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Are you ready?

You're more powerful than you think. The altMBA is now accepting applicants for its second class. The program is working. We're helping accelerate the impact people are making in the world, and I hope you'll forward this post to someone in search of transformation.

Are you ready to grow, to see, to be transformed?

One way to get to where you're going is to surround yourself with people on a similar journey. That's what I set out to create when I founded the altMBA, and it has dramatically exceeded all of my expectations.

This week, some extraordinary people are graduating from our first month-long intensive session, and the feedback from our inaugural class is even better than I hoped.

"The content is hugely applicable to so many different disciplines. I'm learning and growing at the speed of light, and it's very easy to see the changes within my peers as well. Honestly, this should be a mandatory for marketing graduates. Period."

-Kelli Wood

"Community feedback, peer support, shared beliefs in personal potential, and the right to pursue happiness make the altMBA a perfect place to prepare to leap. My creative confidence is growing immensely. This process confirmed for me that I could map out taking on a big project, stick to the plan, and have a completed product when I'm done with altMBA."

-Ryon Lane

“I literally feel transformed from each project. I have never experienced anything like this. I am surprised by the genuine personal connections. Seth talked about that as part of the MBA experience, but I didn’t believe that would happen in 30 days.”

– Chris Carroll

If you're ready for this sort of change, I hope you will check out this page profiling our graduates (the peer-to-peer interactions among our students are the most important part of the program). Then, check out this quick overview of what we've built and how it can help you get to where you're going. Here's the FAQ.

The altMBA is designed to transform professionals—to assemble a talented cadre of people and give them a platform to push each other to make real change happen. 

The biggest insight: it was a group effort. It's about the student-to-student connection, the reciprocal challenges of discovery and growth and quality that created an environment that worked. We are as good as the people we hang out with.

Applications are now open for the next session.

The altMBA is an important step in the evolution of online learning, but way more important than that, it's a huge step in how you develop yourself and your career.

There's a free informational audio webinar about the course, held tomorrow at 12 pm NY time, and archived if you can't watch it live. I think it may help you decide if this is the right opportunity for you.

We're selective in who is admitted, curating the class to improve its impact. Priority is given based on your work history as well as the date of your application. I hope this is something you'll consider, and I apologize if we're not able to admit everyone who applies.

In many ways, the altMBA is the culmination of much of what I've been teaching over the last two decades. I hope you can join in.

If you're ready for this, we're ready for you. Here we go.

“I’ll take care of it”

There are endless opportunities for people and organizations that can reliably and fairly take a problem off our hands.

"I'll take care of it," and I'll do it well, at least as well as you can, for a price that won't make you feel stupid. "I'll take care of it," and I won't come back to you when things go sideways, I won't ask for a bigger budget or more time, either. I won't have excuses ready to go, I won't stumble over the details, I won't point fingers. I'll merely take care of it.

It's not easy, but it's worth a lot.

Preparing for a shark attack

A shark attack is sudden, visceral and overwhelming.

And it's impossible to be a tough guy in the face of one.

The sheer terror of it overwhelms us, paralyzing us, helpless to do a thing about it.

And, most important, and easily overlooked:

Shark attacks are astonishingly rare.

It turns out that there's no useful correlation between the enormity of a hazard and its relevance to our lives.

The same thing is true of your project, your upcoming speech, and the meeting you're about to schedule.

Using the phrase, "shark attack" to describe the imaginary but horrible pitfall ahead is a good way to remind ourselves to focus on something else. Better to prepare for a hazard both likely and avoidable instead.

An alternative to believing in yourself

Of course, self-belief is more than just common advice. It's at the heart of selling, of creating, of shipping, of leadership…

Telling someone, "believe in yourself," is often worthless, though, because it's easier said than done.

Perhaps the alternative is: "Do work you can believe in."

Not trust, verification. Not believing that one day you'll do worthwhile work. Instead, do worthwhile work, look at it, then believe that you can do it again.

Step by step, small to large, easy to difficult.

Do work you can believe in.

“Because it has always been this way”

That's a pretty bad answer to a series of common questions.

Why is the format of the board meeting like this? Why do we always structure our annual conference like this? Why is this our policy? Why do we let him decide these issues? Why is this the price?

The real answer is, "Because if someone changes it, that someone will be responsible for what happens."

Are you okay with that being the reason things are the way they are?

Raising money is not the same thing as making a sale

Both add to your bank balance…

But raising money (borrowing it or selling equity) creates an obligation, while selling something delivers value to a customer.

Raising money is hard to repeat. Selling something repeatedly is why you do this work.

If things are going well, it might be time to sell more things to even more customers, so you won't ever need to raise money.

And if things aren't going well, the money you'll be able to raise will come with expectations or a price you probably won't be happy to live with.

When in doubt, make a customer happy.

[My exception: it pays to borrow money to pay for something (an asset) that delivers significantly more value to more customers more profitably over time. In the right situation, it's an essential building block to significance, but it's too often used as a crutch.]

[A different myth, re book publishing.]

In search of metaphor

The best way to learn a complex idea is to find it living inside something else you already understand.

"This," is like, "that."

An amateur memorizes. A professional looks for metaphors.

It's not a talent, it's a practice. When you see a story, an example, a wonderment, take a moment to look for the metaphor inside.

Lessons are often found where we look for them.

Shadows and light

There are two ways to get ahead: the race to the bottom and the race to the top.

You can get as close to the danger zone as you dare. Spam people. Seek deniability. Hide in the shadows. Push to close every sale. Network up, aggressively. Always leave yourself an out.

Or, you can do your work out loud, in public, and for others. Be relentlessly generous, without focusing on when it will come back to you.

In each case, the race to the bottom or the race to the top, you might win. Up to you.

The technology ratchet

Any useful technology that's successfully adopted by a culture won't be abandoned. Ever. (Except by top-down force).

The technology might be replaced by a better alternative, but society doesn't go backwards.

After books were accepted, few went back to scrolls.

After air conditioning is installed, it's never uninstalled.

Vinyl records, straight razors and soon, drivable cars, will all be perceived as hobbies, not mainstream activities.

This one-way ratchet is accelerating and it's having a profound effect on every culture we are part of. As Kevin Kelly has pointed out, technology creates more technology, and this, combined with the ratchet, has a transformative effect.

In a corollary to this, some technologies, once adopted, create their own demand cycles. A little electricity creates a demand for more electricity. A little bandwidth creates a demand for more bandwidth.

And the roll-your-own media that has come along with the connection economy is an example of this demand cycle. Once people realize that they can make their own apps, write their own words, create their own movements, they don't happily go back to the original sources of controlled, centralized production.

The last hundred years have also seen a similar ratchet (amplified, I'd argue, by the technology of media and of the economy) in civil rights. It's unlikely (with the exception of despotic edicts) that women will ever lose the vote, that discrimination on race will return to apartheid-like levels, that marriage will return to being an exclusionary practice… once a social justice is embraced by a culture, it's rarely abandoned.

Fashion ebbs and flows, the tide goes in and it goes out, but some changes tend to flow in one direction.

Bounce forward

When we hit an obstacle, sometimes the best we can hope for is to bounce back. To recover, to get through this and get back to normal.

But when our project hits a snag, perhaps we can consider using the moment to bounce forward instead. Being on the alert for opportunities, not merely repairs.

If we're spending our time and effort focusing on a return to normal, sometimes we miss the opportunity that's right in front of us.

Bouncing forward means an even better path, not merely the one we were on in the first place.

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