Interview with Seth Godin about his new book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Interview With Seth Godin

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Seth Godin in a recent interview in SoCal to talk about Seth’s new book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? While I’ve exchanged an email and phone call or two with Seth in the past, this was my first time talking to him in person. I found him to be incredibly approachable and outgoing. In the book Linchpin, Seth says, “This time it’s personal.” He told me that he writes books not because he has to to make a living but because the message needs to get out there. He seems to be speaking, and sometimes pleading, in the book to anyone who will listen that it’s okay not to fit in. It’s okay to resist the status quo. Because after all, as he has said, “The reason they want you to fit in is because once you do, they can ignore you.”

It strikes a chord with me and I’m sure many others who have felt at times like they don’t always fit in-perfectly. I’ve always been an entrepreneur of sorts and preferred action over “analysis paralysis” and learned most of what I know through (sometimes painful) trial and error. Like the traveler from one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken” I seem to prefer the unexplored roads.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Seth talked to me about not worrying about fitting in, but standing out. Becoming a linchpin is about doing work that matters, giving gifts (metaphor) and being memorable.

One of my favorite quotes regarding the current economy that came from Seth’s 1-hour keynote, not this interview is, “Just because the tide is out, doesn’t mean there’s less water in the Ocean.” Seth’s new book Linchpin is very different from his other books like The Dip, Purple Cow, and Tribes. It’s a timely message about being an artist in your respective profession, shipping (metaphor) and doing it consistently. It’s about reinventing yourself (if it’s necessary). Seth says not to worry if you’re not the best that ever lived at your job. Very few will ever achieve what Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and other icons of business have done. But that doesn’t matter. Whether you serve coffee or serve on the Supreme Court, Linchpins find a way to do things others cannot or will not. They literally keep things running smoothly in a company and they are not to be overlooked or lost.

True or False…. Seth Godin answers every email he gets. The answer is True (I think). Seth told me that he tries to reply to everyone because it’s about being a citizen for him. And I believe him. Seth really struck me as a champion of the little guy. In many ways I think he has been and still feels like the underdog fighting big corporations, years of dysfunctional status quo. And his wears it like a badge of courage. Incidentally, it’s a fight that he is winning. But he would never take the credit. He understands the value, power and leverage of rallying communities-in fact he wrote the book on it (see Tribes if you haven’t read it).

In this segment I asked Seth about his favorite book. What book of his does HE like most and why? Before you watch this video, can guess? Seth also explains the writing process of one of the most read blogs in the world; Seth’s Blog. He told me he writes about 2,000 posts a year and only a few hundred ever make it online. Seth said that he’s often inspired with ideas when he discovers a need or something that can be done better but a solution doesn’t yet exist. Like the many App ideas he’s challenged anyone to create…or why expensive hotels make you pay for WiFi and less expensive hotels offer it for free…

Seth says, “Fear is the most important emotion people can feel.” He talks about the lizard brain in his book Linchpin. The lizard brain is the “natural man” our animal instincts, our worst side-procrastination, fear and other obstacles preventing us from being successful.

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  • uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by MirnaBard: @BryanElliott {Love it, Love it Bryan! Just started reading the book yesterday..will leave comment soon!] Linchpin

  • “We Buy From People We Like”

    [...] admin on February 18, 2010 Last week I had a great experience at our event featuring Seth Godin at the St. Regis Hotel & Spa in Dana Point, [...]

  • Chris Lorenz


    Great job with the interview, it came out really well. Hope you got some rest after the success of the event!

    Take Care,


  • Egbert Oostburg


    You rock! Thanks for your inspired leadership that led to the creation of Linked OC. Because of your passion and drive, events like these are possible. Seth was awesome and I really enjoyed the venue as well.

    All the best,

  • scott scheper

    Awesome interview, Bryan. Thanks for posting this. Specifically found the part about his writing interesting. Crazy that he started writing it 10-12 years ago…
    - Scott
    P.S. hit me up!

  • Denise Lee Yohn

    great event and thanks for this additional video, bryan!
    here are the soundbites and insights i took note of:

  • Amber Avines


    Thanks again for sponsoring such a stellar event! To bring Seth to our LA/OC community is nothing short of a miracle of which you should be very proud! Yet, another example of why you are a rising star within the community.

    Thank you again for allowing me to be a part of the magical evening you and So Cal Action Sports Network put together. It was fantastic!

    Amber @wordsdonewrite

  • Tyler Jorgenson

    Well done Brian!

  • LinkedOC Event

    [...] last event on Feb. 11 with Seth Godin was amazing with more than 800 people in attendance. Although Seth has requested that his [...]

  • Flip Video Mino HD

    [...] you like to shoot video? The folks from Flip Video were one of our sponsors at the last event with Seth Godin and I shot interviews and a bunch of stuff with my own Flip HD. It’s so easy and I had a [...]

  • CoachDeb

    Now we want to see “the story behind the story” …

    How about a video of how your commitment, creative mind and consistent persistence got Seth odin to come out for this wildly successful, sold-out event?!

  • Tweets that mention Linchpin —

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeremy Corman. Jeremy Corman said: RT @BryanElliott Linchpin [...]

  • Rene Power

    Great post, reading whilst listening to video on SocialMediaExaminer!

  • Victoria

    enjoyed the interview with Seth Godin, and wish I could come to the event you have put together. Your business concept is intriguing, and one that is interesting enough for non-locals (I live in CT) that I hope you will continue to expand it. Good luck!nVictoria Lyon

  • bryan elliott

    Thanks Victoria!

  • Peter Bohenek

    Bryan - Great post! Seth Godin has some great insights and his book is must read.

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