Seth Godin with Chase Jarvis- The Need to Fail to Succeed
Another great Seth Godin interview, this time with Chase Jarvis, the great entrepreneur from Creative Live. Seth has had some incredible output with 18 best selling books. Here they discuss the need to fail to be successful, the lizard brain, and how to be more creative. Enjoy!
hey everybody how’s it going welcome to the episode of chase drive us live I’m Chase Jarvis your host your guy you’re on creativeLIVE specifically the 30 days of genius series here in this series I talked to the top creatives entrepreneurs and thought leaders in fact their brains and help you live your career dreams and and all kinds of important stuff in your life from these thought leaders if you’re new to the series check it out at creative live.com slash 30 the number 3-0 days of genius all you got to do is click that blue button and then you’ll get an interview from one of these thought leaders in your inbox every day for 30 days incredibly inspirational incredibly actionable advice from these folks gosh my guest today you will know him as soon as I start to talk about him he is the author of 18 books 18 New York Times bestselling books by the way his current he’s had gosh I’ve been following this guy for I think maybe 10 12 years dangerously long time he’s been a huge inspiration to me his current project is the alt MBA which he will talk about at the school he built from the ground up my guest today is none other than Seth Godin welcome Seth thank you so much having me okay thank you so much for being here Seth again welcome Jace it’s great to see you came to New York to be with you and was well worth the trip we’ve already been visiting off-camera a little bit I’m as I said in my intro I’ve been been paying attention to what you’ve been doing for more than a decade but hugely inspirational to me and millions and brazilians of others what is your secret that there is no secret that’s the best part you know the when we think about things that are impossible that’s what revolutions do is they enable the impossible they destroy things that are perfect the record industry was perfect the travel agency business was perfect the stock photography industry was perfect and then something impossible comes along and we can look at that and say well there’s no hope or we can say how interesting what an opportunity to fail to explore to figure out what happens next and we can persist as we go there’s no secret there’s no mountain that you need to climb where someone’s going to whisper in your ear and tell you the right answer the same right answer is there is no right answer that’s beautiful and I do feel like the time I guess is it is it every time as now or is now actually special you know there’s this perception thing we’ve got are you happy well if somebody who grew up in Borelli India was in your shoes you could bet they’d be delirious with the tools of someone who you know lived under the last King of France saw the resources that even the poorest among us have access to they’d be delirious happiness is a point of view now is a point of view you can say I need to wait till all my ducks in a row but the thing I say to people is what when you get that duck what are you going to do with it and we have our ducks they may not all be in a perfect row but the best way to be where you want to be a year from now and ten years from now is to do something today that you’d be glad you did it’s powerful medicine so I love something that you said in a talk I don’t member the talk so forget me me you’ll probably know but it’s not important the point that’s important is you said the person who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck there you go and you know you know our audience well the people who are paying attention to this show to make me personally creativeLIVE it’s people who are aspiring to be more creative and more entrepreneur in their life sometimes that’s in career sometimes it’s in hobby but they know they want to sort of tap into a thing that’s been a little bit elusive for them or you know for the people who are on that path or trying to hone those skills but there’s a there’s two schools of people some who are just trying to start to go from zero to one and there’s a bunch of people who are started or on the path and they run it’s sort of like go to the next level so when I know that for me and I’ve correspond with our audience for years and in some cases maybe as much as a decade and there is a fear about the next step so for the person who invented the ship they also invented the shipwreck what would you tell me because I’m I’m always interested in being enlightened by you sir and but but more importantly the audience at home like what’s what’s the advice on playing through that sort of fear on the next step you’re called the series 30 days of genius and at some level you’re trying to flatter me but that’s not really what genius means and Liz Gilbert has talked about this genius is an ancient term for the voice in our head that is capable of doing something for the first time it’s capable of being generous it’s capable of being original and our job is to let the genius out you aren’t a genius we are all carrying genius so let’s call it 30 days of genius because every single person watching this also has genius now the challenge with letting the genius out is it might not work and that expression it might not work is super hard say out loud I say it out loud all the time because the fear cannot be defeated the fear will not go away the fear is hardwired into us for good reason literally DNA survival yeah and the thing is we’re just mistaken because you had a reason to be afraid during the Spanish Inquisition and you have a reason to be afraid of a baseball bats flying into the stance so your amygdala is activated your lizard brain goes into defensive mode but if you have to give a presentation at work or speak to your kids third-grade class you’re afraid why what’s going to happen exactly nothing so we have all this false fear now you can paralyze yourself trying to make it go away you can read everything and study everything and be sure you’re right that’s exhausting the other thing you can do is you can dance with it and if you dance with the fear and say oh it’s a compass it’s giving me a hint that I’m on to something and I’m doing something that might not work so here’s whether the magic of our age kicks in the cost of being a photographer today compared to what it cost Ansel Adams to be a photographer the cost of being a published writer today cost in time and effort and risk compared to what it took earnest Hemmingway to be a writer there’s no comparison so what we get to do is keep playing and if you get to keep playing you know imagine I grew up in Buffalo where the bowling leagues right and one of the drivers of bowling is you got to pay by the game so I only got three games I got to be careful with my rolls well what would happen if you had unlimited bowling if you had unlimited bowling you could practice different shots you could practice different approaches don’t worry about it when I came to score that’s where we live now unlimited bowling and so we got to decide are we just constantly trying to get it just right down the center which is boring and isn’t going to get us anywhere or do we have the guts to say you know this might not work but I’m going to persistently and consistently and generously bring it forward so that’s like the first pillar that anyone who thinks of themselves as a creative has to acknowledge that if you’re asking for a guarantee you’re in the wrong line there there certainly are no guarantees and creativity it’s messy it’s sometimes painful one of the things that I felt like you just hit the head squarely on which is that yeah I also espoused a digit genius in all of us and if you’re familiar with the work of Michael Meade the idea that that it’s really about uncovering that place inside you or the voice and some people call it intuition you can call it genius what are some specific mechanisms for unlocking that yes we’ve got unlimited bowling is your prescription that it’s really unlimited bowling that in order to unlock it what you have to do is try a lot of things or how would you that’s me putting words in your mouth but you tell me like how should we think about the actual act of tapping into that because that’s what people want there’s a genius in all of us I’m like does anyone not want their genius no one raises their hand they’re never it’s like I want my genius yeah those people are lying ok I think we can acknowledge that most people are talented so if you’re talented and you’re making banal work why is that it’s not that you don’t know how to do something that’s worth noting it’s that you don’t want to why don’t you want to because it’s afraid because you’re afraid because it might not work because you’ll be criticized because you’ll lose followers so if you look at how most people spend their time online they spend their time online doing social media grooming to make sure that they’re in sync that they’re safe that they’re in the center and that when we get a one-star review on Amazon for something we did we rush to read the one-star review I’ve never met an author who said I read all my 1 star reviews and now I’m a better writer so I stopped reading my reviews 5 one-all than I stopped reading four years ago nothing bad has happened to me by reading zero it doesn’t make my work better for me to hear anonymous people tell me I don’t know what I’m doing but we seek it out yeah we’re so strange no I don’t think most people actually want to do that kind of creative work and I can tell based on the way they spend their time so I refuse to give people tips and tactics because that’s just one more way to hide I’m using the same pencil Stephen King I looked at the I have a moleskin it I have my go-bag set up just like I learned online blah blah blah blah blah blah blah none of those things matter matter at all they’re just side effects of what someone who figured out how to deal with what Steve Pressfield calls the resistance how to deal with it and everyone’s going to deal with it differently I am more interested in teaching something else how to see if you can see the world as it is and not the way you want it to be letting your genius out becomes a thousand times easier so for me the expensive lesson was in 92 and 93 I had something you didn’t have it no man here had I had access to the Internet there was no World Wide Web then it was Archie and Veronica and the pipe to my office cost $400 a month and I was doing you know I was a writer I had a freelance writer and I looked at book packager and I saw this thing and I said I know I’ll make a book about it because that’s what I did that was my hammer this was a nail that same period of time two guys in California David and Jerry saw what I saw and they made a website called Yahoo and as Pecos worth eighty billion dollars so my half would have been worth 40 I it cost me 40 billion dollars to be wearing the wrong glasses right but once you learn to see with fresh eyes and say wait wait wait wait here’s this new platform I can overwhelm it with generosity I’m not going to worry about the business model I’m going to worry about touching people well the next thing you know you have 5 million Instagram followers and the people who are waiting for a guarantee waiting for Instagram for dummies to come out waiting for the tips in the tactics once again left in the dust complaining because they didn’t want to get on the ship because there might be a shipwreck so I think if you find yourself taking notes instead of being present for example you’re hiding no one takes notes on a date they’re present so don’t take notes during a creativeLIVE course because that’s not what’s being taught you can go back and watch it again what’s being taught is can you feel it here can you reconnect to what the genius feels like that’s available all right then when I can’t was coming up in the book business the first year I got 800 rejection letters in a row 800 800 I sold my first book the first day and then I got 800 rejections which meant that every day three or four letters with a stamp came to my house that said we don’t like you we don’t trust you we don’t think you have very much talent we don’t want to give you any money go away they didn’t say any of those things I thought that’s what you read read if there have been an internet I just said fine and publish to the world right no one could stop me well now we live in this world where you don’t need to be picked and you said one thing in your very kind intro that I’ve written all these New York Times bestsellers I’ve written in New York Times bestseller in a while because the New York Times bestseller list is a scam and I’ve refused to participate in it so I’d rather write a book that people want to read as opposed to write something that pleases certain people that get certain things done that makes the New York Times decide it should be on some list because I don’t want to be picked by them so I’m saying out loud don’t pick me you’re a scam and that frees me up to do what I want to do what I need to do not get hung up on seeing the world the way it used to be wow that was a rant but I got plenty RAM but but that’s literally what I’m so happy to be sitting down with you is because you’re what got your rant how your rants differ from others is they have a kernel of wisdom that is a mile wide and a thousand miles deep the the I was actually sort of reliving as you were talking about early internet days my particular experience which I like to think is very similar to the experience that a lot of people who self-identify as creative or entrepreneurial which is this there’s a constant sort of cycle it’s a conversate it was a conversation in my head if I do this and I put it out what will happen and there’s a million scenarios that go through your head and what I found out for myself was that that conversation was incredibly toxic yep and what I’m hoping to get through with this interview and others is that what you need to do is is the conversation we have this weird part of our brain that tells us that this is a helpful conversation that this is what thinking is exactly and the reality is that’s it’s toxic as hell and we need to sort of stay away from it is your answer to that narrative that false story that we’re telling ourselves is it just making is it doing like what what is what is the answer I mean I’m extracting that from what you just said about get on the boat instead of taking notes be present instead of judging publish am i oversimplifying the message so in I moved to New York City in 86 87 and sooner after I got here there was this crackling in my ears and if I did this certain thing with my jaw I would hear this crackling and so I went to the ear nose and throat specialist and I said this is what I’m doing he said take this sinus medicine and it made me fall asleep so I stopped taking it and two weeks later I went back if it’s really bothering me every time I go like just to hear this crackling and the guy said don’t go like that and I can make the crackling come back now I just did it huh but so I stopped going like that and the crackling went away the thing is we go to that place so that we can hide and I think there’s a different question we can ask not what will happen the key question is what is it for this meeting I’m going to what is it for this photo I’m taking what is it for just put thing I’m putting the world what is it for and then if we can say well it might not work but if it does work will I be glad I did it and if it doesn’t work do I have enough in the bank and air quotes to keep doing this because if we can acknowledge what it’s for we can focus on why we’re doing anything and that framing of saying what I do is connect people elevate people give them a smile get picked by a gallery make it a living whatever it is Oh am I a professional who is doing this in a way that the work matches what the work is for so you tell me that you want to be a world-famous architect and then you show me your plans and I say well these are fine plans for a single-family house in Cleveland but show me another architect who has followed the path you’re trying to follow this work you’re doing that you say is for X is actually for Y so get your yourself in alignment and the sooner we can understand what it’s for and decide that what it’s for is important enough that we’re willing to fail along the way we can stop having that other toxic conversation anytime we want to stop the crackling in our ears I love that your prescriptions are so simple just but hard they are to do you know that’s my point is is for those folks are out there you’re listening to a genius drop knowledge in a way that I don’t want you to feel intimidated but the reality this is the thing that I’ve learned from reading Seth is that there is all kinds of vitality and possibility in what you say the ability to stop moving your jaw like that so you stop the crackling I think the best word for me was alignment is really what I learned for me it was a choice right and there’s a lot of narratives that I came to believe about myself and the the art that I wanted to make versus what I was actually making that the narrative was a false narrative and as soon as I allowed myself through some painful self-discovery like why are you doing this what is it that you want to do with your art that it was almost overnight that I felt sort of set free and the way Brene brown someone I adore she keeps a list but she goes like this she’s like could keep a list about this long I keep in my wallet and these are the on this list is that people that I truly care what they think of me and if you’re not on this list or you haven’t been in the arena as someone who’s put themselves out there over and over and over again I don’t care what you have to say as it’s really hard to live that life so someone comes and says I got a million Twitter followers and my responses but how many of them have an opinion that matters are you actually doing it to get famous why and a lot of people you’ve crossed paths with who I’ve crossed brothers are on this path to just get more famous and if you probe and say but what is it for right is it can you eat more fancy restaurant dinners will it get you an even better table than you have now what why if we didn’t have a number if the number was just hidden from the universe you couldn’t make the number go up but just because you can see the number is this something that we need to go up so I want to shift gears and go a little bit further which is that the truth is I love truth that most of the people who are watching this and you and I in many of the things that we endeavor to do were just not that good at it and it’s a mistake to fool yourself into thinking you’re as good at songwriting is Bob Dylan and you’re as good at rapping as Macklemore and you’re as good so I get emails all the time please don’t send me email get too much email but I get email from people who said I can’t make a thing of this look at this work I do it’s awesome why can’t I why aren’t I more popular well number one we haven’t understood what it’s for and why you want to be more popular but number two because you’re not that good and you could be good but you haven’t put in the ten thousand hours of the thousand hours or the blood and the sweat and the tears to actually be good at it so if you go back to my blog post from 10 years ago more than half of them are way below average it took a long time to blog like me all right but a lot of people blog six times and they say why don’t I have a million followers and so what I’m getting at here is we are living in the most crowded creative universe in history there aren’t three TV networks there’s a billion there aren’t you know ten record labels there’s a billion so you’re not entitled to any attention you’re not entitled to any leverage but if you dig ever deeper in the stuff that truly matters you may earn some attention do you decide what matters or do you leave it up to the people at home to decide what matters for them oh yeah it’s I’m not in charge of what’s remarkable I’m not in charge of what’s important I’m not interested for sure I have no say but you’ve talked to so many people and what are common things that people say that matter to them like if there’s a survey course as a part of your alte mba and your understanding if they’re teaching you’re saying here’s some of the things that i hear that matter you’ve certainly heard a lot of this oh yeah what are things that matter well and these can be you know we can either you can throw them out there we can debunk them or you can say these things actually do matter I just want to hear from you what matters I think the simplest answer is would they miss you if you were gone I don’t know who they are and I know what God means but those people that you’re seeking to have an impact on would they miss you if you didn’t show up tomorrow would they miss you if this new product this new project didn’t come to the world or do you have to just do that whole hustle dance look at me look at me jump up and down off for a limited time ah ba ba ba ba to game it so they’ll actually transact with you that work doesn’t feel like it matters to me that feels like you’re just trying to make the living transient right which is okay everyone needs to make a living you probably should have a job but if you want to have this vocation as Liz Gilbert says if you want to have this arc to your work then it surely helps to be missed if you were gone so that’s the definition for me of permission marketing if you’re if that email you were going to send to 10,000 people tomorrow if it didn’t go out how many of the 10,000 people would say where is the email and the answer is none then you don’t have permission you’re just being tolerated so I would like to think that if I didn’t blog tomorrow more than 10 people would send me an email saying where’s your blog alright you can hit by a bus what happens actly that that if you stopped creating the courses that you’re creating I’m guessing some people would show up and say hey Jase where is it that’s what it means to matter to be missed when you are gone very tight definition so let’s talk to you ship to gear the saying I want to shift gears and explore pull on this thread a little bit more one of the ways that you would be missed when you were gone is that you stand out because there’s a landscape and I see it it feels relatively homogenous is a lot of Bay’s out there and then on the horizon there’s this purple thing exactly and my eyes or one’s eyes or the marketplace or have you want to I don’t know who one is are they or marketplace but the marketplace looks at you and you look different than everything else then there is some attention that’s thrown on you is that enough or do you need like yeah my take on it’s a little different okay my take on for those of you who don’t know I’m referencing a book of his called the purple cow correct sorry keep going no it’s good um my take on it is it’s really easy to be the guy who wears a plaid suit to a funeral it’s really easy to do that thing that people notice that’s not remarkable the way I use the phrase remarkable means someone thinks it’s worth making a remark about and if someone remarks about the thing the word spreads not because you are spamming the world but because people are talking to each other the challenge if we’re going to be creative is what do we want them to say if we want them to say what a jerk he’s wearing plaid to a funeral go ahead wear plaid to a funeral but we want them to say you need to see this it will transform you if we want them to say can you believe how generous that act was we want them to say this this is the new fresh thing then go build that so too often people say whoa we just made this cool commercial for our ketchup it’s a purple cow no actually it’s not it’s just a commercial right that people aren’t going to talk about it because it elevates them and they’re standing there talk about it because it’s like you know watching a one-armed paper hanger it’s a thing but it’s not something we would miss it’s a sideshow so the challenge that we have to make art that will and I use the word art very carefully here is we have to be serious enough about the process that we’re proud of what we made and we get it in a way that the kind of person that we care about like Bernays list tells someone else that’s a straight extrapolation of the idea virus but not another one of your 8 18 books a virus which is free online if anyone wants to share it said ideas that spread win now like any disease and epidemiology that followed they follow a vector they don’t infect everyone no one has ever been infected by a disease across the whole planet so you figure out which vector you want Napster didn’t really spread in nursing homes Napster spread on college campuses for a reason you needed high-speed Internet access and you had to be interested in new music but you had to have a lot of friends or and a lack of money probably right so none of those things were true at nursing homes they were true in a college campus so we can architect what we build to build sharing into it I like to say the following rhetorical question first person who had a fax machine what did you do with it not much right can’t use a fax machine is totally useless so how can you build art that doesn’t work unless you share it so the most recent book I did I published myself why because I know what to do when it’s your turn thank you and the idea of your turn is I will refuse to sell you one copy if you buy one I send you two if you buy three I send you five if you buy 96 I sends 120 why because I wrote it so you would share it so that the people around you would be on the same page as you it turns out if you give someone a book it feels totally different than if they go to a book store and choose to buy a book the gift of a book is a magical thing that changes the conversation so that’s part of the remark ability I’m trying to build into my work is it works better if your colleagues know the phrase Purple Cow it works better if they can hold you accountable because you’ve all understood the same concept so let’s talk about architecture for sayings you’ve referenced it architecting arcs architecting yeah the sharing part of it for the folks at home who are thinking about their next project or is is it wrong to architect something that doesn’t involve sharing because is that how is it the best way to sort of make it or is there are there two different sides the same coin which is there aside where your private and your polishing and your honing and is there another side where your publishing and sharing and architecting and deciding what you want it to be like to into encounter you or your brand or your work it’s a great question so my thesis stolen from Michael Shrike is that anything worth doing is worth doing because you changed someone else that if we don’t make a change happen what did we do right so that change could be lots of things if we’re going to talk about brands harley-davidson is a multi-billion dollar brand why because they changed disrespected Outsiders into revered insiders and for the people who have had that transformation happen to them harley-davidson is priceless that’s the change and we’ll do anything but right Apple Computer we could replace everything Apple makes with something else except that Apple changes people into people who have good taste about digital goods that’s their arc that’s the change they make they keep trying to escalate what it means to have good taste so this change is sometimes amplified if your idea spreads it’s sometimes amplified if you create the dynamic of the fax machine the purple cow but you don’t have to do it that way let’s say you’re a playwright and your goal is to change the people who come to your play into people who are able to think more deeply say about gay rights so the Laramie project succeeded because if you went to that play you were transformed changed mute by words and someone meeting them that was all it was but it worked it made a change happen now the byproduct is you and I have heard of the play the word spread but the word spread isn’t the point that’s just attack dick that amplifies the point the point is can you make a change happen so is work that’s made without change or that that from which change does not result is that failed work well I don’t know how to use the what to talk about I said when you say work so Starbucks Howard Schultz let’s talk about independent artists let independent artists and said okay if you are going to make a merely Pleasant song and you are going to define success as I made some royalties from it I would say you’re making a living but I’m not ready to say you’re making art that for it to be art it has to be a something that might not work might not work by my definition means it didn’t change anyone that yes we need to play some music in the elevator and maybe someone will give you a royalty check to plate it in the Muzak machine but you didn’t change anything so don’t call yourself an artist in that moment you are a piano player that’s different than being an artist so Jackson Pollock had a brother and his brother’s name was Charles and Charles Pollock painted just like Thomas Hart Benton Thomas Hart Benton super important artist in 1920s was there both of their teachers so Charles was a painter he just copied Thomas Hart Benton Jackson Pollock was an artist because he changed us that’s my distinction so intention what role does intention play in that right because if you don’t have an intention then you can’t fail right I’m saying you better have the intention you better be able to say at least to yourself this is the change I’m trying to make and if it happens then you can declare victory if it doesn’t happen you can declare non victory but either way you can go make the next thing go back to work okay let’s take it out of the very theoretical and talk about something very tactical or tangible rally ret rather and that’s you so I think the folks out there are very familiar with your work there’s always a curiosity about the man or woman behind the work and tell us a little bit about what you’re reading right now what’s inspiring you realizing that we’re all different and inspiration come from a lot of places but I just have a sneaking hunch that the world wants to know what are you listening to what are you reading how are you spending your time right now you know I’ve had 15 crises over the last 20 years where I get stuck and think I can’t do another one of those I need to go this way or this way and over time partly through meditation just partly through getting older I’m willing to sit with it way longer than I used to be able to it used to be if it was more than six hours you get it I was six hours is my max got any one of the next things I’m going to fail now I can sit with it and look and and breathe and say you know what diving into the obvious next thing is probably a form of hiding so I’m in one of those stages I’m really thinking hard about education I wrote a 35,000 word book that’s free on the internet called stop stealing dreams a few years ago about how our education system which gave us so much is now fundamentally and completely broken and that parents have forgotten to ask the question what is it for what is school for this class what is it for why are we teaching this thing at all this the standardized test what is it for this sticker on the back of my car that says I’m paying $250,000 for my student to go to a famous college why what are we trying to produce here so that was that was a rant that led to a smaller rant which led to some of the courses I’m building but for me the most you know if I look at a photo and I look deeply and I’m changed by it that’s a miracle but the most direct tactical form of change we call education we say will you enroll in this process and the word enrollment we can talk about for an hour this word enrollment of are you volunteering to let me change you in a way you are asking to be changed it’s so different than walking up to a stranger on the street and say let’s do calculus the strangers I didn’t sign up for that right and then when we say will you change can we change change to what change in which direction and for me I think the highest leverage thing is to change people into people who believe to have a genius into people who believe that they’re able to change other people into people who can see the world as it is and who want to and know how to cause these changes to happen to influence others to make the change happen going forward that’s heavy in there in the right way education something obviously deeply passionate to me that’s the basis of the foundation of creative live I’ve said on hundreds of stages if not more that if our parents had one job we will have five and the next generation will have five at the same time and so we’re living in an era where the existing infrastructure on education specifically higher education I’m really not all that focused on K through 12 I think we can talk about the foundations of schooling we’ll talk about that in a second but I look around and I see people fundamentally unprepared for the world that we live in and scrambling to sort of find it not just meaning but the ability to to plug into the world mm-hmm and it’d be like the equivalent to be hiring someone to come work at your business and not giving them any training and just like throwing them out into the world which is largely what we’re asking the world to do when we don’t provide an educational infrastructure so create I like to creative live and said well what are the good things about education and I said well you have people who know what they’re talking about you get people who want to learn there’s a communication between those two entities and there’s also this other one which is that the students can communicate with other students yep that was what’s working I think learning isn’t broken education is broken so what about learning can we lift and drop into a scalable model and how can we take the people that are at one end of that pipe and and provide the massive access transparency access and how can you pick at the other end of that pipe not just someone who knows something about that but the best people in the world so that’s the foundation of creative life right what about the educational system pisses you off and what is what are we at creative live what are you at all MBA doing well okay so my two sons went through public school so I saw it firsthand I’m a public school kid too I love public school public school is a key part of our culture but what’s broken about it is it was invented by industrialists for industrialists you can read the history it’s fascinating I won’t go into too much detail but basically if you want compliant factory workers it helps if you start with a six-year-old and teach them to sit in a dark room sitting still taking notes for eight hours do that for 12 years and by the time you get your hands on them they will follow instructions but we don’t need that anymore we need opposite that the standardized test was invented because it was an emergency in the 1920s the guy who invented it disowned it and there was such a backlash on them losing the tool that they lost his job as president in university for daring to say that standardized tests were stupid the thing he invented that this command-and-control model of saying I’m at the front of the room you must obey me this model that says school is for lectures is stupid Sal Khan is perfectly pointed out we should do lectures at night we should watch the best person in the world teach the class and do homework during the day when someone can engage with us right that makes so much more sense so there’s all these challenges but for me if you talk to someone my friend Peter was in the Peace Corps in 1969 1975 something like that he can still tell you everything that happened and I say but Peter the year before I remember that course you took it that clip he has no recollection because the Peace Corps is he did something and a lecture something was done to him so the alt NBA that I built we have no lectures whatsoever there are no videos there is no secret content zero that’s a discipline we have it is not open to large numbers of people it’s only for 200 people at a time it doesn’t happen asynchronously at your convenience it happens in sync with all these people around the world in sync in a slack room in a workshop setting and it’s all about projects 14 projects in 28 days so because I don’t need a lot of people I can be picky it can be expensive I can have people apply I can have coaches we can have stuff all of it is architected to do only one thing to use every tool and lever I’ve got to get people thirsty enough to go find the 10,000 lectures that are already online I don’t need to give them another one and so we don’t have a Content problem we don’t have a scarcity of smart people talking at us what we have is hearing problem we are choosing not to listen because we’re afraid those people that you’re talking about who are stressed they’re stressed because they’re fighting hard to get back to the old days when when we go back to normal when can we go back to this time that I will get picked so will tell me what to do and it will be steady and so to learning Millennials are trapped now because the only jobs that are like that are baristas and I love baristas but that’s not a career and don’t do that just because it feels like what you got trained for instead take a deep breath realize that day is gone and figure out how you could look forward to the insecurity and uncertainty of this might not work it’s I think it’s fascinating that everything comes about this might not work and there’s the ability and you also mentioned meditation there’s so many things I want to go I’m trying to put a pin in like three things right now meditation something that’s practice that I’ve talked very publicly about game-changer for me because it made me be okay with uncertainty and sort of being in the moment like oh this is what fear feels like as opposed to trying to respond to it I’m going to keep myself out of this fear state so I can do X Y Z it’s like okay and then you realize all of a sudden they’re like okay that that’s it like really okay now I can get back to work but instead of going down the meditation path I want to keep harping on this education thing okay I I also stand on stages all over the world and talk about the factory in the farm two things that the educational system was based on the farm being you the reason we have summers off in school is literally so you can go pick the crops it’s not how people and you don’t stop learning well in the summer it’s very much a babysitting mechanism as well we got to go that the school is and then go work in the fields the factory part is fascinating to me as you said the the raw material goes in one end and then everyone moves through the system regardless of ability or interest or regardless of many other things at the same rate theoretically learning or being force-fed the same thing if it’s defective we reprocess yes and yeah oh we have an error in the system put it back and so you’re continuing to move this thing and at the end the goal of a factory is to make like items yes exactly and the more efficient a factory is if it lacks efficiency then it’s basically broken because it doesn’t define that that falls out of the definition what a factor is and so we have this situation before us where we’re we’re asking our culture to be innovative the word innovation and creativity it’s turn on so willy-nilly and yet we don’t actually have a system that’s one fraction of as innovative as required to produce the goods that we are asking for what we do have a system but the parents refused to use it and the system is going right where I want the system is parents need to say to their kids straight-a isn’t the point interesting is the point parents need to say to their kids what project are you leaving they need to say to their kids what problem have you solved that’s never been solved before that until you do that you’re not allowed to do your homework that it’s parents who mean well yes who don’t have the guts to say to their kid do what you’re passionate about as long as you’re good at it and I don’t care about getting into a famous college because all the data is really clear famous colleges are overrated and deliver very little other than high school with more binge drinking and we have this other alternative but parents are going to lead this before schools get the message so it’s this is I think very curious to me that I always put the onus on this student and you in this conversation here have put the onus on the parent maybe it’s because we’re thinking about different times education writing about continuing because I pretty much look at the current system of k-12 and say whoa someone else can try and address that one that’s that’s a big deal because there is the guy if you’re a thirty it’s too late for your parents to help you right by the time you’re 30 it’s on you for sure but so just for the sake of this conversation the sake of our audience let’s assume that it’s not K through 12 right or that you’re not 14 and if you are kudos to you for reaching out and looking for alternative ways to learn but let’s just say you you are an adult a young adult right or an older adult and you’re looking for some sort of continuation and then I think that’s a good place for us to restart that conversation because take the onus off of the parents and now put it in the individual so right you had great crystal-clear advice parents this is how you have to think about it what is this what is your analogous advice you give to the individual so what I say to an individual is where are you being generous completely selfless and generous so that an organization or person you care about has changed for the better can you do that again and again and again because once that is what your goal is the stakes feel different because now it’s not your job now it’s your advocation now it could even be your hobby that if you can model that behavior without second-guessing yourself you can go somewhere so I strongly urge people to have a blog a daily blog you don’t even have to put your name on it if every single day you blog a point of view something you see an assertion your brain will act differently within two weeks because you’re going to be thinking about what you want to say tomorrow and after you’ve done it for six weeks you can look at what you said six weeks ago this act of public journaling is risk-free all the rational parts your brain understand nothing bad can happen to you from doing it but you’ll still find yourself in a rut because you realize if you do the safe thing if you do the listicle if you do it you might get some traffic it might get picked up that feels like a win it’s not a win because you haven’t changed anyone you haven’t moved the ball forward so I can’t tell you precisely what narrative will help you undo in a bootstrapping way your own narrative but we know it’s possible I like the sport of choice for me is skate skiing I love skate game you may have seen in the Olympics oh very clear that so so I took her I took one lesson it totally changed it for me from a guy who was an Olympic ski jumper ski jumper and Matt said listen Seth the entire sport the whole thing is that the person who leans forward the most wins and I said but Matt what if you lean forward too much he’s not connected to those he said you fall on your face that’s it that’s the entire sport personal lean forward the most wins but the person who leans forward too much falls on their face so if you want to be good at skate skiing you have to be prepared to fall on your face it’s the only way to be good at skate ski needs to be prepared to do that so when we think about you by showing up here today you’ve decided you want to be seen as a quote creative that you want to have this practice well it comes with lots of fun treats and toy is in happiness but there’s a cost and the cost is it might not work and if you can’t buy into that you need to find a way to trick yourself to buy into that because I can’t solve your problem by saying here’s a way to do it that will work I have no idea how to do it and have it work you wake up every morning most days having this one yet we’re excited that you woke up this morning how do you face the day what do you do well 1977 17 years old I decided facing the day didn’t feel right so instead I view it as an opportunity I have not hit the snooze button once since 1977 the snooze button isn’t an element to me that part of what I have tried to do with my work is create a life where I bound out of bed eager because I get another chance for unlimited bowling that is beautifully put you bound out of bed now do you go to create to go straight is there some sort of it is unlimited as unlimited bowling look to you like producing work or other other do I have a practice yes I’m not going to tell you what it is because it doesn’t matter fair enough I mean people love to talk about their practice and stuff I’m not superstitious about it I just think it’s a great way to hide to use my practice because it’s my practice would you encourage others to have their own practice is it how can you not have a practice right that’s that when if you go in for surgery you would like the surgeon you’d like her to do things exactly the same way every time wouldn’t you yeah right I mean she’s practiced exactly that there’s this method it’s like oh wait I forgot to wash my hand no you were not example against there to be a method and it turns out plenty of data there isn’t a method that’s demonstrably better than another method I mean there isn’t a surgical theater but in general if you’re you Bob Dylan does things completely differently from Taylor Swift completely there’s nothing in common other than they produce an artifact that means something to people and they think of it as a practice because it’s not yet there’s the the I think the desire to receive prescriptive information is just maybe never been hired rights right now because we haven’t accessed it and it hurts my ability to reach a larger audience that if I wrote the stuff that there’s a big demand for I would reach mornings I would reach way more people that’s not on my list of things to do but having a methodology or having a system is well it’s something I need to do to do my work that’s but I don’t think the details of it like Lifehacker is a really good way for me to waste half an hour I love reading about standing desks to do this or that do this and I stand on it yeah but that’s all that’s just entertainment that’s not at the core of what we need to do alright let’s go back to the alt an be a because it’s I think it’s a remarkable concept having been a part of with you know 120 other talented people built creativeLIVE I know hardness to build education and that what’s existing out there and the existing paradigms largely don’t work what was the basis for you wanting to do that well so I’m on the record with this rant about education so I went and did a couple courses with skills share they worked really well Hmong the most popular I’ve ever had Skillshare changed their business model I switched to you to me those were a huge hit and I felt good about what I made and then I look at the numbers 48 percent of the people finished the course which happens to be ten times the standard and 20 times most courses but half the people left even though the things only you know this course for ours right where they go what’s going on well then I realized what happens is when education gets hard which is the only time education works because easy education doesn’t work when education gets hard most people leave unless there is a significant social pressure so it’s really awkward to drop out of Princeton you got to disappoint a whole bunch of people you’re an expert on dropping I know how many people you have to actually expert at disappointing people the cost of dropping out of a $19 eCourse $19 and the course of dropping out of a free MOOC is zero so I said what would happen if I broke every rule of massive courses and did the opposite could I actually use that freedom to create to architect a world where I could transform people and so we’re hundreds of students in and I can tell you we have a 98% completion rate and we have transformed every person and I have never done a project where that was true never have I put something into the world that changed people the way this changes people and it’s thrilling to me and you know people say well you’re self-selecting damn straight so does Harvard right so the idea is if you get enrollment from people who want to go on this journey you’re way more likely to have the journey work so what I’m trying to do is say scaling early isn’t the goal the goal is to be good the goal is to be worth it the goal is to be missed if you didn’t do it and that gives you the freedom to take your time and scale slowly if you scale at all and if no person ever again signs up for the alt NB a– i am fine with it because i didn’t build a giant building I don’t have a giant team I don’t have investors I’m just saying I made this it might not work want to try and if people try it and it works I’m thrilled that’s not dissimilar to the back story for creating creativeLIVE as well that when looking at the marketplace of Gannett having sort of mediocre teachers who actually didn’t know what they’re talking about they weren’t world-class performers in their particular discipline the it was very very intentional to create something it was free so you could come in and sniff it you give books away for free all the time that was the idea behind the freemium model we can engage a lot of people and many people if you don’t have resources can still get in and have all the same experience you have a free and complete it and get all of the benefit and we find that people who are low on resources have this incredible success rate with great Avadh and the flip side of that is we actually made our classes they are the most expensive of any open platform they’re not behind a paywall if you want to own this thing you choose to pay for it but it’s the average class is a hundred dollars versus some of the other platforms where it’s $19.99 or there’s a particular you mentioned Skillshare 33 cents a month like there right but for the person who wants that it’s a it’s perfect for sure it’s just a difference absolutely for sure the thing that I’m trying to say that that in valuing you were talking about self selecting their price point is one way of selecting that people who are willing to to lean into the the product that you’re building regardless of the economics of online learning what do you feel like is the future there of continuing education what’s the future well so here’s what I think is going to happen there is clearly a higher education bubble it is clearly going to burst but it is going to burst slowly and the way it’s going to be birth slowly is going to be nibbled to death by people like you and me that around the edges if we can just train people to become curious and thirsty the number of other things they can learn is so big they don’t have to pay a quarter of a million dollars for certification because the like every course that MIT teaches is free you’re about to be free so what’s the quarter million dollars words for the piece of paper the proof so what’s going to happen bit by bit the way the internet usually does things is you’re going to be able to create a body of work that lets the employer know you’re worth hiring now it’s not as convenient as the mit certificate but it’s actually going to be more powerful yeah and it’s just going to take a while but that’s I think the future and so we’re going to see more and more free stuff we’re seeing more and more expensive stuff we’re going to see networks built guilds like in the Middle Ages the guild was everything so if I had more energy I build a guild and say here are five thousand people we spend three hours a day training we’re all networked with each other higher one of us you hire all of us and we put our reputation on each one of these five thousand people what would that be worth that would be worth easy three thousand dollars a month for every one of those people right that’s a huge industry by itself but if you actually pick the right five thousand people that would be worth more than any diploma so I’m focused on creative education not just because I my background is as a air-quote creative and that I just believe in photography design entrepreneurship yes all those things are true but I believe in creativity with a capital C yep and it underpins a solution to every problem global warming world hunger water crisis and we need to think about as a creative solution to whatever whatever problem there might be the the challenge that I see with the internet sorry with traditional education is this reliance on paper and they talk about all the value their certificate is so great so great I smile I didn’t know you had this belief walking into this conversation today that one of the what I love about creativity with the small C and why I like to apply that that’s what what creative life is doing is because it required it’s a portfolio system right where you are hired and fired on the basis of your work people who know you trust you because they there is a sort of relationship and in place and knowing that I’ve again stood on stages all the world knowing that you’re in that same camp I like that it’s refreshing to me but I personally have no doubt that the the education of the future or the hiring of people in the future it looks less and less like where’d you go to school what a few piece of paper and you added more and more what have you built who did you work with who did you work for and what would they say about you yes but Disick I’m waiting by the end no it is not and there’s a caveat and most of the people who were teaching right now were listening to this thing would not hire themselves that if you had to pick someone in the world to do it the thing that you do you’d find someone better than you so we’ve changed the stakes and we have to be really clear about that used to be if you went to Rhode Island School of Design you got through it you had this huge head start on people that starts are gone yes so when you think about it you know when when someone says I’m a freelancer and my primary asset is my relationship with my clients well if I went and asked your clients which of all the freelancers you’ve worked with is off-the-charts with the relationship would they actually pick you this poor person write that when someone says I’m able to use light in color to create photographs to create an indelible image in people’s heads well if I talk to the people have seen it are you really off the charts so what I’m saying is yes this institution is crumbling but that puts a huge onus on people to be honest with themselves about the craft that you’re not going to get away with the craft being what it used to be just because we could find you and you know I gave a talk two weeks ago to the people who make all the imprinted items in the country like pens and water bottles things like the huge industry there’s 50 thousand a hundred thousand people who do this for a living ninety percent of them have a big thick catalog they all have the same catalog and the same price list and you go to them and they say yeah I have these water bottles which one do you want that used to be a really important value add because there was no internet but now there’s the internet sort by price I’ll take this water bottle I’m done ten percent of the people actually engage with you help you find a thing you never would have thought of deliver the thing that’s off the charts are taking huge emotional risks as they do their work the other ninety percent are sitting there thinking they are in the ten percent they’re not they just have a catalog so sometimes people throw things at me when I’m on stage because my argument is I didn’t wish for the world to change but it did now that the world has changed don’t get frustrated because people are doing exactly what you do shopping around sorting by price buying commodities because that’s what we do when we’re given the choice so if you want to be treated as an on commodity act like an on commodity no one is a commodity if they don’t want to be that is incredibly poignant advice thank you very much unfortunately for for the folks at home I need to wrap it up because I promise be respectful of your time okay but what I want to know is there’s certainly something that I forgot to ask you and you are a great judge of what a great interview looks and feels like so if I gave you you were an amazing speaker if I gave you the stage what what would be a final point that you would well I think you teed up so many good topics and it was a privilege to talk to you for an hour thank you um so the first thing I got to say don’t send me email okay um times I don’t say that clearly enough don’t send me email secondly I want to say is this we have created this platform where people can take their turn and they’re responsible for what they do not their bosses fault not their parents fault they’re responsible for what they do you could be more generous you could lead people to a place they want to go you could weave a network that connects the disconnected you can see people who are disrespected and treat them with respect you can bring dignity to people who deserve it all those things are available to you that’s my mission is to help people understand that not someone else’s job to do those things it’s our job to do those things and we shouldn’t do them tomorrow we should do them today is maybe the best and do an interview thank you so much for your time super grateful folks at home you just got an hour and change with someone who’s changed my life I know that he will change Orange the more you pay attention the work he does thank you so much for tuning in and stick around we’ll have another episode for you soon thanks again Seth appreciate it go and do