Today I finished Seth Godin’s little book, The Dip. Here’s my commentary on the bits that affected me
And here’s a quick summary of The Dip
“Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point-really hard, and not much fun at all.And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you’re in a Dip-a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try.What really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated when it really counts.”
First up: when Seth is talking about overcoming obstacles he quotes Vince Lombardi: “Quitters never win and winners never quit” – god, I’ve heard that a million times especially at business events. But, Seth says “Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time”. Great piece of advice #1.
#2: when talking about becoming the CEO of a big company with all the fancy trappings Seth reminds us that its actually easy being the CEO. Whats hard is getting there, that’s the twenty five year career journey to be CEO; that’s the career dip. He says “there’s a huge dip along the way. If it was easy, there’d be too many people vying for the job and the CEOs couldn’t get paid as much, could they?”
#3: Failure / Tenacity – “Microsoft failed twice with Windows, four times with Word, three times with Excel. The entire company is based on the idea of slogging through the dip, relentlessly changing tactics but never quitting the big idea”
“Decide once and for all whether you’re in a market or not. And if you are, get through that dip” (if you’re actually in one!) “The market wants to see you persist. It demands a signal from you that you’re serious, powerful, accepted, and safe”
#4: “the time to look for a new job is when you don’t need one. The time to switch jobs is before it feels comfortable. Challenge yourself.” Personally I’m not feeling comfortable, I’m leaning into the dip, changing our enterprise to be better, stronger, and more impactful…I’m staying around for a while, but I’ll certainly take Seth’s advice if I ever do get comfortable.
#5: “Quitting when you’re panicked is dangerous and expensive”. I nearly quit early this year. Things were difficult. But, my friend Richard said something like “I dont think you’d be satisfied if you quit now, you’ll always wonder; ‘could I have made a success of that business'” He was right, I stayed, and I will make a success out of it (then I’ll have to re-read #4).
#6: Patience and perfecting the model. Seth tells the story of Google cofounder Sergey Brin who didn’t want people to start using Google as soon as it launched because he knew that Google would get better every day. He knew users impressions of the technology would be better when the product itself was better (it was a work in progress), so he was ok for people to start using Google tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day.
I’m sure if I read The Dip again, later down the line when I have different challenges or I’m in a different dip I’d come out with six different points, but these are mine for today, and they’ve helped me re-frame some things about myself and business, and this can only be a good thing.