My notes on “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future” by Seth Godin
The law of the Mechanical Turk
The law: “Any project, if broken down into sufficiently small, predictable parts, can be accomplished for awfully close to free.”
Eg Jimmy Wales led the tiny team at Wikipedia that destroyed the greatest reference book of all time. And almost all of them worked for free.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica was started in 1770 and is maintained by a staff of more than a hundred full-time editors. Over the last 250 years, it has probably cost more than a hundred million dollars to build and edit.
Wikipedia, on the other hand, is many times bigger, far more popular, and significantly more up-to-date, and it was built for almost free. No single person could have done this. No team of a thousand, in fact. But by breaking the development or articles into millions of one-sentence or one-paragraph projects, Wikipedia too advantage of the law of the Mechanical Turk. Instead of relying on a handful of well-paid people calling themselves professionals. Wikipedia thrives by using the loosely coordinated work of millions of knowledgeable people, each happy to contribute a tiny slice of the whole.
The internet has turned white-collar work into something akin to building a pyramid in Egypt. No one could build the entire thing, but anyone can haul one brick into place.
The problem with “everyone” is that in order to reach everyone or teach everyone or sell to everyone, you need to so water down what you’ve got you end up with almost nothing.
Everyone doesn’t go to the chiropractor, everyone doesn’t give to charity, everyone has never been to Starbucks. Everyone, in fact, lives a decade behind the times and needs hundreds of impressions and lots of direct experience before they realize something is going on.
You don’t want everyone. You want the right someone.
Someone who cares about what you do. Someone who will make a contribution that matters. Someone who will spread the word.
As soon as you start focusing on finding the right someone, things get better, fast. That’s because you can ignore everyone and settle in and focus on the people you actually want.
Here’s a video that David sent over. I am thrilled at how much this guy loves his job, and I’m inspired by his story of how he turned down Pepsi as a vendor. He turned them down. But everyone wants Pepsi! Exactly. Once he decided he wanted someone, not everyone, his life got a lot better.
Rather than write an advertisement in a feeble attempt to get people to buy (when they have never even heard of you before), simply ask them for permission to send them more information (a free report, a free sample, a list of “common mistakes” in your industry).
And in that information you send them, ask for permission to send them more.
After you build up a relationship in this way over time, then you can start selling.
My Notes on “Tribes – We Need You To Lead Us” by Seth Godin:
The best synonym for leadership is management. That used to fit, but perhaps no longer. Movements have leaders and movements make things happen. Leaders have followers. Managers have employees. Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.
It takes only two things to turn a group of people into a tribe: