My Key Insights

Win by being faster, more remarkable and human
The only way that you get what you’re worth is to stand out, exert emotional labor, be seen as indispensable and to produce interactions that organisations and people care deeply about.
Be human, connected, mature. Someone with passion, energy, capable of seeing things as they are, negotiating priorities and making useful decisions
As a Linchpin doing a job that isn’t getting done is essential.
Never say it’s not my job.
Every task you do is an opportunity.
The opposite of being a cog is to stop the show for a second.
Work for blessings – give gifts.
Why don’t we do it?
Fear of art.
Of being laughed at.
Of standing out and standing for something.
Real Artists Ship – Steve Job
write them down
Let people know your superpower
Mine: “Making things happen and enthusiasm catalyst”


You are a genius
– have you ever come up with a new solution?
– not always just sometimes, nobody is always a genius


You are a unique human being
– If you’ve got something to say, say it

The New World of Work

Every company needs linchpins – artists, geniuses who find new answers, a new connection, a new way to get things done.


A person worth finding and keeping.


People want to be told what to do, be given instructions for security.


2 choices
1) Win by being more ordinary, standard and cheap
2) Win by being faster, more remarkable and human


There are no longer any great jobs where someone else tells you precisely what to do.


Law of the Mechanical Turk
If you break down anything into tiny pieces it can be achieved almost for free – ie Wikipedia


It’s like building the pyramids, nobody can build the whole thing but everyone can lay one brick.


Standardise / Make things, people interchangeable


End of ABC job (attendance based compensation), we want people who make a difference


Hierarchy of value


The only way that you get what you’re worth is to stand out, exert emotional labor, be seen as indispensable and to produce interactions that organisations and people care deeply about.


Thinking about your choice


Exceptional insights, productivity and generosity make markets bigger and more efficient.


Who would they choose to replace you?
– Not someone who works more hours, more experience, or score better at a test
– but someone human, connected, mature. Someone with passion, energy, capable of seeing things as they are, negotiating priorities and making useful decisions


As a Linchpin doing a job that isn’t getting done is essential.
Never say it’s not my job.


Would your org be better if it was more obedient or artistic?


Indoctrination: How we got here


Intersection of 3 attitudes:
– Charm
– Perserversnce
– Talent


We ask someone to do something wacky or original and they change the tiniest surface element, instead of the root of a creative solution.
The Opportunity lies in changing the game, the interaction or even the question.


What should school’s teach?
– solve interesting problems (not questions google can answer)
– lead (open to connection, socially smart, understand elements that build a tribe)


Becoming a Linchpin


Linchpin is the essential element that holds part of the organisation together.


Painting, writing email and ppt – that’s the easy part anyone can do. It’s the art and insight and bravery of value creation that is rewarded.


Knowledge alone isn’t enough (Wikipedia everyone).
-> good judgement is key!


Good leader allows the team to figure out for themselves what they need to do not tell them what to do!


Your job is a platform for:
– generosity
– expression
– art
Every task you do is an opportunity.


– Figure out who you’re trying to please


Be a troubleshooter.


Create your own league, don’t just compete on that one skill that everyone has (and is measurable).


Make Emotional Labour your competitive advantage.
– connection
– gratitude
– friendliness


Be fearless – don’t be afraid of the things one shouldn’t be afraid of.


Linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds.


The opposite of being a cog is to stop the show for a second.
A pilot who walks through the aisle can make a kids day.
A doctor who really cares
Art is never defect-free, it never meets specs – that’s what makes it remarkable!


Work for blessings
– every interaction is an opportunity to give gifts
– emotional labour to contribute
– the chance to change anyone’s  outlook and brighten their day


Great jobs, world-class jobs, jobs people kill for – those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes.
A resume gives an employer everything to reject you.


Letters of recommendation
Sophisticated project see or touch
Blog that’s compelling
Google yourself


2 kinds of Linchpin
– Always say Yes – Invaluable
– Always say No – understands priorities, practical visionary, strength to disappoint now to delight later


Lean in
The business which leans on the problem the hardest wins
– pricing, service, enthusiasm


It’s all about posture/attitude.
The cog is standing by.
The Linchpin ready to jump into delight.


Work encouraging Linchpins
Money is not the only motivator
  1. Challenge and responsibility
  2. Flexibility
  3. Stable environment
  4. Money
  5. Professional Development
  6. Peer recognition
  7. Stimulating peers
  8. Good Job content
  9. Org culture
  10. Community and Location


Is it possible to do hard work in a cubicle?


Always apply Emotional Labour!


The gift is to the giver and comes back to him.


The act of being generous makes you rich beyond measure.
Successful people spread their ideas and help people all the time.


Touching someone
Being open is art.
Making connection is art.
Touch someone and make a difference in their lives forever.


Over time those gifts accrue and become your reputation.


You can’t make art for everyone.
Know your audience – who it’s for and who to ignore.


I’m wondering why we’re so easily able to expend emotional labor off the job, but uncomfortable expending the same energy on the job.
ie meeting at work vs a date


  • Optimism
  • Passion
  • Persistence
  • Resilience


Why don’t we do it?
Fear of art.
Of being laughed at.
Of standing out and standing for something.


The Resistance

Real Artists Ship – Steve Job
Creativity is an instinct to produce – Poet Bruce Ario


Artists don’t think outside the box, because outside the box there’s vacuum, no rules, no reality, nothing to interact with, nothing to work against.
You can’t ship if you’re far outside the box.


Artists think along the edges of the box, because that’s where things get done.


The discipline of shipping is essential on the long-term path to becoming indispensable.


Shipping something regularly, without hassle or fear – that’s a rare skill.


Problems of shipping








is the apparently productive brainstorming and tweaking we do for a project as it develops – gets more the closer to shipping date.


Involve people early!
Thrash early.
The later in the process the less changes should be permitted, the less people see it.




The more people in a project the harder.


  1. Limit people who are allowed to thrash (RAPID?). Formal ways of excluding people (even / especially senior). And you need secrecy – either surprise or be part of mediocre project.
  2. Appoint one person (linchpin) to run it. Her name on it. Her decision. No committee.




The Lizard Brain – hungry, scared, angry and horny
Fighting for survival, not the success.


Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because it’s lizard brain told it so.


Your mind consists of 2:
– Daemon – Genius
– Resistance – Lizard Brain


Lizard brain is here to keep you alive, the rest merely there to make you a happy, successful, connected member of society.


The resistence seeks comfort.
Discomfort brings engagement & change.


The people who break through have nothing to lose, so almost never a backup plan.


I’m doing this (angry, nervous, scared, horny) because of my lizard brain!
It will retreat in shame.


In forcing myself to remove all busy work i. between tasks, I’m fighting the resistance. Can’t avoid work, because the only thing I can do is work otherwise I look at a blank wall.
Your restless energy won’t permit you to just sit and do nothing.


Anxiety is the worst. Fear of a fear – completely fabricated.
We don’t often feel fear, if we do then it’s worth noting – what it usually is Anxiety.


The problem with reassurance is, it never ends.
Better to sit in anxiety, acknowledge it and let it go away.
Because it will go away – reality is the best reassurance and breaks the cycle.


…but people will laugh at me!
Has anyone really derisively laughed at you?
Even if they did they probs don’t remember your name anymore (highschool?)


A lot of work in short time. Get stuff done no distraction.
You can’t sprint every day, but you can really achieve something when you do – don’t be afraid.


  • Write down due date
  • Post it on the wall
  • Brainstorm ideas write everything down anywhere
  • Regularly read ideas out loud and keep reading
  • Capture ideas on a playground – write, draw, sketch, play
  • Get approval / sign-off which is final “if i deliver this on time on budget you will ship it?”
  • Reiterate if you must – Don’t start until you have a YES on the above
  • Start project – trash free! smash it!


Do you remember what you thought last week just before lunch?
write them down


The powerful culture of gifts


The very fact that gift giving without recompense feels uncomfortable is reason enough for you to take a moment to find out why.


Tribes have changed over time.
Your tribe used to be ~150 people and you would never charge them, now it’s just the closest family and work tribe.


Don’t expect reciprocity – just give because it feels good.


A gift always creates a surplus as it spreads (a trade doesn’t).


Artists don’t give gifts for money, they do it for respect and connection and to cause change.


Be aware of where your skills are welcomed – some people don’t want gifts, don’t want their day to be brightened.


Great work is not created for everyone if it was it would be average work.


Encourage gifts!
Thank you and…
… I told x what you did
… I loved the book
… can you teach me?


If you want to repay it do something difficult.
Not Money!
Standing ovation, tell them, tell friends.


There is no map


The linchpin understands that getting upset about events you can’t influence makes no sense.
ie. preso mic battery stops, projector light dies


When things don’t go as expected, don’t brood over it, don’t get stuck in your head.
Observe. Notice it. Adjust.
ie flipper half works on a pinball machine – you adjust or switch machine


Be able to let go anger/emotions. – discernment


Don’t get blinded by your attachment to the past/present and fear of the future.


Don’t start with tangled past, rather envision untangled future.


Ability to see the world as it is – always speak the truth.


Art is the act of navigating without a map.


Making a choice


Don’t ask for permission to do your job better – just do it!


Looking for things to react to
– meetings, checking emails, facebook are all just distractions for you achieving something


Working more hours
Working more hours will only help you to an extent – it’s about a balance of working and creating art / insights / value
= busywork


More Cowbell – Fun factor
Add the show, excitement, fun – do it like you mean it


Return in machines – ROI
Don’t work on a farm or slaughterhouse – machines are used to their full capacity, humans there to service


Learn your tools
Understand what you can work with, master it
Not being able to limits you, it’s a sin.


Big changes
Changes often happen like a hurricane, but we usually see them coming. We try to adjust incrementally, but sometimes you just have to leap.


Authority – can I make a change?
People won’t follow you because you ordered them.
Linchpins don’t need authority.
Real change rarely comes from the front line – often from the middle or back.
Real change happens when someone who cares steps up and takes what feels like a risk.


Match your passion to your job!
Not the other way – it’s much harder.


Drive for the future
Don’t nostalgia for the future trying to hang on to the past and not have it change too much
Have an itch for a different future one with radically different rules.


The Linchpin is able to invent the future, fall in love with it, live in it – and then abandon it on a moment’s notice.


Hope is stressful – Closure
You’ve fallen in love with a prescribed outcome (which is unsure) and you think that through hoping you can get it.
You can’t – give it up and start living.

Culture of Connection


Only genuine gifts matter – you can’t fake it.


Most important is figuring out how to project enthusiasm and get people to root for you.


7 Abilities of the Linchpin


They exert emotional labor and make a map


1) Unique interface between members of org


Work for the mission not money!
Zappos offers 2k for graduates finishing their zappos training to leave – stay for the right reasons!


Linchpin connects people in org.


2) Delivering unique creativity


You need to ship insights against your fear of rejection.


3) Managing a situation or org of great complexity


There is no map for such situations, linchpin can lead!


Mapmaking and clear judgment.


4) Leading customers


People who connect, everyone is doing marketing for the org.


5) Inspiring staff


Lead, don’t push.
Show that we’re here to make stuff happen, not to make money.
Instill the right attitude and culture.


6) Providing deep domain experience


Knowledge + smart decisions + generous contributions = Great combo


Mentoring is rarely about the facts but about transferring emotions and confidence.


7) Possessing a unique talent


Introduce your superpower
Mine: “Making things happen and enthusiasm catalyst”
It’s meant to come from something you choose to do, something you choose to give.


If I don’t know your superpower I don’t know how you can help me (or I can help you).


The challenge is to be a generous artist and knowing that it might not work.
Humility permits us to approach a problem with kindness and not arrogance.


When it doesn’t work


Learn, give more!


The challenge lies in knowing the market and yourself good enough – know the truth.
Choose your art!


Often get push back from boss – they are responsible, need to trust you.
Start with changes downstream, things you can change – juniors, customers, employees – if your insights and generosity pay off, you will get more leeway upwards.


Linchpin How to be Indispensable Seth Godin.jpg