Marketing expert Seth Godin addressed students of the Busch School of Business on Sept. 14, challenging them to find their origin stories in order to create a meaningful life.
Godin is an entrepreneur, speaker, and the author of 18 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes, and What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn). In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, Godin has also launched multiple companies, including Squidoo and Yoyodyne, which was later acquired by Yahoo.
Addressing a crowded hall filled with students, faculty, and guests of the University, Godin shared stories from his career journey, including his time working at Spinnaker Software under Bill Bowman, who is the current dean of the Busch School.
In his introduction, Bowman described Godin as a free spirit “trying to get all of us to lead, to change the culture for the better, and take responsibility for helping others to live better lives.”
While working at the company he had his first experience running a project — an experience Godin says, “changed my life.”
“My job was to persuade people who had a ton of projects on their plate to work on mine more,” Godin said. “I learned from that project how to talk to people about their journey.”
Since those early days of his career, Godin said he has found opportunities by thinking outside of the box and “going to places where I’m not supposed to go before I’m supposed to go there.” Sometimes his risk-taking led to great success. Other times, it led to failure.
“I have failed more times than anyone in this room and I’m proud of it,” he said. “The people I have met along the way have made it worth it.”
Godin said he chose to work in marketing because it’s a way of “influencing other people to make a change you believe in.”
“Marketing isn’t about selling more crap, or how do I get my factory more efficient so I can ship more stuff,” he said. “Marketing is about making things better by making better things and doing work that matters for people who care.”
Godin advised any students in the room pursuing careers in business or marketing to determine their own origin stories and decide what kind of person they want to be.
“It could be that you’re going to be the one who leads or maybe you can be the one who doesn’t take good notes and rolls your eyes a lot,” Godin said. “Maybe you can be the one who says, ‘How do I make things better for everyone else?’”