Linchpin – Seth Godin (Chapter 4: Becoming the Linchpin)

Types of organizations that don’t need Linchpins: “Organizations that are centralized, monopolistic, static, safe, cost-sensitive” (55)

In fact, these companies should look for the cheapest drones possible. But they shouldn’t expect to grow or have much customer loyalty.

“Today, if all you have to offer is that you know a lot of reference book information, you lose, because the Internet knows more than you do.”

However, Godin emphasizes the following point: “Depth of knowledge combined with good judgment is worth a lot.”

“Expertise gives you enough insight to reinvent what everyone else assumes is the truth.” (56)

Degrees of freedom – you have very few choices on a bus (get on or get off), a few more when you’re driving (which road to take), and infinitely more when you’re walking.

“In the face of an infinite sea of choices, it’s natural to put blinders on, to ask for a map, to beg for instructions, or failing that, to do exactly what you did last time, even if it didn’t work. Linchpins are able to embrace the lack of structure and find a new path, one that works.” (58)

Our society values being error-free (“Get nothing wrong and you get an A, right?”). The flaw in this approach is that art is never defect-free.

The problem with bowling is that it’s an asymptotic sport – the best you can ever do is get 300.

“Organizations that earn dramatic success always do it in markets where asymptotes don’t exist, or where they can be shattered. If you could figure out how to bowl 320, that would be amazing. Until that happens, pick a different sport if you want to be a linchpin.” (69)

“The only way to prove (as opposed to assert) that you are an indispensable linchpin–someone worth recruiting, moving to the top of the pile, and hiring–is to show, not tell. Projects are the new resumes.” (73)

Even if you are a linchpin, you often won’t be able to convince the standard HR establishments to make an exception for you. That’s fine. Your goal should be to look for companies that understand the value of a linchpin – companies that hire people, not just resumes.

“If you need to conceal your true nature to get in the door, understand that you’ll probably have to conceal your true nature to keep that job.” (79)

Groucho Marx famously said, “I don’t care to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”

The linchpin says, “I don’t want a job that a non-linchpin could get.”

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