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There’s an age-old and ongoing debate about whether entrepreneurship can be taught or if it’s something that people are born with. Having both been a serial entrepreneur, and a mentor and educator in entrepreneurship, I must admit that I go back and forth on this issue often. As a mentor and educator, I suppose I must firmly believe that entrepreneurship can be taught — and this is probably the subject of a much longer blog post or article. However, after being an investor advisor and mentor for over 10 years is more than obvious that some entrepreneurs simply possess the gene without ever having really studied or ever having a role model.

Nothing so reinforces the “natural entrepreneur” theory than when I travel to different parts of the country, and abroad – particularly when I travel outside the major business ecosystems such as Silicon Valley (or other major metropolitan area). Often I will encounter a small business person or entrepreneur (there is a difference) who, not only naturally displays the attributes and behaviors of a successful entrepreneur, but also comes up with a unique and brilliant approach that would make their Silicon Valley counterparts a little jealous.

A few years ago I snapped these photos from a book author who is also a street vendor on the boardwalk in Venice Beach California.

His simple approach was at once simple, humorous and effective – and decidedly low-tech marketing. He was not only selling a lot of books, but also his signage and himself were attractions for photo-taking tourists – who no doubt forwarded the photos on to friends – kind of a no-tech / low tech version of today’s sophisticated viral marketing techniques. Further reminding us that marketing (and entrepreneurial) brilliance lies in the approach and execution — not in the technology.

Written by CJ Cornell

CJ Cornell

Serial Entrepreneur. University Professor. Software Engineer. Media Executive. Venture Capitalist. Researcher. Marketer. Advisor. Mentor. Author and Speaker. Founded or co-founded nearly a dozen companies in software, digital media and television.

For the past few years I’ve been Co-Director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship and Professor of Digital Media & Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, and the university’s first full time Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Currently Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at New York Institute of Technology and Managing Director at Propel Ventures LLC.


One Response to Entrepreneurial Writer’s Marketing

  1. I was truly inspired and motivated by this posting. It has motivated me to continue my quest as a self-pub author and to continue to find ways to get my books read.


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