Seth Godin – the American entrepreneur – is a business leader that I admire. I have been inspired by his entrepreneurial achievements, his writings and his colourful approach to business. He has had a practical impact on my entrepreneurial career.
In 2006, he co-founded and served as President of “Squidoo”, a community website allowing users to create pages (called “lenses”) for subjects of interest. Squidoo’s mission is to run an open, free platform that gives people a simple way to organize their interests online – and bring more human, curated, original content to the web. When one of the lenses does well, it earns a royalty for the writer or for charity. As of October 2012, Squidoo is one of the top 50 most visited websites in the US. Prior to Squidoo in 1995, Godin launched Yoyodyne, which used contests , online games, and scavenger hunts to market companies to participating users. In 1998, he sold the company to Yahoo! for $30 million.
As a creative entrepreneur, Squidoo has particularly impressed me. The website is simply a blank vessel and its charm has been defined by the creative energies that flow through – specifically via users creating content. Thus its meaning is not dictated, but rather created by the users. His business model harnesses and channels human creativity and this resonates with me.
In fact, the strategies that Godin and his teams used to deliver Yoyodyne and Squidoo feature in his writing, in particular:
- Spreading Ideaviruses – fashionable ideas that propagate through sections of the population, teaching and changing and influencing everyone they touch
- Tribe management – realising that what people really want is the ability to connect to people, not to synthetic entities like companies, thus tailoring the focus to delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps that find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about, i.e. it empowers the people within the tribe (the target market).
I read his blog every morning, and his teachings have had practical impact on both my business career and thinking. Through my current venture I am implementing a number of his marketing principles. In particular, I’m looking at how to get ideas to spread.
In terms of spreading ideas, one of his insights really resonated with me: target the customers with the ‘otaku’ – a Japanese word meaning ‘craving’ – for your service, i.e. the innovators and early adopters. These groups of people then take your cause and make it their own; they tell people and create structures to tell even more people, and this leads to a movement.
Finally, his blog inspired me to set up my own: www.dkarwa.com . My strapline is “Creativity. Entrepreneurship. Vision” and I can proudly state that Seth Godin has hugely shaped my thinking and knowledge in each of the three arenas.