Being discovered – @thisisseth

A great reminder from Seth Godin. Everyone wants to be “discovered”, everyone wants to be an “overnight success”.

The reality is that you have to pay your dues, you have to work for years to reach the night over which your success happens. Jimmy Page (and, indeed, the recently departed Glen Campbell) were session guitarists before their fame. Hendrix, too, was a backing musician. Einstein was a patent clerk.

As Seth says:

The thing about being discovered is that in addition to being fabulous, it’s incredibly rare. Because few people have the time or energy to go hunting for something that might not be there.

The alternative?

To be sought out.

Instead of hoping that people will find you, the alternative is to become the sort of person these people will go looking for.

Read the rest, here.


Photo by Jaro León on Unsplash

Songs for Sovereign Professionals: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

We gotta get out of this place
If its the last thing we ever do
We gotta get out of this place
‘Cause girl, there’s a better life
For me and you

Just in case you’re stuck in salary-slavery, or need to remember why you ever left its cosy embrace.

You’ll be dead before your time is due
I know it
Watch my daddy in bed and tired
Watch his hair been turning gray
He’s been working and slaving his life away

We Gotta Get Out Of This Place was a 1965 single from The Animals and it subsequently appeared on their second album, Animal Tracks.

This 1965 TV performance has a bonus appearance by a young Dr. Duckie Mallard, or is it Ilya Kuruakin? I get them so confused.

Even allowing for the cheesiness of 1960s TV, the band manages a commanding, moody performance.

Tools and kit – the A4 Lihit Lab Teffa Bag-in-Bag

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference.

I needed a sleeve to provide a little extra padding for my laptop and the Teffa Bag-in-Bag from Lihit Lab is ideal. It’s constructed in tough black nylon (or orange or lime-green, if you prefer) and has a handy array of pockets on the front.


The internal dimensions are a generous A4 size (33.5 x 25 cm to the edge of the lining and about 40.5 cm across the diagonal) which easily holds my 13″ laptop. The pockets were a bonus for me but make the bag versatile enough that I’ve occasionally used it on its own as a portfolio.

And, let’s not get overly-anoraky. It cost just £10 (since increased to £11.53), including free postage from Japan. I’d have paid twice as much or maybe more to get the right solution.

Lihit Lab’s own website is an auto-translated delight, which offers the following additional selling points:

  • “There is a lid for fall prevention in a pocket with a gusset. (When not using a lid, it can be harvested inside the pocket.)”
  • “A main pocket opens in “letter of KO” big by the double zipper.”
  • “Even if it’s dropped with a cushion of POINT 4 2mm Atsushi, I’m relieved.”

Mercifully, you can also buy it from Amazon, here.

I originally found the Teffa Bag-in-Bag in this review on The Well-Organised Desk. It shows a different use-case and a more detailed review.

Songs for Sovereign Professionals: Loser

This is a personal inclusion. The song doesn’t relate too closely to the concerns of the Sovereign Professional … other than in the refrain:

I got no chance of losing this time.

Ignoring the irony and the narrator’s self-delusion, of course.

The song first appeared on Jerry Garcia’s 1972 solo album, Garcia, but I heard it on the Grateful Dead’s 1981 album Dead Set. That was a long time ago.

One of the first job interviews, sometime in the 1980s, required me to travel and stay overnight, then catch a bus the next morning to my prospective employers. I was nervous as hell. It was a country house hotel and, in those pre-internet days, the first glimpse I had of the hotel was from the end of its long, winding drive. And, it felt right. And, I felt good. And, that refrain was in my head.

Here’s the Dead from 1983 …

And the album:

Incidentally, that cover, more than anything else made me want to see San Francisco. The back cover has an almost mirror image, but showing a view over Manhattan and Brooklyn.

A maker of tea bowls

Raku Kichizaemon XV is the fifteenth grand master of the Raku family. He traces his line back 450 years to Chōjirō, founder of Raku, who made the original tea bowls for Sen no Rikyū, originator of Japan’s tea ceremony.

In a corner of his studio, in crumbling sacks is his raw material; clay, stored by his forefathers over 100 years ago.

Kichizaemon, in his turn, lays down clay for his descendants.

Eschewing the labels of “artist” or “potter”, Kichizaemon says he is simply a chawan’ya, a maker of tea bowls.

How’s that for a sovereign professional role-model? A clear and simple understanding of the value he adds, and the vision to plan generations into the future.

Here’s a clip from BBC Four’s excellent series, The Art of Japanese Life, describing the wabi-sabi of one of Chōjirō’s original, simple tea bowls. (I’m struggling to embed the video in any sensible, visible way, but the click-through seems to work.)

And, here’s a YouTube clip from in which Kichizaemon describes his work. It’s strangely compelling.

More here, from the website.

Conventional wisdom is a common language of sorts – something that helps us communicate. At the same time, it’s similar to stopping our thought processes. Everyone agrees this is the way things are; nobody questions it. And nobody peers into the depths behind those things to question them.

Raku Kichizaemon XV


Image: The Met Museum