Sunday, April 15, 2012

“Business opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming.”

I love selling technology.  I have always loved technology, gadgets, widgets, and gizmos.  I was a biomedical engineering student at Purdue University, medical school was in my future, and my life was all mapped out for many years.  And then, in 1983 the first cellular phone network went live in the New York area.  It was my destiny. Good-bye medical school, hello NYNEX® mobile.  My company is the aggregate result of my 29+ years of not going to medical school.

What would you do, if your next door neighbor was Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or the co-founders of Google Sergey Brin and Larry Page?  What if you knew these guys from high school, or from the local neighborhood growing up.  Would it matter?  Would it have changed your life?

·         1995: Larry Page and Sergey Brin meet at Stanford. (Larry, 22, a U Michigan grad, is considering the school; Sergey, 21, is assigned to show him around.) According to some accounts, they disagree about almost everything during this first meeting.


·         1996: Larry and Sergey, now Stanford computer science grad students, begin collaborating on a search engine called BackRub. BackRub operates on Stanford servers for more than a year—eventually taking up too much bandwidth to suit the university.


·         1997: Larry and Sergey decide that the BackRub search engine needs a new name. After some brainstorming, they go with Google—a play on the word “googol,” a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. The use of the term reflects their mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.

Was anyone paying attention?  Did anyone see what was coming?  Was it all just serendipity or was there a master plan from their first meeting, and this was just all meant to be, that the Google as we know it today was inevitable? 
When I was younger, AOL® was the big deal.  AOL “was” the Internet!  People would dream and say, “what if I only knew Steve Case in the early days of AOL.  What if I bought stock in AOL early on…?” Now, the same type of folks say the same things about Google.
There will always be another AOL, Google, IBM, AT&T, Twitter, Facebook – just like there will always be another bus.  That is the amazing thing about a life in business, there is always tomorrow. There is always the chance that today will be the day that you learn of something new, cool, inventive, innovative, and life-changing.  Funny thing how your chances of catching a bus, and catching the next wave of business opportunity is directly related to your proximity to the bus stop.
In life and in business, you can run after a bus, or you can be ready – you can get to the bus stop early, and be waiting for it. It is always your choice. 

Or walk. You can always walk if you miss the bus. I guess that is what people do when they miss the bus, I would not know.

I just met Jared Goralnick, the founder of  It is not a brand new technology or service, but it was brand new to me just last month. I started using it, and I am done – it’s all over – I’m in. MTP will become the #1 reseller for AwayFind. I say this again – MTP will be the #1 VAR for this technology. Trust me, it will happen. My meeting the founder of AwayFind was like me meeting one of the founders of Twitter® in 2006. I am going to run with this.  MTP has a big meeting at Google headquarters in NYC this month. As it turns out, Jared is a long time, “big partner” with Google. 

Coincidence?  Serendipity?  Rule #1 in business (and in catching buses): eyes and ears open and working at all times. Watch this story unfold – I will blog on and again in 12 months. 

Gotta go – I see my “bus” coming. 


  1. I'm excited to be on the bus with you, Tom. It's going to be a ride!

  2. Taking a risk is about looking for that next bus. Congrats Tom, you deserve it.

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith