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Trustee and CEO shares his personal keys to success

Published: Friday, April 3, 2009

Updated: Friday, April 3, 2009 08:04


Aalok Kanani/TUfts daily

Trustee Seth Merrin spoke about his experience founding Liquidnet at a lecture on Tuesday.

Seth Merrin (LA '82), the co-founder, president and CEO of the groundbreaking financial company Liquidnet, Inc., shared his secrets to success on Tuesday in the spring installment of the Lyon and Bendheim Alumni Lecture Series.

Merrin, a Tufts trustee, spoke about his experiences after graduating from Tufts, sharing with the audience both the successes and failures of his journey to the creation of Liquidnet as a lucrative financial enterprise.

He founded Liquidnet, a company that trades high levels of stocks online at low cost, in 1999. "He revolutionized the way these kinds of trades occur," said sophomore Eli Cushner, a member of Young Entrepreneurs at Tufts (YET) and of the entrepreneurial Kairos Society.

Merrin also described his secrets to success and his unique methods for managing his corporation. The keys to a successful business include finding an "unfair competitive advantage" and creating an "un-refusable offer" for clients and customers, according to Cushner.

Freshman Jack Miszencin, also a member of YET, said that Merrin emphasized practice and dedication as the best means of rising to the top.

"If you want to be good at something, you have to completely and totally dedicate yourself to it," Miszencin said, summarizing Merrin's message.

Merrin also talked about his focus on charity work, discipline and continuing education as the core values for the culture of his company, according to sophomore Jason Nochlin, president of YET.

Liquidnet requires its 450 employees to take two continuing education classes every six months at the corporation's university, Nochlin said. The company also donates 1 percent of its annual revenue to charity.

Faculty and students, including many from the entrepreneurial leadership program, attended Merrin's lecture in Ballou Hall's Coolidge Room. A question-and-answer session and networking reception followed the lecture.

Cushner and sophomore Artem Efremkin, president of the Tufts chapter of Kairos and a member of YET, emphasized Merrin's personal interaction with audience members.

"He really tries to understand where the person who is asking the questions is coming from," Efremkin said.

"Personal interaction is extremely beneficial, in business and also in life," Cushner said. "I think people really appreciate it when you take time to interact with other people, and I think he exemplifies that and that's one of the reasons he's so successful."

At Tufts, Merrin studied political science. After graduation, he founded Merrin Financial and created an electronic order-management software designed for brokers. He also founded VIE Systems, Inc., a financial services software company.

Merrin, who was elected to the Tufts Board of Trustees in 2004, remains active on the Tufts campus, donating art and delivering lectures on entrepreneurial leadership, according to the Board of Trustees' Web site. He has funded scholarships and works closely with Tufts Hillel.

The Lyon and Bendheim Alumni Lecture Series features an alumni speaker each semester and is supported by the Office of Alumni Relations and the entrepreneurial leadership program.

Tessa Gellerson contributed reporting to this article.

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