I first got into listening to Earwolf podcasts for the Comedy Bang Bang podcast (formerly known as Comedy Death Ray Radio). It was and still is one of my favourite podcasts ever. A couple months ago, Earwolf added a new podcast called Seth Godin’s Startup School, which in my opinion, is a must listen for anyone interested in starting their own business.
I first learned about Seth Godin when he was referenced in an episode of This Week In Startups with Jason Calacanis (a fantastic podcast as well) and I ended up listening to the audiobooks for his books “The Purple Cow” and “Linchpin”. To me, Seth is the Jerry Seinfeld of entrepreneurship – he takes a basic observation about the world of business and develops insight that you would have never thought of in a million years.
The reason I love the Startup School podcast so much is because so many angles are covered. Business and entrepreneurship, at least on the surface, are very complex and are extremely daunting. Seth takes that complexity, breaks it down into easily understood chunks and drops in wisdom that can only come from years of hustling in every industry he could.
The two most important ideas I’ve learned from Seth’s books and podcast is the idea of the tribe and the removal of unnecessary parts of a business. The idea of the tribe is that the most important thing that someone in business can do is to cultivate a small but fanatical group of people that are the die-hard core fans of you and your work. Everyone else still matters, but not as much as this core group – and this group doesn’t have to be big at all.
I took this idea and applied to my business cards – if you love the card, I’ll probably want to work for you – if you don’t like it, it probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway:
The other insight that I love from Seth Godin is the idea that you need to have a laser-like focus on your product. Everything else that’s extra is nice but it isn’t core. One of the most interesting businesses that I’ve seen was a coffee kiosk in Montreal, outside of Mont Royal station. It couldn’t be any larger that 5 feet wide and 3 feet deep and was under a stairwell. There was a person in there, just making coffee and serving the people that were leaving the station. No chairs, no reclaimed wood furniture, no wifi. Just coffee.
The brilliance of this business is something I talk about constantly. What can you strip away from your idea and how much quicker does that get you to profitability? Do you really need that fluff in your idea? Do you really need more than 140 characters to express an idea?
Most importantly, is all this fluff just something you want in order to prevent you from having to actually execute your idea?