Macomb-OU INCubator hosts best-selling author

By Natalie Popovski

On Sept. 5, local entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author Josh Linkner shared his story at the Macomb-OU INCubator.

Linkner is a Michigan native who invests in tech-based Michigan start-ups and also performs as a professional jazz musician.

According to Linkner, the creative aspects of his musical life contributed to his business career and became inspiration for his book “Disciplined Dreaming,” which he sold at the event.

“The creativity gap will determine the economic potential of every individual and organization in the years ahead,” Linkner said in “Disciplined Dreaming.” “You have to address this gap in your own life and organization if you plan to grow your career.”

The talk was part of the Fireside Growth Series, which is a sequence of talks that will take place during the course of the year at the Macomb-OU INCubator in Sterling Heights. Julie Gustafson, executive director of the INCubator, said the purpose of the series was to engage and motivate local entrepreneurs.

“It’s huge for us to have him (Linkner) here,” she said. “He’s one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the state.”

As he explained in the talk, Linkner began his business career building computers in his college dorm room and gradually progressed to website building. In 1999 he founded the Internet promotion company, ePrize, which is now a multi-million dollar company.

Since then, he has helped build four Internet-based tech companies and co-founded a venture capital firm for Detroit-based start-ups. The firm, Detroit Venture Partners, was co-founded with Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

“If we could all rally together as a community, we could bring Detroit back,” Linkner said.

In addition to telling the stories of his successes, he also brought up many failures and missteps that paved the road to his entrepreneurial success.

“Every entrepreneur goes through horrible moments, but the smart ones will use it as a teachable moment and build a reservoir of confidence,” Linkner said. “Entrepreneurship is never growing in a straight line.”

He finished his speech by saying that becoming a successful entrepreneur is extremely difficult, but negativity was exaggerated too often.

“The only way to overcome fear is to run straight at it,” Linkner said.