Josh Linkner, a bestselling American author, CEO and speaker, will take a big step into the world of business leadership conferences next month.
On February 9, Linkner will formally announce the launch of a series of one-day leadership conferences and a corresponding website with content from business leaders around the world, Crain’s Detroit Business said.
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His new company, Fuel Leadership LLC, will hold its first event at the MotorCity Casino Sound Board in Detroit on April 13, with two events in the fall at U.S. cities yet to be announced, the report said.
Speakers include Mark Fields, the CEO at Ford Motor Co.; retired basketball star-turned-businessman Magic Johnson; retired U.S. Navy commander and author Michael Abrashoff; author and entrepreneur Seth Godin; and actress Jessica Alba, who co-founded The Honest Co., a maker of eco-friendly products for babies expected to have an initial public offering this year that could hit $1 billion, the website said.
Linkner, a co-founder of Fuel Leadership, said he wants to put on six to eight events in the U.S. next year and build up to 30-40 in the U.S. and abroad over the next five years, the report said.
“We’ll be over the top. It will be like a rock conference. People will walk out with their jaws dropped, ” said Linkner.
In 2010, he, Brian Hermelin and Quicken Loans Inc. Chairman Dan Gilbert co-founded Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage social media, IT and Web companies. Linkner was CEO and managing partner of the firm until he stepped down in November to devote more time to his speaking and writing career, Crain’s said.
Linkner’s 2011 book, “Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity” and last May’s “The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation” made the New York Times best-seller list and led to a speaking career, the report said.
Linkner said those speaking engagements took him to a lot of business conferences, both one day and longer. He said their generally poor content inspired him to put on his own conferences, the website said.
“There’s an 80-20 rule. Twenty percent of the content is good, the rest is poor to fair, ” he told Crain’s. “We’re going to give people the tools, techniques and networking they need for leadership. The need for events like this is higher than ever, but the process stinks. I want to flip it on its head.
“If there wasn’t a need for leadership training, it wouldn’t be a multibillion market. There are a lot of old-school boring events. We’re going to be the gold standard. TEDx is the standard for interesting general information topics; we’ll be the gold standard for business leadership”, he said.