Seth Godin on The Tim Ferriss Show

Episode 5: Seth Godin on The Tim Ferriss Show

In this new episode of The RevolutionFI Podcast, Tim extracts wisdom from an interview of Seth Godin on The Tim Ferriss Show.

“So, the question is this: How can 50+ folks like us, honest and hard-working, how do we manage our current responsibilities and still plan for retirement? 401ks alone won’t be enough and we don’t have 40 years to save, so how do we leverage our experience and wisdom to gain financial independence? That is the question, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Tim, and welcome to the Revolution. The RevolutionFI podcast.”



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Hey everybody, welcome back to the RevolutionFI podcast. So excited to be here with you. Before we get into the Friday Hot Pods like that I almost thought Hot Pocket but Hot Pods sounds better. So we’ll make Friday the Hot Pods episode. If you are looking to eliminate your debt and save for some retirement, earn money towards retirement, make sure you go to RevolutionFI.com and grab The Solopreneur Formula™ worksheet to help you get on your way.

So today’s episode, heading into the weekend is an exciting one for me because it involves two of my favorite podcasts, celebrities, so to speak. On October 26 Seth Godin was a guest on the Tim Ferriss show, and I absolutely love this episode, I’d strongly recommend you listen to the whole thing. But I thought for the sake of today’s episode, what I want to do is just pull out something that Seth talked about, and that I’ve found crucial as I’m moving forward, not not just from the J. Thorn stuff. But even looking ahead, having this lens on things is incredibly helpful. So I’m going to go ahead and just tell you what Seth said, and then I’ll give you my interpretation of it.

From Seth Godin

So he said, “One of the things I’ve been arguing is that the smallest viable audience is more attainable than ever before. It didn’t used to be possible, as Kevin Kelly would talk about 1000 true fans impossible. But if you run an HVAC small business 200 customers is plenty. I’m super pleased with how my books have done. But 99% of the people in America have never read a book I wrote 99% plenty fine. The smallest viable audience means you’re on the hook. Because if you’re specific about who it’s for, then that group gets to say, You made me a promise, and you didn’t keep it. Whereas if you say I have this big shiny idea, but this VC won’t fund me or this media company won’t write about me or Oprah won’t call. Now you have a great excuse.”

All right, so let’s unpack that a little bit. There’s a lot in there. I think that the starting to back sort of at the end and work backwards. The excuse I think Seth is talking about is that if you are aiming at pleasing everyone, or the mainstream, or you’re trying to create something for thousands of people, then what you have to do is you have to go to those mainstream outlets. And when you do that you have the excuses built in, right? You have venture capitalists who say no, you have, you know, Oprah who won’t return your call, you have, you know, the Today Show who won’t take your appearance, you have an excuse that allows you to check out and say, Yep, see, it didn’t work.

1000 True Fans

So I thought that was interesting. Let’s go back to the thousand true fans. This is something that I’ve always thought was important. And Kevin Kelley came up with it years ago, I still think it’s relevant. But it’s starting to get outdated. Because I think the problem here is that 1000 is just too many. Think about your daily life. How many people do you interact with on a regular basis? A thousand a lot. And that can be disheartening. You know, he talked, Seth talked about having a local HVAC business. If you have 200 customers, you’re set like you don’t need anything else. So I think this idea of maybe, you know, not looking at 1000 true fans, but what about 10? What if you went out and you made something? You made a prototype or an MVP, you create just something simple, one lesson, one post, one something, and you gave it to 10 people and you said, “What do you think of this?” and got their feedback. I think that’s how we’re gonna have to build things moving forward.

And I like that. I’m up for that challenge. That’s what I’m doing here. If you were on my J. Thorn, The Author Life email list, you may have noticed that I clearly stated who this RevolutionFI was for and who wasn’t. And I didn’t just automatically subscribe people and I didn’t try and sell people over I just said, “Hey, if this is for you come with me. And if it’s not, that’s cool, too.” But I’m trying to exclude the people who are not not into it. I don’t want 1000 lukewarm people. Instead, I want 10 people who are excited to be here over those thousand who are somewhat meh about it.

The Clan vs. The Tribe

So I think on a bigger level, this gets to the difference between a clan and the tribe. And I know there’s some pejorative connotations with those words. I’m using them cautiously, but I’m just using them because they’ve been in the vernacular over the past couple years. But this idea of a tribe, you know, a tribe is a few hundred to 1000 people and again, I think that’s too big. I think if you focus down on the clan, who is your clan, not who is your tribe. I think then you have better success in creating something that’s going to resonate. And eventually then that clan will grow. But I don’t think that’s where you can start. 

And I think that’s what Seth was getting to in this episode. So always awesome. It was amazing talking to Seth, if you haven’t listened. It was great having him on the Writers, Ink podcast and interviewing him there for his new book. But this long form interview with Tim Ferriss is excellent. I would definitely recommend you check it out.

Alright, everyone, have a great weekend. I will be back tomorrow and Sunday with a couple of weekend reflections. Things you can kind of sip your coffee to and think about to prepare you for the next work week on Monday. That’s it. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Transcription by Otter.ai, please forgive the bot for typos and mistakes.

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