Linkner Announces New Business Leadership Venture Based in Detroit

Serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and Xconomist Josh Linkner today announced he is launching a new venture called Fuel Leadership in order to innovate something he considers to be woefully outdated: leadership development events.

“Having spoken at many business events, I’ve seen how the general model is flawed,” he says. “The need for leadership is greater than ever, and the need for live events is important, but they stink. Most of them are destination events, and they’re expensive and time-consuming. Often, the quality is only so-so.”

Linkner says he’s flipping the model upside down by instead offering a business leadership event that travels to various regions of the U.S. and, eventually, the world. “I look at it like a rock concert tour,” he explains. “The staging and lighting will even feel like a rock concert, but you’ll be home in time for dinner.”

What differentiates Fuel Leadership, Linkner says, is that after the event, attendees will get a year-long subscription to proprietary online content, including more than 5,000 videos; 500 archived webinars and CEO interviews; book summaries; live webinars; idea boards; and community interaction.

“Most events end when the event ends, but not ours,” he says. “It’s a 12-month growth opportunity.”

Fuel Leadership will host its inaugural event on April 13 at MotorCity Casino. Among those set to speak are basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson, actress and The Honest Company co-founder Jessica Alba, entrepreneur Seth Godin, and Ford CEO Mark Fields. Ticket prices range between $895 and $1,600. The Fuel Leadership website also lists upcoming events in Cleveland and Minneapolis, with details to be announced.

Linkner’s goal is to develop Fuel Leadership into a must-attend conference similar to TED talks or the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “This will be the equivalent for business leadership,” he says. “We plan to host 30 to 40 events domestically and internationally, and we want it to be the gold standard.” If all goes according to plan, “a few years from now, the brand will be so powerful that you won’t need to know who the headliners and speakers are.”

Right now, Fuel Leadership is operating out of the offices of one of its investors, Pulse 220, but the company is in search of new digs. There are currently four people on the Fuel Leadership team, though Linkner says that number will increase quickly. The company’s headquarters will remain in Detroit even as it grows, he says.

“We absolutely need this in Detroit,” he adds. “We’re reinventing ourselves as a community, and we’re competing on a global scale. Ask any successful company what the difference maker is, and it’s the people and how you elevate your employees and improve their performance. We’re putting a fresh twist on leadership development conferences by making them hyper-efficient and powerful.”

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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