Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Seth Godin Talks Out His Ass

His post "Where Do Ideas Come From?" is amusing in its lack of depth.
1. Ideas don't come from watching television.
Really? Why not? I've been inspired by CNN's coverage of Lebanon, by The Daily Show, by Babylon 5 and by Star Trek. I wouldn't be surprised if someone over at Parabasis right now is being inspired by The Walking Dead. (they'd better be, for all the ink they're spilling over it!)
20. Ideas don't need a passport, and often cross borders (of all kinds) with impunity.
What does that even mean? Yes, ideas can go wherever they want. If you tweet an idea, it can get re-tweeted infinitely. So?

Anyways, I could do that for the whole list, but you get the picture. The one thing that I like about Seth Godin and Seth Godin-like writers (I'm thinking of Mission Paradox), is when they break down the vast swathes of managerial science into short, actionable advice. It's very mantra-like and you can use or discard whatever you want, and often it's empty vessels for you to fill with your own experience.

But you look at a list like that one, and you wonder -- do any of the bullets on the list actually tell me anything about the nature of ideas? Or do they just make me feel better? Small business owners don't need a theraputic "mantra-a-day" calendar.

If you want to actually learn something about ideas, I suggest looking it up on Ted.com. Where, by the way, Seth Godin gives a pretty good talk about tribes, and another one about standing out. But where you can also find out where ideas actually come from, not as mysticism but as science:


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