The author of over twenty books, inventor of the commercial email, and considered by many as the ultimate entrepreneur, Seth Godin is god to countless marketers and business owners. If you haven’t heard of him yet, here’s what you need to know about the great man and his successes.

Who is Seth Godin, and How Did He Get Started?

Born on July 10, 1960, in Mount Vernon, New York, Seth Godin finished high school in 1978 at the Williamsville East High School. He then proceeded to study computer science and philosophy at Tufts University. He completed his MBA in marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

While attending his MBA classes, Seth began work at Spinnaker Software in 1983 and lasted until 1986. With $20,000 of savings in his pocket, he started Seth Godin Productions. It dealt primarily with packaging books from his flat in New York City. It was during this time that he and his co-founder, Mark Hurst met and created Yoyodyne.

Why He Became Famous

In 1995 when Seth and Mark started Yoyodyne, it was primarily focused on using innovative ideas to promote their clients among their target demographic. This included creating games, holding contests, and online scavenger hunts to market companies to their users. 

Yoyodyne became big, prompting Seth to sell Seth Godin Productions to his employees. He wanted to aim his full attention to Yoyodyne and promote the concept of permission marketing

The following year, venture-capitalist Flatiron Partners invested $4 million into Yoyodyne for a 20% return. It shot into popularity as well-known brands such as Microsoft, Volvo, Sony Music, and Sprint started using their services. Two years later, Seth sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo! for a whopping $30 million as he became vice president of Yahoo’s permission marketing team.

Seth Godin has since started many other business ventures such as Squidoo, The Carbon Almanac, and Do You Zoom. He is also the author of numerous books, most of them bestsellers. He is also credited as the creator of the first ethical commercial email.

How Seth Godin Disrupted the Marketing World

Yoyodyne became a ground-breaking company by providing marketing services to big brands all over the globe. In 1999, Seth introduced the concept of permission marketing in his book with the same name. Permission marketing is a form of marketing that advertises goods and services when advance consent is given. 

seth godin on stage

Image Source: Inc. Magazine

It is considered a non-traditional approach as Seth believes that traditional advertising methods have become less effective today. Traditional marketing, also known as interruption marketing, does just that; it interrupts people. Consumers are bombarded with information, and with our attention span getting smaller, getting positive results from advertising can become difficult. 

Seth advocates for getting the consumers’ consent when showing them your advertisements. He lists the following as the basis of a business’ marketing strategies:

  • Anticipated – the viewers will expect the information about the product or service from the companies
  • Personal – the viewers will see information that directly relates to them
  • Relevant – the viewers will see information that they are interested in

In 2000, Seth wrote the e-book Unleashing the Ideavirus, which many consider the most downloaded book of all time. It is available for free download and has since been translated to over ten languages. Since then, Seth has written multiple books chiefly about marketing. 

What Products/Services/Brands Did Seth Godin Create?

Numerous authors, marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners look up to Seth Godin, and for good reason. He has done so much that his list of creations is quite long. Here is a shorter one:

books authored by seth godin

The companies he started:

  • Seth Godin Productions
  • Yoyodyne
  • Squidoo
  • Do You Zoom
  • The Carbon Almanac

The books he authored:

  • The Smiley Dictionary
  • eMarketing: Reaping Profits on the Information Highway
  • Permission Marketing
  • If You’re Clueless About Selling
  • Unleashing the Ideavirus
  • The Big Red Fez
  • Survival is Not Enough
  • Purple Cow
  • Free Prize Inside!
  • All Marketers Are Liars
  • The Big Moo
  • Small Is the New Big
  • The Dip
  • Meatball Sundae
  • Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
  • Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
  • Poke the Box
  • We Are All Weird
  • The Icarus Deception
  • V Is for Vulnerable
  • Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?
  • What To Do When It’s Your Turn
  • This Is Marketing
  • The Practice

His workshop and seminar:

  • The altMBA
  • The Marketing Seminar

Seth Godin’s Net Worth

seth godin in white background

Image Source: Seth Godin LinkedIn

Seth Godin has an estimated $50 million net worth. This comes as no surprise, as Seth has written over 20 bestselling books and given more than a thousand speeches to over 3 million attendees. He has over 700 thousand followers on Twitter and more than 300,000 on Instagram.

His marketing blog, Seth’s Blog, has more than 7,000 posts. More than a million readers and over 600,000 visitors per month. He is in over 200 podcasts and around a hundred interviews, speeches, and riffs on YouTube.

Fun Facts About Seth Godin

As with any successful celebrity, you can also find some interesting and fun facts about Seth Godin. Here are a few:

  • Yoyodyne got its name from the fictional character in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
  • Currently, Seth is the only person known to be inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame AND Marketing Hall of Fame
  • Seth once curated a children’s book series entitled Worlds of Power based on a video game
  • He hosts a podcast called Akimbo, which you can listen to on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Overcast.

Lessons We Can Learn from Seth Godin

With his extensive experience and expertise, we wouldn’t run out of lessons to learn from Seth Godin. Below are just a few of them:

Quality Over Quantity

“Key assertion: you don’t publish it unless it’s good.”

As busy as Seth Godin may seem, he still takes the time to write his blog. When looking over it, we should learn that it’s always about the content’s value rather than the amount. Although he has over 7,000 posts on his blog, we can see that quality indeed trumps quantity. To wit:

example of seth godin's blog

With only 93 words, this blog is short but sweet. It may be lacking in words, but indeed, it provides incredible value. The lesson here is to craft inspiring and insightful content. Doing so will pull in visitors, which can eventually convert to customers.

Boost Traffic

In his blog, Seth created a list of how to get traffic for your blog. It’s a 56-item list written way back in 2006 but is still relevant today. Below are some extremely useful points:

  • Use lists.
  • Learn enough to become the expert in your field.
  • Be timeless. Write posts that will be readable in a year.
  • Include polls, meters and other eye candy.
  • Include comments so your blog becomes a virtual water cooler that feeds itself.
  • Digest the good ideas of other people, all day, every day.
  • Edit yourself. Ruthlessly.
  • Write stuff that people want to read and share.

There are No Strict Rules

In Seth’s blog article mentioned above, it seems that he is contradicting himself. He tells us to “Have relevant ads that are even better than your content.” But further down the list, you’ll see him saying, “Run no ads.” 

What we can learn from this is that there are no strict rules and no single correct path when boosting website traffic. This is something that we can also apply to life in general. It’s up to us to discern what works and what doesn’t. 

Final Thoughts

After reading an entire article, one would hope that we could all answer the simple question; who is Seth Godin? As it turns out, the answer is not so simple. This guy is one amazing person; a marketing genius to some, and a passionate writer to many. He is a complex being that will never run out of surprises; someone worth following.