Godin Urges Entrepreneurs to Think Big

By Matt Glynn
The Buffalo News, N.Y.

If there is a point that Seth Godin drives home time and again about the world of startup companies, it’s that nothing is predictable.

What passes for conventional wisdom today is erased by the next breakthrough company. And the most successful startups are usually the ones no one saw coming.

“The startups that change everybody’s mind, the startups that are worth a billion dollars, are always a surprise,” he said Monday to an invited audience of 90 mostly young entrepreneurs.

So instead of copying ideas that have come before them, the Buffalo-born entrepreneur, marketing blogger and author urged his audience to embrace innovation in their quest for success.

Godin in 1998 sold direct marketer Yoyodyne to Yahoo for $30 million in stock, and he has written 17 business-themed books. He had a lively, wide-ranging discussion with venture capitalist Jordan Levy, a co-founder of the Z80 Labs high-tech incubator. Godin tailored his message to budding entrepreneurs, encouraging them to take risks while warning them of perils, the kind often rooted in misconceptions.

For instance, there was this lesson about selling a company to a publicly traded company: Be mindful that the personal promises you made to your employees might not hold up under new ownership. “Too many times, the boss’ boss’ boss changes the rules,” he said.

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