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Seth Godin has written 18 bestsellers that have been translated into 35 languages

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Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list


All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing




Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow





An instant bestseller, the book that brings all of Seth's ideas together.




Meatball Sundae

Why the internet works (and doesn't) for your business. And vice versa.



Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.



Poke The Box

The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.




Purple Cow

The worldwide bestseller. Essential reading about remarkable products and services.



Small is the New Big

A long book filled with short pieces from Fast Company and the blog. Guaranteed to make you think.



Survival is Not Enough

Seth's worst seller and personal favorite. Change. How it works (and doesn't).




The Big Moo

All for charity. Includes original work from Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Promise Phelon.



The Big Red Fez

Top 5 Amazon ebestseller for a year. All about web sites that work.




The Dip

A short book about quitting and being the best in the world. It's about life, not just marketing.




The Icarus Deception

Seth's most personal book, a look at the end of the industrial economy and what happens next.





"Book of the year," a perennial bestseller about leading, connecting and creating movements.




Unleashing the Ideavirus

More than 3,000,000 copies downloaded, perhaps the most important book to read about creating ideas that spread.



V Is For Vulnerable

A short, illustrated, kids-like book that takes the last chapter of Icarus and turns it into something worth sharing.




We Are All Weird

The end of mass and how you can succeed by delighting a niche.



Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

The sequel to Small is the New Big. More than 600 pages of the best of Seth's blog.



THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin

All Marketers Are Liars Blog

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« October 2012 | Main | December 2012 »

Non-profits have a charter to be innovators

The biggest, best-funded non profits have an obligation to be leaders in innovation, but sometimes they hesitate.

One reason: "We're doing important work. Our funders count on us to be reasonable and cautious and proven, because the work we're doing is too important to risk failure."

One alternative: "We're doing important work. Our funders count on us to be daring and bold and brave, because the work we're doing is too important to play it safe."

The thing about most cause/welfare non-profits is that they haven't figured out how to solve the problem they're working on (yet). Yes, they often offer effective aid, or a palliative. But no, too many don't have a method for getting at the root cause of the problem and creating permanent change. That's because it's hard (incredibly hard) to solve these problems.

The magic of their status is that no one is expecting a check back, or a quarterly dividend. They're expecting a new, insightful method that will solve the problem once and for all.

Go fail. And then fail again. Non-profit failure is too rare, which means that non-profit innovation is too rare as well. Innovators understand that their job is to fail, repeatedly, until they don't.

Anticipation vs. anxiety

If we define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance, we can also understand its antonym, anticipation.

When you work with anticipation, you will highlight the highs. You'll double down on the things that will delight and push yourself even harder to be bold and to create your version of art. If this is going to work, might as well build something that's going to be truly worth building.

If you work with anxiety, on the other hand, you'll be covering the possible lost bets, you'll be insuring against disaster and most of all, building deniability into everything you do. When you work under the cloud of anxiety, the best strategy is to play it safe, because if (when!) it fails, you'll be blameless.

Not only is it more fun to work with anticipation, it's often a self-fulfilling point of view.

Thank you, Zig

My teacher Zig Ziglar died this morning. He was 86. 

Thanks for teaching me how to sell and why it mattered.

Thanks for reminding me how much it mattered to care.

Thanks for telling us a fifteen-minute story about Johnny the Shoe Shine Genius, so compelling that I flew to the airport just to meet him.

Thanks for 72 hours of audiotapes, listened to so many times I wore out the cassettes twice.

Thanks for that one day we spent backstage together in Milwaukee.

Thanks for making goal setting so clear.

Thanks for elevating the art of public speaking, and making it personal, not something to be copied.

Thanks for believing in us, the people you almost never met in person, for supporting us with your voice and your stories and your enthusiasm.

Thanks for teaching so many people, people who will continue to remember you and to teach as well.

You'll be missed.

Avoiding "I'll know it when I see it"

This is a waste for the buyer and the seller.

When you have a business or individual waiting for you to bring them custom work, it can lead to an endless cycle of, "hmmmm not quite right." If the architectural drawings, high-heeled shoes or ad campaign doesn't meet their unstated standards, you're back to doing it again.

Sometimes you can make a handsome profit on all the fees you charge to redo things that indulge the ego of the customer, but more likely than not, your time is wasted until they're happy. If you have a client who feels the same way, you can work together to save time and money by being clear with each other about what's wanted.

I think helping a client say what they want before they see it is a worthy endeavor.

  1. Do it on purpose. When engaging with a new client, intentionally create an environment where personal taste is described in advance, and as much boundary-building as possible is done when it's cheap to iterate, not at the end when it's expensive.
  2. Demand benchmarks. The world is filled with things that are a lot like what you've been asked to create. So mutually identify them. Show me three other websites that feel like what you're hoping to feel like. Hand me a hardcover book that has type that reads the way you want yours to read. Walk me through a building that has the vibe you're looking for...
  3. Describe the assignment before you start. Using your words and the words of the client, precisely state what problem you're trying to solve. "We're trying to build something that does a, b and c, and not d..."
  4. Then, before you show off your proposal, before you hand in your work, restate the problem again. "You asked us to do a, b and c at a cost of under X. What I'm about to show you does a, it does b and it does c... and it costs half of X." This sort of intentional restatement of the scope of work respects your client by honoring their stated intent, at the same time it focuses your work on the stated goals.
  5. Make a decision about whether you want a reputation for doing this sort of focused work. If you do, don't work for clients who don't buy into the process. Over time, you'll earn the kind of clients you want.

Of course, this isn't going to work every time. Sometimes the client loves the power of saying no. Sometimes the client isn't articulate enough to describe what she wants. And sometimes the goal is magic, and no one knows how to describe that in advance.

Broken events

People who don't want to listen, being forced to sit through speeches that the speakers don't want to give.

If that sounds like a graduation or gala or corporate event you recently attended, I feel your pain.

If someone starts by telling a joke that they know is lame or starts going through all the tribulations they had finding something to say, if the audience is checking the time or secretly tweeting, then the event itself is broken. The speaker who discharges an obligation is not a speaker you are hoping to hear. 

Maybe obligatory speeches used to have a point, maybe they used to serve a vital function, but they no longer do.

Here's a thought: Let the students run their own graduation. Cancel any speeches that could easily be delivered instead via an interactive website. Put the credits and the thank yous into a beautiful document that you hand to everyone and switch the entire dynamic to:

People thrilled to be listening to people who are excited to be speaking.

Why not?

Four questions worth answering

Who is your next customer? (Conceptually, not specifically. Describe his outlook, his tribe, his hopes and dreams and needs and wants...)

What is the story he told himself (about the world, about his situation, about his perceptions) before he met you?

How do you encounter him in a way that he trusts the story you tell him about what you have to offer?

What change are you trying to make in him, his life, or his story?

Start with this before you spend time on tactics, technology or scalability.

Persuade vs. convince

An anonymous copyeditor working on my new book unilaterally changed each usage of "persuade" to "convince."

I had to change them all back.

Marketers don't convince. Engineers convince. Marketers persuade. Persuasion appeals to the emotions and to fear and to the imagination. Convincing requires a spreadsheet or some other rational device.

It's much easier to persuade someone if they're already convinced, if they already know the facts. But it's impossible to change someone's mind merely by convincing them of your point.

If you're spending a lot of your time trying to convince people, it's no wonder it's not working.

More here.

The decline of fascination and the rise in ennui

A generation ago, a clever idea could run and run. We talked about Space Food Sticks and Tang and Gilligan's Island and the Batmobile for years, even though there certainly wasn't a lot of depth. Hit movies and books stayed on the bestseller lists for months or even years (!)

Today, an internet video or an investment philosophy or a political moment might last for weeks or even a few days. It's not unusual for a movie or a book or even a TV series to come and go before most people notice it. Neophilia has fundamentally changed the culture.

The result is that there's an increasing desire, almost a panic, for something new. Yesterday was a million years ago, and tomorrow is already here. The rush for new continues to increase, and it is now surpassing our ability to satisfy it.

When that need can't be filled (which is not surprising, if you think about it) then we're inclined to declare that it's the end, the end of new ideas, the end of progress, the end of everything that's interesting. Spend a week or two watching TED videos and once you catch up, you might find yourself saying, "sure, but what's new now?"

If you're in the business of making a new thing, this churn may be an opportunity, because it's easier now than ever to send a hit up the pop charts, whatever sort of pop you make. But it comes at a price, which is that it won't last, and you'll quickly have to go back and make another one.

The real opportunity, I think, is in trying to build longer arcs. Now that the cycle of new is eating itself in a race to ever-faster, there's a bigger chance to make long term change by consistently focusing on what works (and what's important), not what's new and merely shiny.

What's important, what's always important, is useful change.

In a hurry to be generous

We're often in a hurry to finish.

Or in a hurry to close a sale.

What happens when we adopt the posture of being in a hurry to be generous? With resources or insight or access or kindness...

It's an interesting sort of impatience.

Vendor shout out

Yelp and other sites make it easy to honor a favorite restaurant. Amazon lets you praise the author of a book that touched you.

But what about the hard-working and insightful organizations we work with to make our businesses succeed? We spend all day with them, and bet our reputations on them, but it's not often we get to highlight the vendors who bring humanity to their work. It's so easy to focus on the broken software and the broken promises that take up so much of our time, but it turns out that it's the miracle workers that actually make our best work possible.

As I finish up my huge Kickstarter project, I wanted to share the names of some of the folks I counted on to make it work: 

Michael Quinn is a print broker who keeps his promises, no matter how complicated the job is.

Hugh Macleod is a genius.

Pirate's Press is my favorite choice for producing and packaging LPs. They care and it shows.

Alex Miles Younger runs Unozip, a graphic design firm that will both make you look good and help you enjoy the process.

Robyn and the team at Global are a patient and wise fulfillment house.

Dan runs a classic letterpress shop in Brooklyn, and does it with generosity and talent. Go take a class and bring your coworkers.

And Brian continues to deliver professional web work with his team at Viget.

I'm also delighted to be able to work with caring, insightful people like my copyeditor Catherine E. Oliver, my agent Lisa DiMona, librarian Bernie Jiwa, artist Lori Koop, connectrix Michelle Welsch, rights guru Teri Tobias and the editorial duo of Adrian Zackheim and Niki Papadopolous.

Every day I'm amazed that I have the privilege of doing the work I do, and I know that I wouldn't be able to do it without the combined efforts of literally thousands of people who do more than they have to. From the infrastructure that gives us the stability we need to dream to the person who says yes instead of no, I'm grateful. [Don't forget Arlo.]

I guess that's what we all we need. People with a point of view who do more than they have to.

And thanks to you, of course, for reading and for cheering us all on.

Thank you.

Fall recommended reading list

Here it is: My fall book list—this time, it's half a dozen new books, some music and even a gadget.

(Here are three past lists).

For the first time, I'm building my list using the beta version of a new Squidoo tool we call postcards. Now it's simple and easy to highlight a product or an idea and share it with friends. We take the postcards you build and arrange them into stacks, organizing them by creator, topic and popularity. You can even embed a postcard onto a website (see below).

What you see are the first steps of what we hope will be a powerful platform. I hope you'll try it out by recommending a few finds of your own.

The Stockholm Octavo

The fermata


It is a mark from the composer to the conductor: Hold the pause as long as you like.

When we finally have the attention of an audience, our instinct is to rush. Attention is precious, please don't stare, okay, I'm hurrying, there, I'm done.

It doesn't have to work that way.

If you've got something to say, say it. Slowly. With effect. The audience isn't going anywhere. At least not the people you care about.

No, don't waste their time. Yes, handle your message with the respect it deserves.

If you have to rush to say it, it might not be worth saying.

Wasted kindling

The most valuable wood at the campsite is the dry twigs and branches used to start a fire.

It's hard to imagine a bigger waste than cooking an entire meal using nothing but kindling. It burns fast and bright, but it doesn't last. You might be able to cook something, but then there's be nothing left for the next guy. No, the useful technique is to have some bigger logs standing by, and to use as little kindling as possible.

This, of course, is my analogy for marketing and promotion. That juicy link from a design blogger or your appearance on TV—that's kindling. If that's what you're depending on, you're in trouble. One manufacturer I know explained that he got about thirty orders from a post on a well-known blog, and so he needed a post like that every week to stay in business. Good luck with that.

PR and promo addiction starts this way. It's the easy and lazy way to keep your product selling. Spray and pray. Work the kindling system, get the quick bits of attention and then move on.

It might work now and then, but it's not a dependable and scalable way to grow your business. You need significant logs, things that keep the system working without a constant stream of promotion. A few:

  • a remarkable product that users enjoy talking about
  • a product with virality built in--something that works better when my friends use it too
  • a community orientation, so that each new user enhances the value of the community, creating a virtuous cycle
  • economies of scale in both production and marketing. As you grow, things get both cheaper and easier to talk about

All four are intentional (and not easy) acts of a marketer and designer who realize that they have a choice about what to build and how to build it. [Here's a post from three years ago with more on this.]

Using up all the kindling is selfish and ultimately pointless.

What are professional reviews for?

I know what they used to be for. A decade ago, there really was no way to tell if a movie, a book or a play was worth your time before you paid up. A professional review could be a valuable signal, a way to save people time and money.

Along the way, professional reviewers also decided that they could alter the culture by speaking up. Since creators of culture are often sensitive to what the critics have to say, establishing critical baselines (particularly when you are a powerful arbiter of what sells and what doesn't) became a real function of the critic.

Today, of course, there's no shortage of cultural feedback. If I want to know what people thought of a bit of culture, it's only a click away. In fact, for the consumer who doesn't want to know (spoiler alert) it's almost impossible to avoid.

With that much feedback to choose from, what purpose do the anonymous book reviews in Publishers Weekly or Kirkus Review serve? Or the long movie reviews in the Times or the short ones in Variety? Or the restaurant reviews in the local paper?

They might be saying, "I have a track record, and if you agree with my past picks, you'll agree with this," which works fine if it's always the same reviewer and we know them by name.

They might be saying, "our publication has a good track record in picking what's going to be popular, so if you're a theater owner or a bookstore, pay heed," except they don't have a good track record, they have a terrible one.

Or they might be saying, "attention actors and directors and writers--we don't like it when you make books and movies that we don't like, and we're going to pillory your work until you stop." Assigning someone who doesn't like an author's work to review the author's next book seems cruel to all involved.

[And sometimes, they're just fun.]

All a long way of saying that if you make something that people are likely to criticize, pay careful attention to which critics you listen to. They probably don't view the world the way you do, and worse, the way your fans do.

Reading criticism just to ruin your day is a waste of your talent.

Freedom in a digital world

For a long time, there was alignment between what we wanted when it came to privacy and what was possible for the government to do. We relished our privacy and got used to the freedom to act anonymously at the same time that the government and marketers really couldn't keep track even if they wanted to.

In the pre-internet world, there was just no way to imagine a useful database of every citizen's fingerprints. The thought that a store would know every item you've ever purchased (and not just at their store) was crazy. Freedom from intrusion existed largely because the alternative was impossible.

Today, of course, we know that we can sequence the DNA of every resident and put it in a database. We can install so many cameras in a city that just about every corner is under surveillance. We can even wire cars so that they give themselves tickets when the driver is speeding. And yes, marketers already know about which websites you've visited recently.

Which leads to a series of questions that we're not asking.

Should there be speed limits? If so, should a violation depend on the bad luck of getting caught by a random cop on a random road (maybe)? Or should it be automatic?

Should drunk driving be permitted? If not, why not have a breathalyzer in every car, so that a simple puff of air is necessary to start the car? What if the insurance company gave you a big discount if you opted in?

Should everyone, even the presumed innocent, be required to put their DNA in a databank so that violent criminals are much more likely to be found? If not, who should have their data shared? How many innocent people behind bars could we free (and guilty parties could we catch?)

Should the government be able to sift through bank records looking for money laundering behavior? What about seeking out trends in tax records or cell phone calling patterns?

What about building a database of everyone who attends a football game (using facial recognition)? A politcal rally?

Should we take advantage of technology to allow us to trace every bullet and know what gun it was fired from?

One argument is that those with nothing to hide are already being surveilled in countless ways, and we probably ought to make laws to get those that would hurt the rest to be included.

The other argument is that all surveillance is too much, and it should be permitted to wear a clown mask into a bank and there ought not to be speed limits.

As usual, we're going to end up somewhere in between, but like all things the Net breaks, this one is going to take a long time to catch up to what's already happening.

In the meantime, I wish we were asking more questions.

"This is the best I can do"

vs. "It's not good enough."

Both are symptoms of a huge problem that doesn't even have a name.

Entire industries lull themselves into believing that what they make and how they make it is good enough--until someone comes along and turns the market on its head by proving them wrong.

At the same time, countless projects go unlaunched, improvements hidden, thoughts unstated--because the person behind the idea is hiding behind the false understanding that their work isn't good enough yet.

Which problem do you have?

Accepting small promises

Marketing is about making promises and then keeping them. The marketer comes to us and makes a promise. If we accept the promise, a sale is made.

If we seduce ourselves into accepting small promises, we let everyone down.

The small promises of a feature added or a price reduced cheapen us and the marketer who would have us flock to him. 

The big promises of transparency and care, of design and passion, of commitment and stewardship--we ought to be demanding more of this. 

We get what we settle for.

Free coffee, next exit

That's the most effective billboard one can imagine, particularly if it's typeset properly and if the coffee is good.

Most billboards aren't nearly as useful, because the wrong service is promoted, or, more likely, because someone saw all that space and worked hard to fill it up.

The same thing is true of most websites. You know so well the why's and how's of what you built and how terrific it is, and the thought of using just a few words when a bunch will do is frightening indeed.

No, your solution doesn't have to be simple or obvious. But the story about what it accomplishes does.

The goal of a marketing interaction isn't to close the sale, any more than the goal of a first date is to get married. No, the opportunity is to move forward, to earn attention and trust and curiosity and conversation.

Simple, clear and actionable.


When John Coltrane plays the melody early in the track Harmonique, you can hear some of the notes crack.

Of course, Coltrane was completely capable of playing these notes the traditional way. And yet he didn't. 

It's this effort and humanity that touches us about his solo, not just the melody.

Sometimes, "never let them see you sweat," is truly bad advice. The work of an individual who cares often exposes the grit and determination and effort that it takes to be present.

Perfecting your talk, refining your essay and polishing your service until all elements of you disappear might be obvious tactics, but they remove the thing we were looking for: you.

When you don't know what to do...

That's when we find out how well you make decisions.

When you don't have the resources to do it the usual way, that's when you show us how resourceful you are.

And when you don't know if it's going to work, that's how we find out whether or not we need you on our team.

Making instructions is harder than following them.

You can't argue with success...

Of course you can. What else are you going to argue with? Failure can't argue with you, because it knows that it didn't work.

The art of staying successful is in being open to having the argument. Great organizations fail precisely because they refuse to do this.

Where do you go to trade in the points?

There are all sorts of actions we can take to earn points. We can earn points with our spouse, with a boss, with a customer... "Wow, you get extra points for that."

The question one might ask is, "what good are the points?" Hey, I'm earning all these points, what am I supposed to do with them?

When it comes to trading them in, they're actually a little like frequent flier miles. They're really difficult to redeem, even for an upgrade you'd like. Hardly worth the effort, it seems.

But for this kind of points, that's okay. The best part of earning points is earning them, not trading them in.

Avoiding the false proxy trap

Sometimes, we can't measure what we need, so we invent a proxy, something that's much easier to measure and stands in as an approximation.

TV advertisers, for example, could never tell which viewers would be impacted by an ad, so instead, they measured how many people saw it. Or a model might not be able to measure beauty, but a bathroom scale was a handy stand in.

A business person might choose cash in the bank as a measure of his success at his craft, and a book publisher, unable to easily figure out if the right people are engaging with a book, might rely instead on a rank on a single bestseller list. One last example: the non-profit that uses money raised as a proxy for difference made.

You've already guessed the problem. Once you find the simple proxy and decide to make it go up, there are lots of available tactics that have nothing at all to do with improving the very thing you set out to achieve in the first place. When we fall in love with a proxy, we spend our time improving the proxy instead of focusing on our original (more important) goal instead.

Gaming the system is never the goal. The goal is the goal.

To protect and serve

How much of your time and effort goes into protecting yourself from the things you fear?

And how much is spent serving your muse and your tribe and your potential?

How I broke my nose (for the second time)

The first time was youthful bravery--I was playing hockey with people far better than I (not older, merely better) and they slammed me into the boards. That's something almost heroic, at least when you're twelve.

No, the second time was two days ago. I finished a delightful breakfast with a friend and as I walked out of the restaurant, I focused on the door to the street and the weather outside--and completely ignored the interior plate glass door, slamming right into it at full speed.

The important lesson: while it matters a lot that you have a goal, a vision and an arc to get there, it matters even more that you don't skip the preliminary steps in your hurry to get to the future. Early steps might bore you, but miss even one and you might not get the chance to execute on the later ones.

My nose is fine, thanks, better every day, but the reminder was a worthwhile one.

The whiner's room

When my friend Elly taught in a middle school, he never hung out in the teacher's room. He told me he couldn't bear the badmouthing of students, the whining and the blaming.

Of course, not all teachers are like this. In fact, most of them aren't. And of course, trolling isn't reserved to the teacher's room. Just about every organization, every online service, every product and every element of our culture now has chat rooms and forums devoted to a few people looking for something to complain about. Some of them even do it on television.

The fascinating truth is this: the people in these forums aren't doing their best work. They rarely identify useful feedback or pinpoint elements that can be changed productively either. In fact, if you solved whatever problem they're whining about, they wouldn't suddenly become enthusiastic contributors. No, they're just wallowing in the negative ions, enjoying the support of a few others as they dish about what's holding them back.

It pays no dividends to go looking for useful insight from these folks. Go make something great instead.

Why vote? The marketing dynamics of apathy

Here's what political marketers learn from people who don't vote:


If you don't vote because you're disappointed with your choices, disgusted by tactics like lying and spin, or merely turned off by the process, you've opted out of the marketplace.

The goal of political marketers isn't to get you to vote. Their goal is to get more votes than the other guy. So they obsess about pleasing those that vote. Everyone else is invisible.

Steakhouses do nothing to please vegetarians who don't visit them, and politicians and their handlers don't care at all about non-voters.

The magic of voting is that by opting in to the system, you magically begin to count. A lot.

If you don't like negative ads, for example, then vote for the candidate who ran even 1% fewer negative ads. Magically, within a cycle or two, the number of negative ads begins to go down.

One reason that people don't vote (a real, usually unspoken reason) is that they don't want to feel responsible for the person who wins. The other reason is that they don't want to live with the disappointment of voting for someone who loses. Both of these reasons ignore the marketing reality: not voting doesn't make marketing or politics go away. It merely changes the person the marketers are trying to please.

Vote tomorrow. Bring a friend. If enough smart people start voting again, things will improve, because billions of dollars in political marketing will suddenly be trying to please you.

Bad performance, good performance and the other two kinds

In the industrial age, the boss defines a good job as one that meets spec. If you do what you are told, on time and on budget, it's a good job.

A bad job, then, is one that requires repair or rescheduling or produces a shoddy output.

In the connection economy, the post-industrial age we're moving into now, there are two other kinds of work worth mentioning:

A remarkable performance is one that exceeds expectations so much that we talk about it. (Remarkable, as in worth making a remark about). In just about every field, it's possible to be remarkable, at least for a while, and thanks to the increasing number of connections between and among customers, remarkable work spreads your idea.

It's difficult to be remarkable every day in every way, though, because expectations continue to rise. Which leads to a fourth category:

A personal performance.

A good job is largely anonymous and forgotten (but still important). A personal job, on the other hand, is humanized. It brings us closer together. It might not be remarkable, but it stands out as memorable because (however briefly) the recipient of the work was touched by someone else. Often, remarkable work is personal too, but personal might just be enough for today.

The best way to get unstuck

Don't wait for the right answer and the golden path to present themselves.

This is precisely why you're stuck. Starting without seeing the end is difficult, so we often wait until we see the end, scanning relentlessly for the right way, the best way and the perfect way.

The way to get unstuck is to start down the wrong path, right now.

Step by step, page by page, interaction by interaction. As you start moving, you can't help but improve, can't help but incrementally find yourself getting back toward your north star.

You might not end up with perfect, but it's significantly more valuable than being stuck.

Don't just start. Continue. Ship. Repeat.

"The best you can hope for..."


[the reaction to this post surprised me. It's a bit of a Rorschach test, I guess. What I wrote was that we can/should hope for more and expect more and yearn for more, that we shouldn't accept false limitations. Some people misread it to mean that you probably won't get what you hope for. Alas, the price of brevity. If you re-read it, I hope you'll see what I was aiming for...]

I know what you should do

Actually, I don't.

I know what I would do in this situation, but I'm not you.

I know what your customer should do, but I'm not her.

I know (and you know, and we all know) what we would do in a given situation, but that's not the same thing.

Empathy requires something extremely difficult: accepting the fact that we are not and never will be in the other person's shoes. There's no rational, universal course because individuals have different goals, different worldviews and different experiences.

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