Picture a particle accelerator. Picture a machine that takes something invisible and finds a way to convert it into something explosive, something that can light a city or change the way the world thinks about that invisible but essential thing. That's my picture of Seth.

I can't remember when I first met Seth. It's as if each meeting becomes that wild first impression, that feeling of "who are you?" that shakes the foundations of my assumptions about things. What I know is that I met Seth at the time in my life when I was doing what I feel is the most important work I can do. He has been one of Acumen Fund's most valuable and supportive advisors and partners almost since the beginning. And what he communicates to me each time I see him, is "Go. Do. It matters."

In a profession where it is so easy to be convinced that it doesn't actually matter, each encounter with Seth provides a needed push, an acceleration of my motivation to keep going. One wonderful moment I recall is when Seth met with us in 2006 about what a new website might look like. He talked about "flipping the funnel" and it all made perfect sense. But then, we went ahead and did what everybody else does - we built a website that aimed to catch people, instead of a gift basket of goodies that others could run off with and share.

What strikes me about this moment and so many that have followed is that Seth has stayed with us, trusting us to learn and grow even when we clearly couldn't always keep up or take the leaps he was showing us. And we have taken some of those leaps - we would be idiots not to - and have seen such exciting results, especially with our Triiibes-inspired online community. So picture a particle accelerator, but a patient one, with a smile that says "we'll get there." Thank you Seth, for keeping me going. And Happy Birthday!!!

 

So, what's my best advice? Build an asset. Large numbers of influential people who read your blog or read your emails or watch your TV show or love your restaurant or or or... Then, put your idea into a format where it will spread fast. That could be an ebook (a free one) or a pamphlet (a cheap one--the Joy of Jello sold millions and millions of copies at a dollar or less). Then, if your idea catches on, you can sell the souvenir edition. The book. The thing people keep on their shelf or lend out or get from the library. Books are wonderful (I own too many!) but they're not necessarily the best vessel for spreading your idea. And the punchline, of course, is that if you do all these things, you won't need a publisher. And that's exactly when a publisher will want you! That's the sort of author publishers do the best with.