SETH GODIN has written fourteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Everyone has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.
American Way Magazine calls him, “America’s Greatest Marketer,” and his blog is perhaps the most popular in the world written by a single individual. His latest book, We Are All Weird, calls for the end of mass and for the beginning of offering people more choices, more interests and giving them more authority to operate in ways that reflect their own unique values, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project. His recent Kickstarter for his newest book (The Icarus Deception out in January 2013) broke records for its size and the speed that it reached its goal.
As an entrepreneur, he has founded dozens of companies, most of which failed. Yoyodyne, his first internet company, was funded by Flatiron and Softbank and acquired by Yahoo! in 1998. It pioneered the use of ethical direct mail online, something Seth calls Permission Marketing. He was VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo! for a year.
His latest company, Squidoo.com, is ranked among the top 125 sites in the US (by traffic) by Quantcast. It allows anyone (even you) to build a page about any topic you’re passionate about. The site raises money for charity and pays royalties to its million-plus members.
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PETER DIAMANDIS is the Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation (www.xprize.org), which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight, the Foundation is now launching prizes in Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy, and Education.
Diamandis is also the co-Founder & Executive Chairman of the Singularity University, a Silicon Valley-based institution teaching graduates and executives about exponentially growing technologies and their potential to address humanity’s grand challenges.
Diamandis is coauthor of the New York Times best-selling hardcover book Abundance—The Future Is Better Than You Think (www.AbundanceTheBook.com) which was #2 on the NYTimes List and #1 on Amazon.
Diamandis has founded or co-founded many of the leading entrepreneurial companies in this sector including Zero Gravity Corporation, the Rocket Racing League and Space Adventures. He also counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives.
Dr. Diamandis attended MIT where he received degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D. Diamandis’ personal motto is: “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!”
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Already considered a quintessential maven of modern-day marketing, Gary Vaynerchuk is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author as well as a self-trained wine and social media expert. In high school, while working at his family owned liquor store, Gary started reading The Wine Spectator among other wine books and realized collecting wine offered an allure similar to his previous hobby of collecting baseball cards. With a newfound wealth of knowledge, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a clear recognition of the emergence of e-commerce in 1997, Gary launched Winelibrary.com and helped grow his family business from $3 million to $45 million by 2005. Although Gary does not consider himself to be a ‘techie’, in 2005, he began video blogging and established himself as a true social media trailblazer. Gaining nearly 1 million Twitter followers, Gary was included in BusinessWeek’s list of the “top 20 people every entrepreneur should follow.”
In 2006, with a flipcam and a NY Jets bucket, Gary began Wine Library TV which further revolutionized the wine world. His wine reviews soon attracted over 100,000 viewers each day and his die-hard fans nicknamed themselves “Vayniacs.” Gary’s cult-like following was the result of his unconventional, often irreverent commentary on wine. Using comical expressions like “Sniffy Sniff” and “The Oakmonster,” he encourages straightforward wine tasting and debunks wine myths. A business visionary, Gary also started CinderellaWine.com, a flash sale website that features one wine per day for 24 hours sold at a severely discounted price. He also started a monthly newsletter that gives readers access to the hundreds of wines he tastes and reviews each month off-camera.
Gary’s first business book Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion (October 2009) hit the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press Best-Sellers lists in its first weeks. It maps out Gary’s road rules for how to “Crush It” in today’s business market by following your passion and building your own personal brand. His second New York Times bestseller The Thank You Economy (March 2011), details the effect of social media on business and has become required reading for business leaders around the world. Gary’s next book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook will be released November 2013.
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Mention the word skateboarding and it often brings to mind images of kids in skin-tight pants sailing down death-defying slopes. Kids who don’t quite fit into the mainstream, and who like it that way.
The most famous skateboarder of all time, Tony Hawk, has turned an edgy pastime into a global empire. From video games to skateboards to online media to clothing to world tours, Tony has dominated the action sports market with his laid-back style. He is the most recognized action sports figure in the world and is one of the most recognizable athletes of any kind in the United States.
At age 12 he was winning amateur contests throughout California, at 14 he turned pro, and at 16 he was widely regarded as the best competitive skateboarder in the world. At 17 he was able to buy his first home and he soon traveled the world, skating demos and contests. Then, in the early 1990s, the sport of skateboarding died a quiet, but sudden, death. Tony’s income shrank drastically and times were so lean that he survived on a $5-a-day Taco Bell allowance.
But, Tony never gave up on the sport he loved. Confident that skating would rebound, Tony refinanced his first house and, with a friend, launched his own skateboard company, Birdhouse Projects. The first few years were rough: Birdhouse wasn’t making money, and Tony’s future was sketchy.
But, skating’s popularity returned and surged skyward, and the Hawk became the Phoenix. Birdhouse grew into one of the biggest and best-known skate companies in the world, and Tony signed a wide range of endorsement deals. He and his family started a children’s skate clothing company and Tony’s career came skyrocketed along with the sport. In fact, he provided much of the fuel.
He teamed up with Activision to create the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game franchise, one of the most popular game franchises in history to this day. His life would never be the same. In a stroke of good timing at the X Games, Tony also became the first skateboarder to ever land a 900, a maneuver that had eluded (and occasionally hobbled) him for 10 years. It was one of skating’s most gripping moments, playing out in front of a collection of his peers and fans, and on national TV. That exposure, along with his successful video game, helped establish Tony’s mainstream celebrity.
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