Anyone who gets married in a $100,000 sponsored wedding with 7,500 spectators in a stadium doesn’t think small.
Meet big thinker Dave Kerpen, a salesman, entrepreneur extraordinaire, and New York Times best-selling author, who at age 37 is founder and CEO of Likeable Local, a social media company for small businesses, and co-founder of Likeable Media, a word of mouth and social media company.
Eight years ago Kerpen wanted a big wedding, and lacking the money to pay for it proved no obstacle. Kerpen and his wife, Carrie, persuaded 1800Flowers.com, Entenmann’s, and other companies to fork over much of the cost in return for sponsorship.
The wedding venture’s success led the Kerpens to start an event company, which quickly morphed into Likeable Media, and 1800Flowers.com and Entenmann’s followed right along as clients.
Like other successful leaders, Kerpen has extra sensitive antennae that helped him recognize early on the impact of social media. Unlike the dime-a-dozen social media companies, Likeable Media and Likeable Local differentiate themselves with the concept of likeability.
To say his concept has resonated with people is like saying Facebook has a lot of users. To date more than 2.6 people have viewed his LinkedIn article outlining his likable leadership principles, making it one of the most read articles on LinkedIn.
His principles, as Kerpen himself admits, are “very obvious and not rocket science, but the issue is that people don’t think about them or integrate them into their lives as much as they should.” Some of his 11 principles include listening, storytelling, authenticity, and gratefulness.
“People are hungry to become better leaders and eager for greater self-awareness and self-improvement,” Kerpen explains.
Meanwhile, as someone who practices what he preaches, Kerpen has learned a lot along the way in terms of being an effective—or likable—leader.