What Do You Own?

from Seth’s Blog

Small business is a resilient backbone of the modern world. Choosing to not simply be the day laborer or the gig worker, but someone who actually owns something.

You might own a permission asset–the right people, offering you their attention and trust. You might own a lease or a patent or some other form of property. And you might own a reputation, one that earns you better projects and a bigger say in what happens next.

More here.

Posted in Ideas and tagged , .


  1. In the article “What Do You Own” on Seth’s blog, the idea of ownership both physically and metaphorically is dissected. Although it is a short read, the article is very thought provoking, namely, to an individual who is looking to end up in the business world. “What Do You Own” parallels a lot of the life concepts that Professor Shannon discusses with his students in class, such as how to ‘own’ oneself. In other words, how to not be ‘that guy’ who blends in and is afraid to reach for their goals by stepping outside of their comfort zone; this comes with confidence. The article initially portrays this idea through the discussion of ownership of oneself, specifically “you might own a reputation, one that earns you better projects and a bigger say in what happens next”. With this, the article is not strictly speaking to individuals who are already at the top of the food chain in corporate America, but rather any individual who is ready to take the next step to greatness in their life. No matter where/what someone comes from, they have the power to own their reputation for the better or for the worse. In my opinion Seth’s blog post is trying to convey exactly that- a reminder that owning oneself will allow anybody to achieve the life they desire, by way of the reputation they create. Seth’s blog also talks about “what you can build on your way to owning even more leverage” after assessing what you already own. This statement looks at the more tangible side of ownership and expansion in the business world. Just because somebody achieves success it does not mean that they should stop there. It all goes full circle- that newfound success builds on their reputation and adds another aspect to their resume, however, there is always more to come. People should constantly be assessing what they have achieved and how that can get them to the next destination in their career, no matter what that career is.

  2. In response to Alyssa’s comment, what someone owns indeed is not only their physical objects. However, the article also touches upon one’s time and input they are putting in, whether it be into their career or elsewhere. The one thing that a human genuinely owns is time, and what they choose to do with that time is imperative. In the business world, the time one puts into their work will therefore (hopefully) bring the, the success and money they need to have to survive. The human’s use of time is what allows them their assets, because without putting time and effort into your work and commitments, one will gain nothing and therefore own nothing but their wasted time.

  3. After reading this rather short article, I sat twiddling my thumbs for some time trying to answer that question for myself. What do I own that adds value to me? Surely my Hydroflask water bottle might add a few dollars of value, but then again it has been dropped so many times that I doubt it is worth much. I have skills in public speaking, but what outgoing person does not? I have skills in excel and word, but anyone my age in a similar situation also has those same skills. I may be particularly gifted in my intellectual ability, but that again does not necessarily make me stand out. Anyone looking to hire me for a position has numerous applicants who are on the same level as I am. What do I own that makes me unique?
    Then, it dawned on me: I own the room. When I walk into a room, I walk with purpose. I sit with purpose. I speak with purpose. I am confident in my ability. Even if someone can do my job as well as I can, they are lacking in the confidence and charisma that I bring into these situations. If they are not lacking in those traits, then it is a fair race. In most situations where I have been in competition with someone, I have come out on top because I own the room. I make sure that the attention is on me in a positive way.
    Because of this, I not only own something that aids me in surpassing the potential of others, but I am able to build my reputation amongst others. My reputation far exudes my presence already because I have begun building my reputation since I began my college career at Seton Hall. In every situation, I have done my absolute best to walk into a room commanding attention, and it has paid off. I am constantly working on my reputation in order to better my chances of landing an internship and career in the future. I am goal-oriented and career-driven which allows me to focus in on what is important and to connect with people who will further my hire-ability.
    I want to be known as someone who owns a skill set for success as well as someone who owns the room. I want people to not necessarily know what it is about me they like so much, but to know that I am the best choice for whatever career I am going for. Owning the room is the key to that; owning the room commands respect and trust that would otherwise have to be built over long periods of time. Immediately, people can tell the difference between someone who owns the room and someone who is renting the room, and I will never be a renter.

  4. The brief article about ownership on Seth’s blog makes the reader ask themselves the best way to value their career. The term ownership is discussed both physically, and the evaluation of our behavior. We all own something; property, reputation, and as students, we own our education and the heavy financial burden that results from it. Seth’s blog wants the reader to evaluate how they can own something more valuable, leverage and time. In the business world, many resumes will look the same: college graduate, certain skills and just ordinary accomplishments. Many other applicants are going to have communication skills, writing skills, and be able to make a pivot table in excel. However, every applicant has different presentation abilities. Much like what Professor Shannon preaches, it is how someone presents themselves and behaves which allows them to own the room. This article mostly relates to younger individuals who are seeking full-time careers, but this mentality can apply anywhere someone is looking to take the next step in their life. By speaking with confidence, and behaving as the top dog, one can “own” other applicants for a job. By constantly speaking and acting as if you have control, over time you will eventually start attracting more ears. If you present yourself in any situation as someone with confidence, charisma, and commanding direct attention from those around, it is easy to become a leader and someone that people listen to. This builds up your personal reputation, where people see you as someone who own’s their attention.
    After addressing that speaking with confidence and making lasting personal relationships, an applicant or employee must show their worth. In the article, Seth brings up an Akimbo workshop employee who is not getting paid hourly, but instead for an equity stake in the product. This example ties back to the article on working for something that you believe is making a positive change in the world. By creating a scenario where you are paid for your worth, it drives you. By taking away someone’s guaranteed salary, and replacing it with equity in the product they are working on, it creates a workspace where that person wants to work and feels a difference in the product they are creating.
    Finally, just because someone gets a job, or achieves their version of success, does not mean they should stop commanding attention and acting with confidence. Life is tough, so by commanding other people and creating a ownership presence, you can actually make value out of everything you do and be a positive change in your own life.

  5. In the article, “What do you own?,” on Seth’s blog, a short but sweet piece is displayed. The article discusses how we all are kind of like a small business. We own things and we have things to offer, and depending on what exactly we own, we show how valuable we are. We can own a car, a lease, a phone; more physical things that we can have. However, we can also own things like our reputation, our actions, and other things that are not exactly physical. All of these things build up how people see us, and our “value.” Our inventory can also give us leverage. A person with more experience in a certain job field is more likely to obtain a job over someone with very little experience. To use this metaphor in furthering our careers, we must look at our own “inventory,” and reflect upon what we can do to increase this inventory to better our “companies.”
    When I think of Godin’s analogy of inventory, my mind immediately goes to a network. As one meets more people, they make more connections, and gain a reputation. Connections could be seen as physical inventory. They are people you have networked with who can allow you to possibly get jobs or other opportunities in the future. As you make more connections, and get more of a reputation, whether this be good or bad, your nonphysical inventory grows. Inventory and Networking go hand and hand, without them you will not be as successful as possible.
    As I read this article, I saw a lot of myself in it, more specifically, what I strive to be. As a business major, I strive to be successful in my career. I see myself working very hard to get to where I would like to be in my career, and hopefully getting high up in the hierarchy in the company that I work at. As a determined person with a good reputation, I feel as though my inventory is about halfway where I would like it to be. I have my reputation to be proud of. I feel as though I am a good student who has formed good relationships and connections. However, I feel as though I do not have much physical inventory, although this may not matter much in terms of getting ahead in my desired career path. I say that my inventory is only half full, as there is always room to grow. I have connections, a good reputation, and good relationships. However, I am only in college; and I have my whole life to live. My inventory will expand, in a hopefully positive way. I hope that I will make new connections, get a good job, and obtain more physical inventory.
    Once I build my own inventory, in the words of this article, I will be able to “ show up and get paid what you’re worth. Even better, so you can make a difference you’re proud of.” (Godin 5). Once I make more connections, I can get a better job, and be able to be rewarded for the hard work I have been putting into growing my inventory/network. This article really motivated me to grow as a person, expand my inventory, and be the best, most motivated person I can possibly be.

  6. The article discusses the importance of owning “stuff”. Rather than working for an hourly wage, people should sometimes acknowledge what they own and how they can use it as leverage. Treating ourselves as shopkeepers and what we own as inventory, the author asks us to evaluate how much money or value we would receive if we were to auction off our “stuff” to the highest bidder.
    I interpreted this article in a different way than it was perhaps intended to be. After reading the article, I see the author’s message to be one saying that we should figure out what kind of physical or mental leverage that we have that could be of value to someone in some way. For example, if someone is great with computers, his or her abilities would be valuable to a company who could use someone in their IT department. He or she should go around to different companies interviewing to see which one will give him the best “situation”: salary, benefits, etc. Once a position is accepted, he or she will build on those computer skills to improve them and leverage those even sharper skills into a better opportunity in the future: a bigger salary, more benefits, etc.
    Owning items, skills, or even knowledge can be snowballed over time to put someone in a better position than they were previously. Individuals must recognize how they can utilize “what they own” to better themselves for the long run.

  7. While this article is short, it speaks many volumes on the emphasize of “owning things.” My overall take on this article is to invest your time into things that have a greater return value than just a typical 8-hour work-day. Of course a nice paycheck is a great incentive, but if you’re working for a company that doesn’t invest in you, what are you really doing for yourself? Looking at the bigger picture of knowing your worth and not taking anything less than that is really what I think this article is about. For example, my friend owns a photography business, and she is constantly flooded with emails with people who are “looking for deals,” and while she is a great person, I constantly have to remind her to not “sell herself short.” Like this article, she owns this business, and takes great pride in the work she does. She produces work that people are happy with, so why cut yourself short just to help every Jack and Jill that approaches her? Owning your work, and knowing your worth is just as important as the physical paycheck itself. Like Seth mentioned at the bottom of this article, “That’s why we keep showing up. So that you can show up and get paid what you’re worth. Even better, so you can make a difference you’re proud in.” This is the ultimate take away from this article. As graduation approaches for me, I want to make sure I pride myself into a career that I can show off my talents, and really take pride and ownership in the work I produce.

  8. Seth brought attention to figuring out self-worth. At the end of the day we buy so many products throughout our lifetime that we focus on those items as being our worth. However we fail to see personality traits and our physical actions as being part of our value. Our self-worth comes from how we take ownership of our own life to become happy.
    We go through many stages in life that we change ourselves as we continue to grow older. For instance, the person we are in middle school, is not who we are when we are in our mid-20’s. We change based on our surroundings and the people we associate ourselves with. We need to be happy with what we have in our own life and if we are not happy then we need to figure out how to change it. Coming into college I was a shy person, who rarely stood up for herself. In my educational environment, I realized that in order to start my career and be happy with myself I needed to branch out. Beginning freshman year I utilized tutoring services, met with professors during office hours and learned to study. As a junior, I am in upper level classes still doing the same thing as freshman year but I have an internship lined up in the summer and my communication skills have improved greatly since high school. I took ownership of my education to help me build a foundation for a career that I will take ownership in.
    The article mentions small business owners as a strong backbone of our world today. They are the go-getters who invent new things and ultimately have a say in what happens with their own company. Many people would fall under the category of being employed by a business rather than being the employer. We all need to take ownership of ourselves and push to become employers of our own life. We all have something to share with the world, whether it be through community service, innovative ideas in the office or creating your own business. We all have something to prove, however it’s to ourselves that we need to prove it too.

  9. In another edition of Seth’s Blog, he is asking us what we own. This is another one of his straightforward and blunt passages that puts pressure on the reader. He is specially asking the reader what he or she has been doing to actively own something that can be leverage. Many people are very caught up on purchasing material possessions which is a huge problem. It does not make it any easier to get away from that culture with every major Hip Hop artist boasting about how much money they have, what cars they own, and all the other frivolous things that they have. The issue with these things is that not used properly can diminish everything you have worked for. Let us take buying a brand new car for example. Depending on the rarity and exclusivity of a car, a new car is only likely to depreciate in value. Now all you own is a terrible investment that you only lost money on. When you start putting your money into things like investments, you can start to see an actual gain on capital from just using your capital and not wasting it on dumb things. Lets now take a two family house for an example. You purchase a two family house and live on the top floor. You then rent the bottom floor out to a tenant who pays you rent every month. If the house is paid off, that tenant is make it so that you are nearly have housing for free because they are covering all of the costs and you get to save all of your money to expand on your empire and purchase another rental property. We must be constantly be finding a way to expand our grasp on life around us so that we have leverage like he is talking about. Let us imagine we have a couple properties now and want to send our kid to college. We may not have that kind of cash on hand to pay out of pocket, but we can leverage our property to pay for that education while still making the money and paying it off quickly.

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