Fei Wu and Seth Godin

Celebrate Episode 200 With Seth Godin: Make a Ruckus

Meet Seth Godin

In his word own words: “For more than thirty years, I’ve been trying to turn on lights, inspire people and teach them how to level up.” His blog has been appearing daily for more than a decade. He’s written and published 19 bestselling books. More than 60,000 people have taken his online courses (including me).

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Over the past 15 years, I had many ups and downs in my life and the one guru I kept turning to without ever meeting in person was Seth Godin. As soon as I’m blocked, having serious doubts, I will pick up a book by Seth Godin, and it almost didn’t matter which one I chose. At the bottom fo this blog post, I’ve included a list of my favorites.

Years after I discovered Seth and his work, I found myself joining his altMBA (session #8) in early 2017, which was quite early on and friended people I still speak with every single week. In many ways, Seth is a teacher who’ll always be incomparable and irreplaceable. Turns out, it’s the case with most people who follow his work.

In 2018, I decided to make Feisworld’s first docuseries called “Live Your Art”, the intention behind doing all of that work is to show other people – especially first generation immigrants, workers, students – that they can do it too! Make their own film, tell their stories, look awkward on screen, and learn new things and feel like an idiot and proud of themselves at the same time. That’s really what I’m going for.

Among 12 guests who appeared in our docuseries, Seth Godin was one of them.

Feisworld Docuseries Trailer

Seth was very kind to accept our invitation. My production team and I drove from NYC to Hastings on Hudson to interview Seth. Since we chose to use a small segment of each of the recordings, my podcast producer Germán and I thought, how wonderful it’ll be to share the entire conversation with Seth on Feisworld Podcast, in episode 200.

Seth’s favorite one liner: Go, make a ruckus!

My favorite of his: Embrace emotional labor, dance with fear.

Learn more about Seth Godin:

Show Notes

  • [08:00] You are very successful, while at the same time most people are able to relate to your work and your journey. Is that intentional?
  • [09:00] Could you describe the concept of enrollment and why is that important?
  • [11:00] What was the goal behind altMBA and why did you create that?
  • [13:00] Do you still dance with fear these days? Can you comment on emotional labour?

  • [14:00] What do you still struggle with, and how do you overcome those?
  • [15:00] How do you manage to write a blog post every single day? How did you decide to do that?
  • [16:00] When did you start blogging?
  • [19:00] What was the transition to podcasting like for you?

  • [21:00] Your podcast audience is very diverse, was this on purpose?
  • [23:00] One of your quotes is ‘ I’m not special, you are’. What’s your reasoning behind it, and how does that relate to altMBA?
  • [24:00] What does it mean to be missed when you are gone? Can you share some ideas behind your Linchpin line of work?
  • [28:00] Can you share some thoughts behind your latest book This is Marketing. How did that come about? How did you craft some of the ideas behind it?

Favorite Quotes From Seth Godin on This Episode

In my head, when I’m trying to write a blog post or a book, I’m visualizing someone like you. This person, they don’t necessarily believe in what I believe, want what I want, and certainly don’t know what I know. How can I bring images and stories to the table that helps they go where they always wanted to go.

My work isn’t to repeat what I did yesterday, cause I already did it, it’s there. My work is “there’s this other place where people want to go, here’s another thing I can do that might not work, here’s the interaction with someone I’d rather not have, that’s what we do when we do our work now. We don’t dig ditches, we have to do emotional labor, volunteering showing up where the work is emotionally difficult, because we want to help somebody.

So the hard part is that I made a decision 18 years ago to write a blog post everyday. That was hard. Ever since then, I’ve just been doing that thing, same way I made a decision to brush my teeth everyday.

Everyone has overcome some obstacle. Everyone has done difficult work for someone else. And if I can honor that, and shine a light on it, it’ll encourage people to do it more. So I honestly believe that getting up in the morning and showing up when you don’t have to, that’s special.


Favorite Podcast Interview of Seth Godin (Conducted by Krista Tippett From on Being)

Some Books by Seth Godin (Fei’s Recommendations)

Good news: even if you don’t normally read physical books (or have time for them), most of these books are available on Audible, read by Seth Godin.

What to Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn)

From Amazon: I THINK WE’RE WASTING THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME.This is an urgent call to do the work we’re hiding from, a manifesto about living with things that might not work and embracing tension when doing your art.

From Fei: it’s in full-color, very energizing. This may be the only book done this way by Seth Godin. I picked up this book when I first started freelancing in early 2016. It instilled the confidence and taught me how to think about uncertainties in a whole new way.

This is for you if: you are in transitions (life or career).

Linchpin (Are You Indispensable?)

From Amazon: This life-changing manifesto shows how you have the potential to make a huge difference wherever you are. 

From Fei: I began reading this while I had a full-time job. The book became a trigger for me to realize how I could transition from full-time to freelance, in an unexpected way. Not that you have to do the same, but the insights from this book will benefit you “wherever you are”.

This is for you if: you want to optimize your work as an employer or an entrepreneur.

Tribes (We Need You to Lead Us)

From Amazon: The New York Times, BusinessWeek, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller that redefined what it means to be a leader.

From Fei: In my opinion, this is a sister book and a nice compliment to Linchpin (above). You truly can be a leader wherever you are. “Tribes” gives you ideas and applications to be a leader, or to be a better leader. The book isn’t about showing off big brands who appear to “have already made it”, but Seth gets to the bottom of the smallest tribes that make big differences.

This is for you if: you want to be a leader, a better leader, and start building a tribe around your idea and business.

The Icarus Deception (How High Will You Fly?)

From Amazon: In Seth Godin’s most inspiring book, he challenges readers to find the courage to treat their work as a form of art

From Fei: The book has a really cool name (I thought). Then I found myself listening to it twice on Audible, gathering new gems as each minute went by. This is the book that really challenges a lot of what we think we know, and what learned since childhood. The book helps condition us to reexamine our reality and find courage to try new things and ways of thinking.

This is for you if: (and when) you realize you’ve got untapped potentials, and you’ve been hiding from what your life truly ca be.

The Icarus Deception (How High Will You Fly?)

From Amazon: Demonstrates the need for companies to develop innovative products, services, and techniques that consumers will seek out, and provides examples of successful marketers in today’s changing economy.

From Fei: One of the first books I discovered by Seth Godin, and oldest book from this list of recommendation. Published in 2003 (and translated into Chinese in 2009), Purple Cow was the first book of its kind. Readers and corporations that embraces the book and the ideas of marketing thrived.

This is for you if: you are new to marketing and want to learn more about what makes an idea, a brand, a product stand outt.

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