Josh Linkner

Joshua M. "Josh" Linkner (born July 28, 1970) is an American entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and author. He founded several companies including ePrize, an interactive promotion agency, where he served as CEO and Executive Chairman.[2][3] Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Gwendolyn Bounds noted that ePrize is targeted at small businesses that don't have the resources to do this type of marketing themselves but cautioned that the service is not of the pay-per-sale type.[4]

Josh Linkner
Joshua Morgan Linkner

(1970-07-28) July 28, 1970 (age 51)[1]
Detroit, MI
Alma materUniversity of Florida
OccupationEntrepreneur, author, jazz guitarist

Since 2010 Linkner has served as CEO and Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners, a venture capital firm helping to rebuild urban areas through technology and entrepreneurship. Detroit Venture Partners' portfolio includes DJ app Rockbot, mobile app developer Detroit Labs, and CAPTCHA replacement company Are You a Human.[5][6][7] General partners of Detroit Venture Partners include Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr.[8] On September 1, 2014 Linkner became a partner of High Level Marketing, a Michigan-based digital marketing agency.[9] On November 4, 2014 Linkner announced he will step down as CEO of Detroit Venture Partners to focus on a speaker and author career.[10]


Linkner was born to a Jewish family and believes that "being Jewish gives you a leg up....As Jews, we have a rich legacy of resiliency, a rich heritage of overcoming odds, We don’t make excuses."[11]

Linkner has published four books, the first Leaning Forward: Surviving/Winning in the Future of Interactive Marketing in 2007,[12] a New York Times best-seller Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity in 2011, in 2014 a New York Times best-seller The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation, and in 2017 Hacking Innovation: The New Growth Model from the Sinister World of Hackers.[13][14] In Disciplined Dreaming he states that the original thought and imagination of jazz performance (in his particular case, playing guitar with his jazz ensemble Guymon Ensley Quintet) are transferable skills for creating value in the business world.[13]: ix  [15] GetAbstract said the book provides "a clear, methodical guide to developing creativity".[16] His third book, The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation, was published May 7, 2014.[17][18]

He is a regular writer for Fast Company,[19] Inc. Magazine,[20] and Forbes.[21] Linkner was one of the speakers at TEDx Detroit in September 2011.[22]

Josh Linkner at The White House Champion of Change awards, August 18, 2011

On August 18, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama gave Linkner a Champion of Change award in the youth entrepreneur category.[23][24] He won an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award in the Realizing Business Potential category for Central Great Lakes Region in 2004.[25]

Linkner studied jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music,[13]: ix  was an Advertising major as an undergraduate at University of Florida,[26] and holds honorary doctorate degrees from Lawrence Technological University[27] and Walsh College.[28] He is also Entrepreneur-In-Residence and Adjunct Professor of Applied Creativity at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.[6][29]

On August 30, 2013, Linkner wrote a column for the Detroit Free Press suggesting that Labor Day be retired, repurposed, and renamed Appreciation Day, Passion Day, Kindness Day, or Give Back Day.[30]

In an interview with Vanna Le of Forbes magazine, he stated he was optimistic about growth in high technology and innovation in general, with the exception of social media.[31]

In a 2014 article in the New Yorker magazine, Harvard historian Jill Lepore criticized the theory of disruptive innovation as "a theory of change founded on panic, anxiety, and shaky evidence". Lepore postulates that Linkner advises the aspiring disruptive innovators (in which he invests) that "the world is a terrifying place, moving at a devastating pace". She suggests that Linkner's "job appears to be to convince a generation of people who want to do good and do well to learn, instead, remorselessness. Forget rules, obligations, your conscience, loyalty, a sense of the commonweal."[32]


  1. ^ "Linkner, Josh, 1970-". Library of Congress. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "Interactive Promotions Agency ePrize Leaps to No. 185 Among the 2006 Inc. 500, with Three-Year Sales Growth of 638 Percent". The Free Library. August 23, 2006. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  3. ^ "ePrize's Linkner to discuss creative solutions at Lawrence Tech May 1". Lawrence Technological University. April 27, 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  4. ^ Gwendolyn Bounds (January 16, 2007). "Making Big-Time Promotions Available, Affordable". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Detroit Venture Partners' DNA". Archived from the original on 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  6. ^ a b Beth Marmarelli (May 23, 2011). "Noted businessman and best-selling author Josh Linkner joins University of Michigan-Dearborn as Entrepreneur-In-Residence and Adjunct Professor of Applied Creativity". University of Michigan-Dearborn. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  7. ^ "DNA: Josh Linkner". Detroit Venture Partners. Archived from the original on 10 April 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Earvin "Magic" Johnson ... General Partner, Detroit Venture Partners". Archived from the original on 3 March 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Linkner becomes a partner with High Level Marketing". High Level Marketing. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  10. ^ Henderson, Tom. "Linkner steps down as CEO of Detroit Venture Partners". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  11. ^ "from Wantrepreneur Entrepreneur". The Detroit Jewish News. November 24, 2012.
  12. ^ Josh Linkner (30 November 2007). Leaning Forward: Surviving/Winning in the Future of Interactive Marketing. Dog Ear Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59858-428-8. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Josh Linkner (13 January 2011). Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-00171-4. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  14. ^ Taylor, Ihsan. "Best Sellers - The New York Times". Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  15. ^ "Guymon Ensley & GEQ Jazz: About Guymon". Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Why you should read "Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity"". GetAbstract. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  17. ^ "The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation". Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  18. ^ Josh Linkner (May 7, 2014). The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation. Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-91032-0.
  19. ^ "Fast Company: John Linkner". Fast Company. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  20. ^ "Inc. Magazine: Josh Linkner". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  21. ^ "Forbes: Josh Linkner". Forbes. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  22. ^ "Josh Linkner at TEDx Detroit September 2011". September 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  23. ^ "Champions of Change: Youth Entrepreneurs". Retrieved 8 March 2013 – via National Archives.
  24. ^ Jeff T. Wattrick (August 17, 2011). "White House to honor Detroiters Torya Blanchard, Josh Linkner as 'champions of change'". Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  25. ^ "Search Entrepreneur Of The Year Hall of Fame". Ernst & Young. Archived from the original on 7 October 2006. Retrieved 8 March 2013. - search for Linkner
  26. ^ Josh Linkner (October 4, 2010). "The Long List". Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  27. ^ "News - Lawrence Tech". 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  28. ^ "News - Walsh College - Walsh College". 2012-01-24. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  29. ^ "Josh Linkner". Retrieved 8 March 2013 – via National Archives.
  30. ^ Josh Linkner (August 30, 2013). "Josh Linkner: Should Labor Day be retired?". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
  31. ^ Vanna Le (March 5, 2014). "Detroit Venture's CEO Optimistic About Innovation, But Says Social Media Is 'Over-Hyped'". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  32. ^ Jill Lepore (23 June 2014). "The Disruption Machine". the New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved 18 November 2015.