Reflections on altMBA³

// 2.7 min read

It’s been three weeks now since the third session of Seth Godin’s altMBA intensive wrapped up, and I’ve deliberately refrained from writing any more about it (see my earlier reflections on week 1, week 2, and week 3 respectively) until I gave things some time to sink in and marinate a little. As February comes to a close, now feels like a good time to circle back.


In no particular order, here is my attempt to distill the major insights I’m taking away from the altMBA program into a list of concise, actionable “directives”1:

  • Use goals to create momentum. Don’t be held hostage by your goals though—it’s fine to revise and curate and adjust and change your mind along the way.

  • Make decisions rationally, whenever we have a say. When we don’t have a say, embrace the reality that irrationality is inescapable. Don’t try and set the world straight with logic.

  • Un-frame decisions and challenge constraints like your life depends on it. Hint: the rest of your life does depend on it.

  • Only say “yes” when you know what you’re saying “no” to. Don’t get crippled by fear of missing out either. Balance these forces using a “hell yeah, or no” mentality.

  • Notice quality, but take the time to articulate what makes it so. You’ll learn something, and so will everyone else.

  • Brevity rules. Make your point quickly, and use what’s left over to engage and connect and inspire.

  • Silence is often the most persuasive argument you can make.

  • Look for real power structures. Ignore reported ones. Find the right domino, push it over, and stand back.

  • Stealing creates originality. Borrow ideas deliberately and liberally to remind people of things.

  • Take stock of your resources, limitations, and the stories you tell both yourself and the world. Learn from what you observe, and then put it all back together in a way that benefits you.

If there’s one theme that runs through all of these insights for me though, it’s this…

No more excuses.

I now know that I possess all of the things I need—tangible or otherwise—to both start and finish any endeavour I put my mind to. At the start of the course, I think I knew this on an intellectual level, but I wasn’t living it. I couldn’t feel it. Now though, I’m beginning to feel this intuitively, and I know it’s only going to get stronger with time and practice.

Next: Coaching for altMBA⁴

The fourth session of the program starts tomorrow, and I’m excited to share that I’ve been invited to step into the role of coach for altMBA⁴. Witnessing the altMBA process from a completely new perspective is going to yield a whole new set of profound insights, and to say I’m grateful for this opportunity is an understatement.

This next wave of ruckus makers in altMBA⁴ are a truly incredible bunch, and I’m honoured to be able to play a part in their journey. I can’t wait to see what happens next. :smiley:

  1. Hat tip to this idea by Derek Sivers to focus on distilling things into directives. I really like the idea of this as a general practice, and it’s something I’m going to try and do more of in the future. 

Coby Chapple (@cobyism)

@cobyism—a.k.a. Coby Chapple is an autodidact, systems thinker, product architect, pixel technician, full-stack algorithmagician, multi-media maker, cryptography geek, aspiring linguist, and generalist Designerd™ extraordinaire. Read more »