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Don Katz, CEO of Audible.com on freelancing (and more)

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Don Katz at NJTech Meetup2“There’s nothing more entrepreneurial than being a freelance writer.”

-Don Katz, CEO and Founder of Audible.com, (a free-standing subsidiary of Amazon.com)

That, to me, was the most memorable quote from last night’s NJ Tech Meetup held at Audible.com headquarters in Newark NJ (a growing business hub minutes from NYC with amazing bandwidth and a new VC fund and accelerator, Newark Venture Partners).

It was one of many ways he answered the question Aaron Price (founder of NJ Tech Meetup) kept pressing him on: What did your wife say when at age 43 you decided to leave a successful 20-year career as a journalist at Rolling Stone to become an entrepreneur?

One of the reasons Katz decided to completely change his career was because he was tired of living the “lone wolf life” of freelance writing and wanted a more collegial environment. So he built one!

Another favorite Katz idea: Starting a company is like getting an advance to write a book. You have to have an idea that no one else has ever had and you have to persuasively argue its merits, which he had been trained to do as a journalist. The difference is when you start managing a whole lot of people. Nothing can prepare you for that.

And one more idea I will take to heart:

When he went to raise money in the late 90’s, he refused to refer to the legacy audiobook business as one he was proposing to fix. Instead, he positioned his business this way: Every day 93 million drive to work and spend 600 million hours in traffic. Their options don’t include much more than terrestrial radio. If we only penetrate X percentage at X dollar cost, this is how big the business will be.

“I got a lot of money,” said Katz.

(Full disclosure: I am a huge Audible fan and subscriber — I do almost all of my reading through my ears lately.)

And I wrote about more of the takeaways for the NJ Tech Meetup Blog. Read that now….

 

The post Don Katz, CEO of Audible.com on freelancing (and more) appeared first on The Marketing Mix.


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