Seth Godin

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Seth Godin
Seth Godin in 2009.jpg
Godin in 2009
Born (1960-07-10) July 10, 1960 (age 55)
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Tufts University
Stanford University
Occupation Author, entrepreneur, public speaker

Seth Godin (born July 10, 1960) is an American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker.


Born in Mount Vernon, New York, Godin received his high school diploma from Williamsville East High School in 1978 before graduating from Tufts University with a degree in computer science and philosophy. Godin attended Camp Arowhon where he was a canoe instructor, to which he often refers in his writings. Godin earned his MBA in marketing from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.[1] From 1983 to 1986, he worked as a brand manager at Spinnaker Software.[1]

After leaving Spinnaker Software in 1986, Godin used $20,000 in savings to found Seth Godin Productions, primarily a book packaging business, out of a studio apartment in New York City.[2] It was in the same offices that Godin met Mark Hurst and founded Yoyodyne. After a few years, Godin sold the book packaging business to his employees and focused his efforts on Yoyodyne, where he promoted the concept of permission marketing.


Godin argues that the end of the "TV-Industrial complex" means that marketers no longer have the power to command the attention of anyone they choose, whenever they choose. Second, in a marketplace in which consumers have more power, he thinks marketers must show more respect; this means no spam, no deceit and a bias for keeping promises. Finally, Godin asserts that the only way to spread the word about an idea is for that idea to earn the buzz by being remarkable. Godin refers to those who spread these ideas as "Sneezers", and to the spreading idea as an "IdeaVirus." He calls a remarkable product or service a "purple cow", an idea which he developed in his book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

Advertisements on television and radio are classified by Godin as "interruption marketing" that interrupt the customer while they are doing something of their preference. Godin promoted the concept of "permission marketing" where the business provides something "anticipated, personal, and relevant".[3]

Business ventures[edit]


In 1995, Godin launched Yoyodyne, which used contests, online games, and scavenger hunts to market companies to participating users. In August, 1996, venture-capital firm Flatiron Partners invested $4 million in Yoyodyne in return for a 20% stake.[2] Over one million viewers visited the site, and the companies America Online]], American Express, H&R Block, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Sony Music, Sprint, and Volvo have used its services.[4]

At Yoyodyne, Godin published Permission Marketing: Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers.

In 1998, Godin sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo! for about $30 million[5][6] and became Yahoo's vice president of direct marketing, a position he held until 2000.[7]


In March 2006, Godin launched Squidoo, a community website that allowed users, called "lensmasters," to create pages (called "lenses") for subjects of interest.[8] The site donated 5 percent of the profits to charity, and 50 percent to the lensmasters.[9]

Godin and Squidoo were profiled on CNN and in the Washington Post,[10][11] while the website was given top prize in SXSW's community/wiki category.[12] In July 2008, Squidoo was one of the 500 most visited sites in the world.[13]

On August 15, 2014, Godin announced that Squidoo was acquired by HubPages, and stated that the aim was to relocate some of Squidoo's content to its new home at HubPages by October 1, 2014.[14]

Other projects[edit]


Godin developed the idea for ChangeThis, a website aimed at spreading ideas through PDF files.[15] In the summer of 2004, Godin hired five interns—Amit Gupta, Catherine Hickey, Noah Weiss, Phoebe Espiritu and Michelle Sriwongtong—to build and develop the website.[16] The website went live on August 14, 2004.[17] Tom Peters, Chris Anderson, and Guy Kawasaki all had manifestos featured on ChangeThis.[18] In July 2005, ChangeThis was turned over to 800-CEO-READ, a distributor of business literature in the United States.[19][20]

Six month alternative MBA program[edit]

In December 2008, Godin announced in a blog post that he would be offering a six-month alternative MBA program at his office in Hastings on Hudson, NY.[21] 48,000 people looked at the post and 340 applied. He invited 27 applicants to his office for a group interview. They spent two hours interviewing one another. After further discussion, they and Godin together wrote down the names of their favorite candidates. Three weeks later the nine chosen applicants came to Godin's office.[22] This group graduated in July 2009.[23]

Stop Stealing Dreams (what is school for)[edit]

In February 2012, Godin released a 30,000 word manifesto on Squidoo in response to the question "What do you think we ought to do about education?". This manifesto is "totally free to read, share, translate, print and, most of all, use to start an essential conversation".[24]

The Icarus Deception[edit]

In June 2012, Godin launched a new project—an experiment in crowdfunding a published book. Instead of approaching his publisher for his next book, The Icarus Deception: Why Make Art?, Godin launched a Kickstarter campaign.[25] In the first week, he raised more than $250,000 from readers, which in turn secured him a book contract with his publisher.[26]

Startup School[edit]

In October 2012, Godin started a podcast on the Earwolf network. In the weekly podcast he guides thirty entrepreneurs through a workshop exploring how they can build and run their dream business.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Godin and his wife Helene live in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, US with their two sons.[28]


As of April 27, 2014, Godin is the author of 17 books: Tribes and Linchpin are his two best-selling books, while Free Prize Inside was a Forbes Business Book of the Year in 2004.[29][30] Additionally, during its first two years of release, Purple Cow sold over 150,000 copies in over more than 23 print runs.[31] The Dip was a Business Week and New York Times bestseller.[32][33] In the early 1990s, he created a 10-book series for children titled Worlds of Power, which was written by various writers. Each of the book's plots is based on a video game and are written in a novelized form.[34]



In May 2009, Godin's Seth's Blog was ranked in the AdAge Power 150 as the number 1 marketing blog out of the 976 tracked. [35]


  1. ^ a b Rivera, Jeff (August 25, 2010). "So What Do You Do, Seth Godin, Author and Marketing Guru?". Mediabistro. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Kuntz, Mary (September 9, 1998). "Entrepreneur Profiles: Point, Click--And Here's The Pitch: Yoyodyne uses prizes to get you to read those online ads". BusinessWeek. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Yahoo! to Acquire Yoyodyne Earthweb News. October 12, 1998.
  5. ^ Junnarkar, Sandeep. "Yahoo to buy Yoyodyne". CNET News. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Yahoo Acquiring Yoyodyne October 12, 1998.
  7. ^ "Speaker: Seth Godin". Business Week's "Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age". Special Libraries Association. June 18, 2008. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ Eric Enge Interviews Seth Godin on Stone Temple Consulting. June 20, 2007
  9. ^ Clear Blogging: How People Blogging Are Changing the World and How You Can Join Them. Springer. 2007. p. 290. ISBN 978-1590596913. 
  10. ^ Wong, Grace Make Money with Squidoo CNN. February 10, 2006
  11. ^ Squidoo Washington Post. January 8, 2006.
  12. ^ Squidoo Honored at 10th SXSW Interactive Web Awards on Viget Labs. March 14, 2007
  13. ^ Traffic Details: on Retrieved July 18, 2008
  14. ^ "Seth Godin’s Squidoo Acquired by HubPages". SearchEngineWatch. August 19, 2014. 
  15. ^ ChangeThis
  16. ^ ChangeThis FAQ ChangeThis.
  17. ^ ChangeThis Is Now Live Seth Godin's Blog. August 14, 2004.
  18. ^ Whatever Happened to ChangeThis? Seth Godin's Blog. "We featured authors as diverse as Tom Peters, Amnesty International, Chris Anderson, Hugh Macleod, George Lakoff and Guy Kawasaki."
  19. ^ ChangeThis Returns on 800-CEO-Blog. July 1, 2005
  20. ^ Progressive "ChangeThis" Under New Stewardship on bnet. September 12, 2005
  21. ^ If you could change your life... blog post by Seth Godin
  22. ^ The Apprentices Forbes magazine. April 27, 2009
  23. ^ "Graduation Day". 
  24. ^ The Stop Stealing Dreams blog post by Seth Godin
  25. ^ This Might Work . . . Godin Blog June 18, 2012
  26. ^ Author Godin Draws Readers "Giving Readers a Say," Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2012
  27. ^ Seth Godin's Startup School
  28. ^ Seth Godin on Stepping Up and Making it Happen
  29. ^ Jerod Morris (25 April 2014). "The Best of Seth Godin on Copyblogger". Copyblogger. Copyblogger. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  30. ^ " Business Book of the Year". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-01-20. "
  31. ^ Hogan, Ron (2005-05-16). "How to Succeed in Business (Books)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2014-01-20. "...reports that the two-year-old title has more than 150,000 copies in print after 23 printings"
  32. ^ Business Week Bestseller List: October 8th, 2007
  33. ^ New York Times Bestseller List: June 8th 2007
  34. ^ People (magazine), July 30, 1990, "Worlds of Power" series review by Ralph Novak
  35. ^ Todd Andrlik; Charlie Moran. "AdAge Power 150: A Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs". Advertising Age Magazine (Crain Communications). Retrieved May 12, 2009. #1: Seth's blog (as of access date: exact number tracked and their rankings are updated daily) 

External links[edit]