002: This Might Not Work: A Conversation with Seth Godin About Art [Podcast]

Note: I originally published this interview on my blog over a year ago, but because it was so good, I resurrected it to include with the launch of my new podcast. Enjoy!

Are you afraid to share your work with the world? Do you secretly worry if you created something that mattered, people would hate it? That's what making art is all about — and why I wanted to interview Seth Godin.

Seth Godin
Photo credit: Mike Allebach

It's not every day you get to interview one of your heroes. In this conversation with Seth Godin, I got to do just that. For 34 minutes, we talked about art, fear, and making a ruckus.

It was a lot of fun.

Listen to the interview

Art and the lies we believe

I've always wanted an excuse to chat like this with Mr. Godin. When I saw his recent book, The Icarus Deception, come out, I knew I'd found one.

The book is all about how we've been deceived into settling for less than we should — in our work, in our culture, and in the way we relate to one another.

The Icarus Deception is a call to resist the model of the factory, make better art, and create connections that matter.

In my interview with Seth, he mentions artists like Amanda Palmer, who raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter, and Shepard Fairey, whose once-free graffiti art now goes for tens of thousands of dollars. Each is an example of generosity, creativity, and how the world rewards art.

I also took this opportunity to ask Seth some things I've always wanted to ask (even taking a few questions from the audience). I hope you enjoy our conversation and that it gives you the courage to create your own art.

Interview highlights

We talk about:

  • What Seth is afraid of (yes, he actually has fears)
  • Why generosity wins (and where it comes from)
  • The book he'd recommend to his younger self
  • Whether or not artists should get paid for their work (and exactly how that works)
  • What makes Seth Godin go, “Sheesh!”
  • The name of his upcoming boy band (honest)

Memorable quotes

  • “We can't have an art factory.” [Tweet]
  • “We don't reward people who are wandering generalities.” [Tweet]
  • “Knowing where things are is worth more than the things themselves.” [Tweet]
  • “The only thing we want to connect to is art.” [Tweet]
  • “We have been brainwashed into flying too low.” [Tweet]
  • “I'm better off shipping than I am making it perfect.” [Tweet]
  • “The reason we read our reviews on Amazon is to beat ourselves up and to hide.” [Tweet]
  • “If I'm not saying to myself, ‘This might not work' … then I haven't pushed myself hard enough.” [Tweet]

Recent books by Seth + how to get a free copy

Seth actually has three new books out (one is a manifesto, another a companion piece, and the third a collection of blog posts). I recommend all of them. They are:

Seth Godin books
Seth's new books

I bought each of these and loved them. I encourage you to do the same.

Also, because I'm inspired by Seth's example of generosity, I will give away four copies of The Icarus Deception in the next 48 hours.

Here's what you need to do to enter:

  1. Leave a review of my new podcast on iTunes.
  2. Tweet a link to this article or like it on Facebook.
  3. Post a comment on this post answering the question below.

That's it! Good luck. I'll announce the winners on this page in 48 hours. (Contest ends on April 16, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. CST).

UPDATE: Gary Morris, Todd Brison, Pamela Black, and Walter Ruggieri have been selected as winners for this giveaway. Congratulations!

What's something you've done that might not work? Share in the comments.