Poke the Box Q&A
Q&A with Seth Godin, author of Poke the Box
Published by The Domino Project
What does it mean to poke the box?
Conformity used to be crucial, fitting in not standing out. Compliance used to be the heart of every successful organization, every successful career. The reason? We all worked for the system, in the factory, doing what we were told. Now, though, compliance is no longer a competitive advantage.
Poke the Box is about the spark that brings things to life. We need to be nudged away from conformity and toward ingenuity, toward answering unknown questions for ourselves. Even if we fail, as I have done many times in my life, we learn what not to do by experience and doing the new.
This isn’t the same thing as taking a risk. In fact, the riskiest thing we can do right now is nothing.
I’ve had an extraordinary run, creating a dozen nationwide bestsellers, starting Internet companies, and giving speeches around the world. The key thing I bring to the projects I take on is not more talent than most (I don’t) or even more hours than most (hardly). My contribution is a willingness to poke, to start, to lean into the project and to get it out the door.
What will I learn from reading Poke the Box?
Hopefully you will learn a lot but do even more. Start thinking about when you’ve taken initiative in a way that really meant something to you and your team, your family. When was the last time you did something for the first time? How did it feel?
There are no step-by-step how-to instructions in Poke the Box. Instead, you’ll find a foundation for taking a different approach to your work. Instead of learning to be more compliant, I want to push you to be the one who takes initiative, to do the things you’ve been waiting (or afraid) to do because you want to be picked. Stop waiting, and pick yourself. That’s the goal of Poke the Box.
Why did you write this book?
I’ve been fortunate enough to hear from almost a million people over the years, to talk with CEOs and bosses and customers from around the world. And they all tell me precisely the same thing: it’s the motive force they demand, the person who will shake things up and move them forward.
Static is not an acceptable state. The status quo is no longer something we want at work or in politics or in any organization we care about.The market is just waiting for people to step forward. I wrote the book for those people, the ones who’ve been hesitating to take the leap.
Why did you start The Domino Project?
The Domino Project is my attempt at “poking.” It’s an independent publishing imprint founded by me and powered by Amazon. This is an opportunity to publish ideas committed to readers, rather than just to bookstores or publishers. It’s named after the domino effect—where one powerful idea spreads down the line, pushing from person to person.
I have two audacious goals: I want to change the people who read (not enough do), and I want to change the way books are published (they’re too hard to find and spread). I honestly believe that a book can change a mind like nothing else, and that’s our focus: to help anyone do work they’re proud of and to make a difference.
I partnered with Amazon so we could leverage what we both do best – Amazon is the leader in global distribution, multiple format production capabilities, and reaching people in the right way, and I want to spread powerful ideas to the people who want to read them.
For fifteen years, Amazon has been building an audience and gaining our trust. Many surveys identify them as the most-trusted new brand in the world. Now that Amazon is interacting with more people more often, they have a chance to bring those customers new ideas in innovative ways. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring ideas worth spreading to a huge and eager audience.
Who is Seth Godin?
I’m an author, entrepreneur, and a person who starts things.