I had my first podcast interview this week, and have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My friend Stephen Cross ( @stephencross ) emailed me and this fellow Andy Traub ( @andytraub ) saying something like ‘Andy, meet Jason. Jason, meet Andy. Andy - you should have Jason on your podcast about Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, because he is one.’ Quite a thing to have someone say about you - but Steve’s a great guy like that. Andy went to my site, posted a nice comment on one of my posts and invited me on the show. This triggered a few things.
First, I had to read the book.
I’d read his previous book Tribes and had heard lots about Linchpin but hadn’t picked it up yet. Off to Books on the Square on the East Side in Providence. I started reading the book and also downloaded the first few episodes of the podcast and really enjoyed both.
The book itself is really a bit slippery when it comes to categorizing it. The focus on ‘art’ (whatever it is that you do) and being passionate about it and making it the gift you give every day could lead you to dump it in a pile of other self-help books. But it’s a whole lot more than that: it’s as much about running a business and how you go about your work as it is about how you conduct yourself in your personal life. He ties making your art to giving it to the world: Art just isn’t art until it’s seen and appreciated. That might be a well-crafted latté or a great report or an amazing new logo for a client - or it could be the note you left for your wife when you had to leave in the morning before she got up. But until that gift is received, it’s just practice. That’s where ‘shipping it’ comes in.
We all know the story: it (whatever ‘it’ is) isn’t quite ready. It’s not perfect yet - just need a little more time on it. It’s not a great economy so I shouldn’t try to start this now. I can’t put up my website because it’s not perfect yet (yes, I’m hassling @pjmoore_1 about this). Nothing is ever perfect, and every artist could add one more brushstroke, but there’s also a time when it just has to go. Get it out, move to the next idea. Even if that next idea is something to go back to on the first one and iterate. But ship it. The simple act of setting the goal or date will help you do it faster.
All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable, well-written book that can have an immediate effect on you and how you live your life if you are open to it doing so. I know it did for me.
I won’t repeat everything I said in the interview, but I will mention a couple of other things that were triggered by this invitation and reading the book itself. I shipped. A lot. I got more done in a week or two than I had in a long time, and I’m happy to say that some of the first things I shipped were for my wife and family: fixing some leaky pipes, a whole bunch of lingering issues on our Subaru (brakes, O2 sensor, belt, wipers, light bulb, cracked windshield, inspection, detailing - most of it done by me), redesigned my own site and SHIPPED it (in about 3 days). There’s more, but those are some standouts. The marvelous effect about shipping something is that it frees you to move on to the next or focus on another task without the mental baggage of ‘unfinished business’ hanging around. It’s very freeing and ultimately leads to even better focus on what’s at hand.
So buy the book. Read the book. And - if you’re so inclined - have a listen to the podcast. There are some great people on there (with shorter episodes!) so please poke around. Andy himself is a great guy and an excellent interviewer and host. I came away from our conversations feeling like I had been talking to a good friend almost immediately. I think you’ll enjoy his work.