Guru is the Sanskrit term for ‘teacher’ or ‘master’, and that is just what these five individuals are. They are masters in the fields of marketing and entrepreneurship who we can all learn from and whose stories inspire us to be our best possible selves.
1. Rand Fishkin
“Don’t conflate revenue with success, especially not long term. Many of the best things we’ve done have cost or lost money in the short run, but built a better brand over the years because of it.”
Rand Fishkin is the self proclaimed Wizard of Moz – Moz being the ubiquitous Seattle based software company specializing in inbound marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions. Rand Fishkin started building websites in the 90s while he was still in high school. He quickly entered the field of web design and development consulting where helped businesses in the Seattle area optimize the usability of their domains.
Fishkin dropped out of University of Washington in 2001 to eventually found Moz in 2004 after cutting his teeth in the major forums of the SEO world. He served as the CEO of Moz until 2013 and has since taken the position of an individual contributor. Fishkin’s story and insights serve as inspiration for young entrepreneurs and marketers all around the globe. Here he is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and here is his personal blog. Rand Fishkin is also the founder of inbound.org and has co-authored a pair of books on inbound marketing and SEO.
2. Dharmesh Shah
“Many companies have forgotten they sell to actual people. Humans care about the entire experience, not just marketing or sales or service. To really win in the modern age, you must solve for humans. Every process should be optimized for what is best for the customer—not your organization.”
Dharmesh Shah is the co-founder and CTO of HubSpot, the highly influential inbound marketing software company headquartered in Cambridge, MA. He founded the company alongside Brian Halligan in 2006 after earning an M.S. in Management of Technology from MIT. He was previously the founder and CEO of the software company Pyramid Digital Solutions.
Shah has also co-authored two books on inbound marketing and writes for and is the founder of OnStartups.com, a popular startup blog with over 350,000 members. Shah is a perfect example of the hard work and perseverance that is required for success in the marketing and business world. He offers valuable insight on marketing, business culture and entrepreneurship. Here he is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
3. Peter Shankman
“Loyalty is built on the little things that you don’t really notice when they’re present, but you do notice when they’re missing.”
Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur, angel investor and bona-fide all star in the realms of public relations, customer service, social media, advertising, and marketing. He is best known for founding Help A Reporter Out (HARO), the largest free source repository for journalists in the world. He is also the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, a social media, marketing and PR strategy firm originally based out of Shankman’s apartment in 1998. Shankman has advised clients ranging from Walt Disney World and Snapple Beverage group, to NASA and The US Department of Defense.
Shankman is currently the CEO of Shankman|Honig, a customer experience consultancy. He is also an adjunct professor of marketing at New York University and has authored four books. Clearly, Peter Shankman is an overwhelmingly impressive individual. If this description isn’t enough to inspire you, check out his award winning blog at Shankman.com for valuable advice and motivation. Here he is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
4. Neil Patel
“Don’t try to plan everything out to the very last detail. I’m a big believer in just getting it out there: create a minimal viable product or website, launch it, and get feedback.”
Neil Patel is a Seattle based entrepreneur, angel investor and analytics expert. He is widely known for his expertise in digital marketing and is the founder of analytics companies Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. Neil Patel has been lauded by Forbes as one of the top 10 online marketers in the world, and Entrepreneur said that he created one of the top 100 most brilliant companies in the world. Patel has even been recognized by Barack Obama as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under age 35.
Without a doubt, Patel is an expert in the field of digital marketing and is very confident in his abilities to generate traffic for your website (as suggested by the multiple ads on his blog). Patel also contributes content to publications like Entrepreneur and his insights are valuable to those interested in digital marketing, SEO and lead generation. Here he is on Twitter and LinkedIn.
5. Guy Kawasaki
“Want to change the world? Upset the status quo? This takes more than run-of-the-mill relationships. You need to make people dream the same dream that you do.”
Guy Kawasaki is considered to be the father of Evangelism Marketing, which focuses on developing exceedingly happy customers who freely convince others to buy and use a product purely out of brand loyalty and satisfaction. Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, a wonderful and easy to use graphic-design web application that helps you develop beautiful images (I used Canva to create the featured image for this post). He is also the former chief evangelist of Apple and a former Google advisor to Motorola for creating a Google+ mobile-device community.
Moreover, Kawasaki has authored ten books on multiple topics like database management, start-ups, salesmanship, marketing and social media. Guy’s marketing philosophy is based on the idea that people want to make the world a better place. Accordingly, if you provide a great product, your customers will spread their recommendations and recruit new customers on their own accord. Check out Guy’s blog for some feel good inspiration. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.