I’m enjoying Seth Godin‘s latest book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?. In his chapter on “Becoming the Linchpin”, he has a great diagram on page 52, which I’ve reproduced here. His linchpin discussion is a good illustration of the variance between price and value. I always cringe when a client reacts negatively to my billing rate (which is low for the industry). If they say, “I wish I could bill my time at that rate,” I know they haven’t got it and may never “get it.” I want to ask them what rate they pay their mechanic or their accountant. It’s a question of the value contributed, not the price paid. This is the problem with people who try to do too much tweaking on the product of a good designer… they don’t understand that they’re paying for expertise and then negating its value. Perhaps they’d rather have an expert at minimum wage?
I will often doodle during meetings… not so much “taking notes” as just jotting down important phrases or concepts from the discussion. Sometimes a diagram, that sort of thing. This is just one of the reasons why when I redesigned my business cards, I went to to a 3×5 format with the reverse side set up for drawing, doodling, or note-taking. Seth Godin explains some of the finer points of the why and how this is a good idea.
A recent Jessica Hagy Diagram caught my interest (do the ol’ click-to-enlarge thing), reminding me of things I’ve said before about thinking differently and challenging assumptions. It’s an important process and one I fancy as a kind of specialty of mine. In approaching any challenge, I’m continually trying to see it from a different angle in order to get the necessary perspective to see the solution, whether it’s conventional or not. Along these lines, the other day Seth Godin wrote about the scientific method,
If you enter a conversation looking for something to test, measure and ultimately change, it's likely you'll find it. That change makes you more competitive, and you continue to cycle past your competitors. On the other hand, if you enter a conversation concerned about maintaining the status quo, it's likely that this is exactly what you're going to do.
I was reading Seth Godin talking about What to do with special requests, and as I often do, related it back to my own practice to see whether I was doing the same thing or something different, and why.
When I was in the general insurance industry, clients with a poor claims record or high-risk properties were quoted higher rates and/or higher deductibles. Sometimes very high… but we tried not to say “no.” Sometimes clients would accept the rates or terms offered, and sometimes they’d just keep shopping and place their coverage elsewhere.
Sometimes a book needs to be set free. When I received my second copy of Seth Godin‘s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, it was with the proviso that it be passed along. Anyone who pre-ordered the book and joined Triiibes (as I did, though I don’t hang there much) was sent a second copy of the book as a gift and told to pass it along to someone who needed to start a tribe.
I did this, and it’s a good example on Seth’s part of giving something for free in the interest (at least partially) of increasing sales. More exposure to your message, even for free, in the short term will mean more ongoing sales in the long term. It’s Seth Godin putting his money where his mouth is (before the fact), and I agree with him on this one. Apparently, so did his publisher.
Seth Godin on one of my pet peeves. It’s just spelling, it’s just an apostrophe. But screw it up, and I’m quietly annoyed with your whole organization.