“You have brillance in you, your contribution is valuable […] Only you can do it, and you must.” – Seth Godin. Let’s have a look at a journal designed to make your idea a reality.
Do you have a life-changing idea that you never followed up on implementing?
Do you have an idea that hatched years ago that you didn’t have the nerves to pursue because it’s not perfect (yet)?
Do you have a startup idea with no idea where to start?
Do you want to shake and to change the world with a bold creative act — but are secretly afraid to do so because it’s all been done before so you can’t contribute anything new or original?
Does the fear of judgement, failure, or success drive you crazy when you think of your creative or entrepreneurial side hustle?
Or have you started small — and remained small because your comfort zone was calling and you didn’t want to seem pushy, silly, or different?
If any of the above do sound familiar, you’re probably realising by now that you might not be all alone with it. And most certainly — you’re intelligent after all — have you looked for inspiration and advice left and right; surely you found many books written by seasoned entrepreneurs or successful creators to be as fascinating as helpful. However, when it comes to Your idea, Your plan, Your Big Thing, does the amount of advice seem even more overwhelming than whatever held you back in the first place?
Well, it was to me, and FOCUS sparked my interest almost instantly: step-by-step advice from a reliable source, and packaged as a beautiful piece of stationary.
In the following, I will explain what’s in it for you and how it can relate (beautifully!) to the struggles of sustainable industry start-ups, creatives or entrepreneurs.
Book Review: FOCUS
A Ship It Journal
From Seth Godin
Marketing expert — expert in the very traditional, exclusive, not in the ‘Insta bio’ kind of meaning, mind you —, blogger extraordinaire, published author, and entrepreneur Seth Godin is known for his groundbreaking concept of permission marketing, a method that helped shape today’s marketing industry and the social media world as we know it.
With FOCUS, he has conceived a workbook: solid advice put in step-by-step order, seasoned with useful prompts, helpful questions and pages of most intriguing design or with charts to fill, all created to help you get actually started, get focus and remove self-doubt. With just a hint of play.
The (note)book, described as a “blankish book” by the author, is pleasantly balanced: not too large (no overwhelm), not too thin (what good are thin notebooks anyway?). Measuring 20,6 x 13,5 cm, it comfortably fits into a business bag while still taking up enough place on your desk to stay noticeable.
The front cover is not attached to the block, and the kettle stitched book allows for comfortable writing, which showcases that printing experts were at work, for nothing is more infuriating for a stationary aficionada than a gorgeous journal with an awkward binding. Am I right?
The colour combo of pale purple/ pale blue with a flashy, bright, signal yellow creates a nice balance of promtping you and calming you down at the same time, which is also how a creative process works: you constantly dwell on the edge of “the flow, the flowwww” and “gack! send help!”
Is FOCUS utterly original and groundbreaking?
Probably not, unless you have never read anything related to idea frameworks and start-ups and design thinking.
What I love about this particular notebook is its ability to help me bring order into my ideas .
My process of ideation is basically bursting and sparkling and all over the place, and goes something like this: I will have an idea and then suddently three more thoughts on its distribution, and on who to talk to for input, and the implications, and two random visions of it becoming reality — so jotting it down is often really painful and very frustrating. I have read so many excellent books about start-ups and design and frameworks and marketing and getting stuff done and productivity and yadda yadda, but when it comes to tying all those bits of advice together, my brain goes into the dreaded “ah, blow that boring stuff, let’s have new ideas NOW!” mode.
Of course when we talk about ideas for me. When it’s client work, I rock it like a pro that I am. It’s my personal projects that channel the shy five year old. But I digress.
So, I even have a notebook filled with ideas only. There are 32 really well though-out ideas for products, and books, and apps, and I kinda sorta dig them all but found it so darn hard to choose just one to focus on.
Aaaah. THE word. Focus.
Although FOCUS looks like happy shiny Instagram material, it’s a serious book on shipping a great product.
The questions asked and the advice given is brief but very much to the point. FOCUS is a mirror that will show you your greatness and your fears — if you let it.
I think it’s a highly valuable workbook for anyone launching a product or a service in the sustainable industry as well. Be it a blog, a podcast, a YouTube show, an actual product or any kind of service, any of the above need structure in order to shine and to change the world.
Speaking of changing the world. Often it’s the sustainable crowd who thinks bad about marketing and stuff. But let’s be honest — in today’s world, a great product is a must to be successful, but it’s simply not enough to only create it. You must help people find it, fall in love with it, and sing praise about it! You must make it easy for them.
And here is one more excellent example for why I think “green” entrepreneurs and ethical creatives need focus/ and might need FOCUS:
What’s in it for ME?
This sounds like such a bad, bad question in the “green” world. We put others first, we put the planet first and we are wary if anyone who does claim otherwise.
But it’s not selfish, Seth says. It’s fuel. I totall agree.
We tend to think about others until it’s too late to think about ourselves. This is not ethical, kids. This is self-exploitation of the worst kind.
A fun, accessible way to (finally) create something larger than you anticipated. To unleash the creative beast in you. To deliver something really good — in a really formidable way.
Notable: interestingly, FOCUS is published not with a traditional publisher but with Moo, a London-based online print and design company.
A clever collaboration, for Moo addresses the creative and the start-up crowd with their highly versatile and stylish products from business cards to journals.
FOCUS notebook details:
– Printed on Swedish Munken Kristall paper, purple G. F. Smith paper in the middle of the book (the “purple cow” chapter)
– Swiss binding
– Durable cover with a stunning A. Durer print
Get your Seth Godin Notebook here (non-affiliate link)
FOCUS, A Ship It Journal From Seth Godin, MOO, 2018, is the success blueprint for those whose ideas were as big as their fears of failure until their fear of remaining mediocre started pushing them out of their comfort zone.
Full disclosure: reviewer’s copy used for this article.
The review is independent and not influenced in any way.