Poke The Box Review

Mar 17th

I received this book in the mail.

It's nice to be sent books. And it's by Seth!

The book is called Poke The Box. It's about making a start. Seth encourages us to just jump in and do things. It doesn't matter if they go wrong, the important thing is to make the start. To break out of conservative patterns. It's a scatter-shot rant about the death of the industrial revolution, with Godin inciting us, over and over again, to take action.

Gotta say, I was a little disappointed by the book. It skates over the surface, didn't really hang together, and recycles some pretty tired themes. This review amused me.

Or maybe this book is the start of something else Seth has in mind. I don't know. Having said that, I think the central point of the book is valuable, and that is to.....

Start Something

Do you ever regret not buying a particular domain name? Or a particular site? Do you regret not having started a site in that niche that is now taking off? Do you ever feel you've missed the boat on affiliate marketing? Do you regret not going harder at SEO in the days when it was just that much easier?

I think a lot of us can relate. There are always regrets and missed opportunities.

We *could* have done some of these things. But, for whatever reason, we didn't. And we probably still find reasons not to make a start on things today. Chances are, we're going to regret not having started them when we look back five years from now, too.

Take Seth's advice, and just make the start on that thing you are thinking of doing.

Fail At Something

Often we don't start something because we're scared of failing. However, as we know, failure is a part of life. The old cliche about the only way never to fail is to never try anything - rings true.

In SEO, one thing that might be good to start, if you're not doing so already, is some simple testing. Buy a few cheap domain names, add a little content, and try to get the site ranking for some obscure keyword term. As you don't really care about the keyword term, you can remain focused on pure SEO. If it fails to work, it doesn't matter. In fact, that tells you something about whatever technique you were using.Throw a few links at it. What happens? Does this fail to produce rankings? At least you know who not to get links from in future!

This is something I've let slip lately, so I'm going to make a new start on it, too.

Do Something Worth Doing

Seth mentions Tom Peters, who wrote "In Search Of Excellence". Seth sees that Peters is frustrated, because people are hearing his message, without embracing the thinking behind it. Being excellent isn't about doing what working extra hard at doing what you're told, it's about making the leap and doing work you decide is worth doing.

Sometimes, the thing that enables us to keep going with a site is simply that we believe in it. Nobody else might be paying attention. The rankings are mediocre. No one is linking to it. But if we feel what we're doing is worthwhile, we're more likely to work through the rough patches when there is no other reward on offer. If we don't really believe in a project, it's hard to find the will to work through the inevitable challenges.

Summary

Well, I guess should just say "Go!" :)

Why not - today - start something new.

Published: March 17, 2011

Comments

March 17, 2011 - 9:11pm

Thanks for encouragement! we really should.

March 21, 2011 - 11:50am

I was re-reading the Purple Cow book recently.

Originally, I thought it was brilliant and inspiring.

Now one recession later, and all the practical business problems I had to overcome, it's easy to see it as fluffy nonsense.

I can't help but wonder how many of the people in that book were actually risking anything of their own.

It's easy to risk other people's money. It's different when it's the difference between having a roof over your head and losing everything.

But my business is growing stronger despite the recession, not because I looked to fluffy ideas, but because I looked to root in solid basic business principles.

I fear "Poke the Box" is going to be another of these fluffy ideas books, written about people who drift from one VC spend to another.

If you're going to appeal to me as a customer, Seth, I need to to stop pointing out how crap corporates are, because we can see that anyway - and doing so does not a better small business business build.

Instead, talk about business realities. That means measuring success with solid figures, not misleading %'s and glib statements.

In the meantime, I have a business to run.

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