Seth Godin is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.
What were your three most valuable failures?
I think we need to be careful to avoid failure pornography, which in itself as is bad as fear of failure. Failure used to mean death–you fell out of a tree, a predator caught you–and we’re still hard-wired to fear failure.
The truth is, though, that today’s failure merely means shame, or a conflict or a restart. You’re unlikely to die from it.
For me, then, most of my most valuable failures are failures of inaction, of moments where I could have spoken up, or seen something or shipped.
The failure of not lending a hand when someone really needed one.
The failure of not seeing the web when it was right in front of me in 1994.
The failure of an idea not shared or a question not asked.
Which failure was your favorite? What makes it your favorite?
There are so many ways to measure and compare. If you’re talking about money, not building Yahoo or Groupon or Google or Facebook when I had the chance is probably pretty juicy.
Which failure was the hardest? What advice do you wish you had when you were navigating that failure?
The financial misses don’t count for much compared to the moments I haven’t seen people for who they were, and failed to connect with them in a way that mattered.
How are you failing right now?
I have a ton of leverage and more time than I used to, but I’m not focusing it as sharply and boldly as I could. But I’m working on it.