Always looking for a new adventure.
I guess you could say that fits my personality pretty well. Or, maybe it’s just my ADHD that keeps me bouncing from project to project, starting new companies and generally having as much fun as possible while surrounding myself with great people in the form of co-founders, employees, partners, family members, vendors and customers.
A great term that describes exactly how I have started one company after another – literally “found” a reason to be in business and then built an organization around that reason. Like Steve says, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Looking back, it all makes sense, but each time I was at the foundry of a new startup, much of it was either accidental, fortunate timing or cast from a brief flash of insight that pushed things forward. And let’s be clear, often that insight did not come from yours truly – but rather, one of those great people I mentioned above.
Here’s a quick review of my business experience to date, with some comments to guide you along the path.
1987 – Hort. Services: Founder.
First time calling the shots, managing a business and being accountable. I’m a huge outdoors guy and love working with plants and building materials. This landscape construction company helped me work my way through college, employed most of my buddies at one time or another and set me on the path towards never working for anyone else again. We had a blast and it kept a smile on my face all the time due to the fact that people actually paid me money to do this stuff.
1991 – OnDemand Investments: Co-Founder
I was renting all kinds of construction equipment, so it just seemed logical to start buying tractors, cranes, backhoes and the like to use for landscape projects. When jobs were done, we would ship the equipment to different parts of the country, hoping to make a profit, or at least cover all our costs and save on the rental fees. Pretty fun, until you get a call in the middle of the night from a truck driver in Alabama that doesn’t have the right permit to transport the 40-ton crane he’s carrying…But that’s a story better told over a couple of beers.
1994 – MacResQ: Co-Founder
I think it was 1990 that I bought my first Mac and my lifelong love affair with with the smiling startup dude began. This business was started with a thought (beer might have been involved) that “Wouldn’t it be great if we could actually make a living with the Mac?” And that’s just what we did – just a little bigger than we had originally planned. The company turned out to be a huge sandbox where I would learn about managing 30+ employees, fail miserably at many things, succeed at enough to keep things going and I found that I still had that big smile on my face most of the time. In 2001, we merged with another company from the mid-west and rechristened ourselves as ResQ Systems. By 2004 my smile was gone and I sold my interest in the company and moved on.
2001 – ReBound Trading: Founder
After the merger of MacResQ, I realized I needed my own sandbox and launched ReBound Trading. I’m a deal guy who loves finding the delta between buying and selling. ReBound has allowed me to play in all different markets, outside of the Apple space and with all kinds of different products. ReBound is strictly Business to Business, building on relationships and collaborations that I have nurtured over many years.
2002 – DealsOnTheWeb: Co-Founder
Did I mention that I’m a deal guy? Well, I was lucky enough to meet Dave Hamilton back when we were investing heavily in online advertising. Even luckier to find out that Dave was (is) a deal guy as well. We launched DOW as a deal listing website, focused on tech and gadgets and it ran strong for over a decade. The impetus for founding the business was pretty simple: My wife, Renee and I wanted our kids to go to a local private school and had to come up with the revenue to pay for it. We eventually changed the site to DealBrothers.com and while it’s still up, it’s basically not doing anything right now. Just sitting there. Waiting. For Dave and I to do something with it again.
2004 – TechRestore, Inc. : Co-Founder
So there was no way I was leaving the Apple market after I sold my interest in ResQ Systems. TechRestore began by focusing on repair, with the first nationwide, overnight Mac repair business in the country. At one point, we had a TechRestore notebook box in every DHL truck in the U.S. A quick call and we would pickup your Mac notebook, bring it in overnight to our repair center and send it back out within 24-hours. The company continues to kick-ass and has since branched into three divisions; Consumer and Educational Repair, Wholesale Parts and Refurbished products. With thousands of Apple products moving through the TechRestore facility each month, the day-to-day operations are run by a great team that includes folks that have been with me for over a decade.
2015 – Small Business Show: Co-Founder
Our newest venture and the reason you are reading this! One of the most important and enjoyable aspects of business for me has been collaborating with great people. Early in 2015, I was searching for a way to share some of my experience, expand my network of peers while coming up with a way to work with Dave again. We’re just getting started with the Small Business Show Podcast, but we’re already having fun and I’ve got that big smile on my face again. I hope you stick with us as we look back and connect the dots and build new things together.
If you made it all the way down here, thanks for sticking with it! Outside of work, I enjoy, well, being outside. Fishing, hiking, hunting, working in my garden. Analog things like that are what I love to do. I’ve been known to be a bit long winded (as if you couldn’t tell from this long blog post) I’ve been married to Renee for over 20 years, have two great teenagers that are much smarter than I am, and a Black and Tan Coonhound name Guinness. It’s always an adventure around our house and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lafayette, California | January, 2015