Seth Godin’s initial ideas were rejected over 900 times.
Thirty different book proposals, to thirty different publishers.
But Seth had an idea he knew was worth spreading.
Warner Books eventually did pick up Seth’s first book, “Business Rules of Thumb”, in 1984. And the very week he handed in the final draft, Warner Books signed it’s newest author, Vanna White. The distraction of the beautiful and famous letter-turner resulted in meager marketing and paltry sales of the business book that hoped to be.
It took Seth the following five years to “figure out the book packaging business.”
During that time, it became clear to him that traditional publishing was a business about making money, not about spreading ideas. And so, he set out on a journey to make great ideas easier to find, share and spread.
This would become the catalyst for Seth’s latest endeavor, The Domino Project. Founded by Seth and powered by Amazon, The Domino Project takes its name from the domino effect—an initial powerful idea pushing down the line and spreading from person to person. It’s purpose is to give voice to stellar authors with brilliant ideas who might otherwise be left unheard–and to change the way their books are built, sold and shared.
The Domino Project was developed for readers, not bookstores. It is intended to help shine light on high quality ideas without modification to placate bookstores and middlemen. It’s about strong, no filler content delivered in a variety of formats, at a variety of price points to match audience desires. It’s about rapidly getting ideas into the hands of readers and allowing the system to evolve to meet readers’ wants and needs. This is how “publishing” should work today.
Seth says: “I have two audacious goals: I want to change the people who read (not enough do) and I want to change the way books are published (they’re too hard to find and spread). I honestly believe that a book can change a mind like nothing else, and that’s our focus. To help anyone to do work they’re proud of and to make a difference.”
In a TechCrunchTV interview, Seth discussed how our world has grown since the Industrial Revolution–how, over time, machines have gotten better and better, allowing us to accomplish things previously accepted as impossible. With the advent of the computer, and today’s accessibility to endless forms of free technology, we each have the opportunity to create something big–something important.
All it takes is initiative, which is what The Domino Project’s first (of three scheduled for 2011) manifesto, Poke the Box is all about. Poke the Box is a call to action to take initiative in your job or life–to start doing the work what we know we are meant to do.
The long road – overnight success
Over the past thirty years, Seth has experienced what can happen when one pokes the box–the successes and the failures–and there has never been a better time than today to fail. With the massive amounts of free and inexpensive technology at our fingertips, we can fail today with little to no investment. But taking those chances, taking that initiative, and failing “small and often” is what it means to poke the box and eventually create something big, something that changes the world.
I defy you to read Poke the Box, and not want to stand up, go, start, spark something to life. The world is ready. As Seth says, “People have the ability to make something that matters.”