we’ve been brainwashed an early age, indoctrinated to believe that the first kind of job is blameless and the path. Because the second kind of job feels fraught, because you have to be on the hook to say, “I’m going to lead or create something where nothing was before.” And that’s what I call creative work. It has nothing to do with art. It has to do with the act of making art in whatever form, whether it’s software design or figuring out a way to do Crowd Control. They’re all creative problems. And the challenge that we have, having grown up in an industrialized world, is industrialists care about, “Is it cheap? Is it fast? And does it meet spec?” And none of those things help us make better art. In this book, I intentionally divorce the entire thing from, will you get paid? Because that’s a different problem. And I’ve written extensively about how to get paid by doing things that some people do as a hobby. That it is possible to make a fine living doing lots and lots of things that many people would do for free, if you’re willing to show up as a professional. For what it means to show up as a professional, is that you are making a promise to the marketplace and you are not allowed to simply do the work for you. You might get lucky and the work you do for you might work in the marketplace, but what it means to say to somebody, “Pay me to make this.” Is not that you are authentic, but that you are consistent. That you are a version of you that we want right here right now. I think, there’s more artists getting paid today than in any time in human history. But that book is a different book, which is how to make your art pay? Right now, I’m just trying to say how to stop arguing with yourself about being an imposter. How to trust yourself. How to find your voice so that you can pick your genre and do creative work. Because if you can’t do that part, you don’t even get a chance to do the second part.


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