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A non MBA with Seth Godin

Wow. I just woke up and read this. Awesome. I’m physically excited. My first thought is, apply, do it right now, immediately, without hesitation. Ok, reality check:

  • I have 6 months of expenses saved, I can afford it.
  • I could still spend 3 hours / day working on my own stuff.
  • How would I get a visa to remain in the US for 6 months?
  • I’d need to apply and be accepted!

It would be a huge commitment. I dreamed up a new project last night. One new customer per day. If I can find one customer per day for StraightPress, in 6 months, I’ll have a sustainable business. I was thinking to launch on 1 January, try to get a few other people on board.

There’s something about Seth’s focus that really connects with me. I’ve always been hesitant to fully engage with purely commercial projects. I’ve never felt quite … comfortable about it. Somehow like just making money was a little corrupt. I think I’ve managed to solve that within StraightPress by making our service available, for free, to non profits, charities, NGOs, and others.

Application deadline is 14 December. That’s 2 weeks. I have some time to consider. Anyone care to comment? Should I go for it? Either way I’m about to email the top 10 people I think would benefit from it. Now who are they? 🙂


Jonathan Hitchcock at 2008-12-01 16:03:48

Hey Callum, I can't over-stress how much I think you should go for it. I know what you think of Seth Godin (I think it was through your blog that I first really encountered him, and he's been quite an influence ever since), and this is a hell of an opportunity. I really think that ticking off the negatives is the wrong way to go about it: isn't too expensive (check), won't take up too much time (check), etc. Trying to overcome the reasons not to do something is just backwards: think how awesome it would be and see if there is any reason not to at least make the attempt. As far as I can tell, simply applying has no cost, so there's no reason not to do it. If you get accepted, you can decide whether to carry on, right? This is exciting - do it! Fingers crossed, -Jonathan

Roy at 2008-12-01 16:15:25

Just do it mate. Life's too short to pause at a "once in a lifetime opportunity". I'm thinking of applying myself (except I wonder what the wife will think of it!).

Callum at 2008-12-01 16:28:34

Roy, agreed. I've already opened the dialogue with Seth, I'll wait to see what he says. If he's open to possibilities, I'll most likely apply. If not, if he only wants US applicants, I'll suggest he add a note to that effect and see what happens.

Callum at 2008-12-01 16:13:44

Hey Jonathan, Agreed, focus on the positives. The one stumbling block appears to be the visa situation. I can volunteer in the US for 90 days as a British Citizen on the visa waiver program, but I'd need to leave after 90 days and it's not guaranteed I'd be re-admitted upon my return. I've asked Seth about that, his first response was that we'll have to pass. I've replied again, but it may be a non starter. We'll see. Either way, it's a great opportunity for others, so I'm happy to publicise it. Hopefully the uptake is sufficient that it goes ahead. Cheers - Callum.

Roy at 2008-12-01 16:48:22

Oooh, good point. You aren't even allowed to work for free on the VWP. And seeing that this program will get a lot of publicity I'm sure they'd want everything to be legit. You'd need to apply for a Q-1 visa perhaps ( Doable, but it'll be tight.

Callum at 2008-12-01 16:48:26

Ok, so the latest from Seth is that he doesn't mind, but he can't help with visas, embassies, etc. So we're on our own to get ourselves to New York and stay for 6 months. Looks like it might well be possible... :)

James Coutts at 2008-12-02 05:00:57

Hi Callum. Go for it - sounds good. What makes the visa thing possible? Jc.

Callum at 2008-12-01 17:49:37

@<a href="" rel="nofollow">Roy</a>: As I read the regulations, it's ok to enter the US to "do business" under the visa waiver program, but not to seek employment. The key test seems to be whether you'll be taking a job away from an American who might otherwise be paid for it. In this case, I don't think that applies. The position is completely unpaid, so in essence it's volunteering. The bigger question for me would be whether I'd be re-admitted after a short trip home. That's not so clear. I think I've heard of somebody who did that though. Left the US for a short period and then returned. It might need a little more research though. Applying for any kind of visa would be a non starter, as I won't get a decision until too close to the deadline I reckon.

Fergy at 2008-12-03 14:56:31

Sounds like a fantastic venture and definitely think you should go for it. Cross the visa bridge when you get to it...i'm sure something can be worked out.

Richard at 2008-12-02 20:18:08

Hey mate, For me, a much better option than an MBA. His business ethos is akin to yours (at least from what I've read of him). A gr8 seasoned sharpening block for what skill you want. Timeframe is v good, his criteria also means you'll be working with a small group of the willing, the experienced (more or less), and of a certain caliber. Don't know much about the visa but can't see why 6 months will be a big deal for a Scot.