Making Ideas Travel, Part 2

In the podcast series, Seth Godin’s Startup School, Seth Godin gave a guided tour to a group of highly-motivated early-stage entrepreneurs on some of the questions they will have to dig deep and ask themselves while they build up their business. Here are my takeaways from various topics discussed in the podcast episodes.

  • Here is a fact about the single bars. If everyone knew how caring, compassionate, smart, and interesting we were, we will have absolutely no trouble getting a date. However, no one cares enough to get to know us that deeply. As a result, nearly all interactions become very shallow.
  • This means when we are talking to somebody about our idea, we need to keep this in mind and exercise care. We must dispense with how we got there and why it is important to us. We have only a moment to make a good first impression. If we succeed at that moment, we might have another moment or two to make the second impress. If we succeed again, there is a possibility to make to the next level. We need to be focused and on point to deliver a conversation that will have a maximum impact.
  • One way to keep the interest up is to do it with a serious of questions. We might discover that those questions can open doors by finding out what people are interested in. We are apprehensive of taking the questioning approach for many reasons. One reason that is scary is that at any time the person can answer the question the wrong way and it is over. Also, we are afraid of the possibility that the other party will reject us based on the questions we ask.
  • Seth is encouraging us to ask questions and get rejected early on. If rejection turns out to be the outcome, we should find out what led to that outcome. Our goal is to say to somebody in twenty words or less about our idea that would make them eager to pay attention, which is valuable. Perhaps we can interest people enough to be even eager to use it or eager to pay money, which is very valuable. How can we say to a person for them to say, “Yeah, I want to know more?”
  • Everything we build should have a social component to it. The social component makes it easy for people to share with their friends and to talk about it. When people talk about our idea, it becomes easier to spread that idea. If our idea does not include a social component, we should consider building something else.
  • When selling to a business, we need to keep in mind the target person’s mindset. The mindset for anyone making a business-to-business transaction is not to look bad or even getting fired. B2B selling is all about risk-avoidance and status enhancement. When selling B2B, the important term is “sale cycle,” how long does it take from the first day the last day?
  • One point of difference to make is that there is a big difference between selling to a stranger and selling to a friend. In our small circle, we may have the credential, credibility, and respect to sell to people who knew us. That was a winning strategy. The challenge comes in when we try to sell to a stranger, because that winning strategy may no longer hold water in the stranger’s eyes. One decision we need to make going forward is “Are we eager to talk to strangers or a friend?” Also, if we are going to do the work we want to do, we should do it in a place where our customers and constituents want us to be.