Seth Godin

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Seth Godin
Seth Godin in 2009.jpg
Born(1960-07-10) July 10, 1960 (age 53)
Mount Vernon, New York
Alma materTufts University
Stanford University
OccupationAuthor, entrepreneur, public speaker
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Seth Godin
Seth Godin in 2009.jpg
Born(1960-07-10) July 10, 1960 (age 53)
Mount Vernon, New York
Alma materTufts University
Stanford University
OccupationAuthor, 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 graduated from Tufts University in 1979 with a degree in computer science and philosophy. Godin earned his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. From 1983 to 1986, he worked as a brand manager at Spinnaker Software. For a time Godin commuted every week between California and Boston both to do his new job and to complete his MBA.

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.[1] 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. It was with Yoyodyne that Godin promoted the concept of permission marketing originally developed by Perlstein.[2] For a period of time, Godin served as a columnist for Fast Company.[3]


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.

Advertisements on television and radio are classified by Godin as "interruption marketing" which 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".

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.[4] The site gained significant traction, with over one million viewers visiting the site, and companies like America Online, American Express, H&R Block, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Sony Music, Sprint, and Volvo using its services.[5]

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

In 1998, Godin sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo! for $30 million[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 allowing users to create pages (called "lenses") for subjects of interest.[8] The site donates 5% of the profits to charity, and 50% to the lensmasters. Godin and Squidoo have been profiled on CNN and the Washington Post.[9][10] The site was given top prize in SXSW's community/wiki category.[11] In July 2008, Squidoo was one of the 500 most visited sites in the world.[12]

Other projects[edit]


Godin developed the idea for ChangeThis, a website aimed at spreading ideas through PDF files.[13] 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.[14] The website went live on August 14, 2004.[15] Tom Peters, Chris Anderson, and Guy Kawasaki all had manifestos featured on ChangeThis.[16] In July 2005, ChangeThis was turned over to 800-CEO-READ, a distributor of business literature in the United States.[17][18]

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.[19] 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 co-mingling, they and Godin together wrote down the names of their favorite candidates. Three weeks later the chosen 9 showed up at Godin's office.[20] This group graduated in July 2009.[21]

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".[22]

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.[23] In the first week, he raised more than $250,000 from readers, which in turn secured him a book contract with his publisher.[24]

Startup School[edit]

In October 2012, Godin started a podcast on the Earwolf network. The weekly podcast follows Seth as he guides thirty entrepreneurs through a workshop exploring how they can build and run their dream business.[25]

Personal life[edit]

As of August 2013, Godin and his wife Helene live in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, US with their two sons.


Godin is the author of 15 books; Tribes and Linchpin are his two best selling books. Free Prize Inside was a Forbes Business Book of the Year in 2004,[26] in its first two years of release, Purple Cow sold over 150,000 copies in more than 23 printings.[27] The Dip was a Business Week and New York Times bestseller.[28][29] In the early 1990s he created a ten book series for children titled Worlds of Power, which was written by various writers. In each the plot of a single video game was told in a novelized form.[30]



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. [31]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Author Profile: Seth Godin". Fast Company. 
  4. ^ Point, Click, Here's the Pitch BusinessWeek February 9, 1998
  5. ^ Yahoo! to Acquire Yoyodyne Earthweb News. October 12, 1998.
  6. ^ Yahoo Acquiring Yoyodyne October 12, 1998.
  7. ^ Seth Godin on
  8. ^ Eric Enge Interviews Seth Godin on Stone Temple Consulting. June 20, 2007
  9. ^ Wong, Grace Make Money with Squidoo CNN. February 10, 2006
  10. ^ Squidoo Washington Post. January 8, 2006.
  11. ^ Squidoo Honored at 10th SXSW Interactive Web Awards on Viget Labs. March 14, 2007
  12. ^ Traffic Details: on Retrieved July 18, 2008
  13. ^ ChangeThis
  14. ^ ChangeThis FAQ ChangeThis.
  15. ^ ChangeThis Is Now Live Seth Godin's Blog. August 14, 2004.
  16. ^ 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 Kawaski."
  17. ^ ChangeThis Returns on 800-CEO-Blog. July 1, 2005
  18. ^ Progressive "ChangeThis" Under New Stewardship on bnet. September 12, 2005
  19. ^ If you could change your life... blog post by Seth Godin
  20. ^ The Apprentices Forbes Magazine. April 27, 2009
  21. ^ "Graduation Day". 
  22. ^ The Stop Stealing Dreams blog post by Seth Godin
  23. ^ This Might Work . . . Godin Blog June 18, 2012
  24. ^ Author Godin Draws Readers"Giving Readers a Say," Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2012
  25. ^ Seth Godin's Startup School
  26. ^ " Business Book of the Year". Forbes. Retrieved 2008-05-25. [dead link]"
  27. ^ Hogan, Ron (2005-05-16). "How to Succeed in Business (Books)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2008-05-20. [dead link]"...reports that the two-year-old title has more than 150,000 copies in print after 23 printings"
  28. ^ Business Week Bestseller List: October 8th, 2007
  29. ^ New York Times Bestseller List: June 8th 2007
  30. ^ People (magazine), July 30, 1990, "Worlds of Power" series review by Ralph Novak
  31. ^ 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]