(born July 10
) is an American
author of business books and a popular speaker with appearances at Google, TED and a number of charities. His blog is one of the most popular blogs in the world. Godin popularized the topic of permission marketing
According to his biography, Godin's earliest fascination was with a short-wave radio his grandparents bought for him. In an interview with UXPioneers Godin recalls that talking to people without the use of wires felt like "magic."
At 14, Godin took his first steps into entrepreneurship printing Biorhythms at the local university and selling them for $30 each. At 16, Godin founded a ski club and took a group of 50-60 children to ski by his house in Buffalo every week. Around this time Godin is also known to have worked at a fast food outlet and in media sales.
Godin graduated from Tufts University in 1982 with a degree in computer science and philosophy. He later claims to have abused a major loophole in the system to skip difficult engineering classes in favor of philosophy. Godin earned his MBA in marketing from Stanford Business School. From 1983 to 1986, he worked as a brand manager at Spinnaker Software. For a time Godin commuted every week from California and Boston to do both his new job and complete his MBA.
After leaving Spinnaker Software in 1986, Godin became a book packager. 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, one of the first online marketing companies. It was with Yoyodyne that Godin came up with the concept of permission marketing. For a period of time, Godin served as a columnist for Fast Company.
Godin and his wife Helene now live in Westchester County, New York.
Godin combines three elements in his writings. First, 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, 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 ideas so spread as an "IdeaVirus
." He calls a remarkable product or service a purple cow
. Yahoo! currently has a model of a purple cow in the lobby of its Sunnyvale campus.
Advertisements on television and radio are classified as 'interruption marketing', which interrupt the customer while he is doing something of his preference. Godin introduced the concept of "permission marketing" where the business provides something of value to the customer and thus obtains his permission and then does marketing.
In 1995, Godin launched Yoyodyne, which used contests, online games, and scavenger hunts to market companies to participating users. The site gained significant traction, with over one million viewers visiting the site, and companies like American Online
, American Express
, H&R Block
, Procter & Gamble
, Sony Music
, and Volvo
using its services. It was here that Godin founded the principle of "permission marketing."
In 1998, Godin sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo! for $30 million and became its vice president of direct marketing, a position he held until 2000.
Godin developed the idea for ChangeThis, a website aimed at spreading ideas through PDF files. 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. The website went live on August 14, 2004. Tom Peters
, Chris Anderson
, and Guy Kawasaki
all had manifestos featured on ChangeThis. In July of 2005, ChangeThis was turned over to 800-CEO-READ, the leading distributor of business literature in the United States.
In March of 2006, Godin launched Squidoo
, a community website allowing users to create pages (called "lenses") for subjects of interest. 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
The site was given top prize in SXSW
category. As of July 2008, Squidoo is one of the 500 most visited sites in the world.
Godin is the author of 11 bestselling books; his Free Prize Inside
was a Forbes
Business Book of the Year in 2004, in its first two years of release, Purple Cow
sold over 150,000 copies in more than 23 printings. The Dip
was a Business Week
and New York Times
bestseller. And Godin has called his free ebook Unleashing the Ideavirus
the most "popular ebook ever written".
- Godin, Seth The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better. New York: Free Press.
- Godin, Seth (1995). eMarketing. New York: Berkley Pub. Group.
- Godin, Seth (1999). Permission marketing: turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers. New York: Simon & Schuster.
- Godin, Seth (2002). Survival is not enough: zooming, evolution, and the future of your company. New York: Free Press.
- Godin, Seth (2001). Unleashing the Ideavirus. New York: Hyperion. Excerpt online - Detailing the idea of Viral marketing
- Godin, Seth (2003). Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. Portfolio.
- Penguin USA Portfolio; Godin, Seth Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea. Portfolio.
- Godin, Seth All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World. Portfolio Hardcover.
- Godin, Seth; the Group of 33 The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable. Portfolio Hardcover.
- Godin, Seth Small Is the New Big: and 193 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas. Portfolio Hardcover.
- Godin, Seth The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). Portfolio Hardcover.
- Godin, Seth Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync?. Portfolio Hardcover.