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Seth Godin to share words of wisdom Thursday - INTERVIEW

blog by Kathryn Przybyla  • 

“The safest thing you can do is take a risk.”

A scary concept to some, but overall great advice from one of America’s best marketers, Seth Godin.

Coming to Buffalo on Thursday at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center Auditorium, Godin will be here to talk about the transformation of traditional business models to the new “connection economy” that we’re witnessing, and specifically the opportunity that lies ahead for our city, according to the Ad Club of Buffalo. The event is sold out, but you can find out more information about it through the Ad Club of Buffalo’s Facebook page.

A former Williamsville East high school student, Godin had fond memories of Buffalo, with his mother even being a board member of the Albright-Knox.

We chatted with Godin prior to his return to Buffalo (did you know he is a former WNY resident?)—be sure to check out the interview below.

Tell us about one of the first project you worked on when you realized that marketing or becoming an entrepreneur was going to be your thing.

Seth Godin: Well I ran the Kissing Bridge Ski Club and that was really the first sign of being entrepreneurial. There’s this common misconception that entrepreneurs have this special quality that others don’t have. It let’s people off the hook. I just cared more about it than most of my peers did.

You’ve been described as “America’s Greatest Marketer”—what does that mean to you?

SG: It was just something used to sell magazines. I’m not even close. I helped redefine what marketing is. It’s not advertising and it’s not about tricking people.

What have you learned from projects that didn’t turn out the way you had hoped?

SG: Almost every project that I’ve worked on has failed. I’ve learned more from the failures than the success—like my laptop setting on fire during a sales call or 900 rejection letters in a row when I was in the book business. Failure is an event and it’s not a person. You figure out what you learn from it and you don’t do it again.

Who were some influencers and mentors when you were kicking off your own career?

SG: I’ve been very lucky with great heroes in my life. Growing up in Buffalo, I saw how musicians or “Harvey & Corky,” the founders of Miramax did it. There is a significant entrepreneurial culture there and I saw it first hand.

What has been your favorite book to write?

SG: Do you have kids? Because that would be like asking who was your favorite child.

Why do you think your blog has been so successful?

SG: I started early and kept showing up. I’ve been doing it for 10 years and I try to write things that people would want to share. Every time people hear about my books, it’s from other people and not from me. We’re hung up on what we’re saying—but it’s really about what others are saying and sharing about it.

Are you a fan of chicken wings at all?

SG: I’m a vegetarian, but I did get the original recipe from Frank back in the day when his wife and him were running the Anchor Bar. I’m forbidden to share it.

What advice do you have for young marketers and business professionals that are looking to make a name in the business?

SG: My advice would be to avoid quick advice. Understand that you need to be in a hurry, but take your time. Your chances to become an overnight success are low, but it’s all going to be ok.

Need more of a Seth Godin fix? Check out this extended interview with Bryan Elliott of “Behind the Brand”—talking about “The Icarus Deception.”

TAGGED: advertising club of buffalo, burchfield penney, entrepreneurs, interview, marketing, presentation, seth godin, williamsville east high school

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