I never really told anyone, but 10 years was always the outside number. It's as simple as this: After founding The Geek Squad 18 years ago, and acquiring Best Buy 10 years ago, I'm ready to build new companies. I never thought I would or could last this long. Hell, nobody did. I later learned that after the merger was announced, friends and advisors of mine bet each other how long before I quit or got kicked out. Most founders seem to leave within a year or so. I can say that motivated me to prove them wrong.
This has caused many of them over the years to wonder, "Why is he still there?" Others have wondered, "You're still there?". But most people, when I tell them what I do for a living, say to me, "The Geek Squad wasn't invented by Best Buy?" That makes me the happiest. That's how a deal should go down: all parties do well, the business still thriving and the deal should make sense 10 years later. Those same people are amazed to discover that what started on a single bicycle in 1994, is now a global services brand with over 20,000 employees worldwide. Now I want to take what I've learned founding a startup and combine it with the experience I gained working at a Fortune 50 company.
When I got my first computer in 1981, I thought it was the best time to be in technology. When I went to college in the 1990's, the World Wide Web was an even better time to be in technology. This last decade made technology more human, more social. And yet, this next decade will witness change 100 times greater than anything we have seen thus far, mainly due to mobile computing and wireless sensors. I cannot wait to play in this area. I've agreed to stay on as an occasional advisor to Best Buy. This lets me help where I can, and also gives me the freedom to pursue new possibilities.
Every company is in the service business now. Operations are not enough: companies must design experiences if they are going to stand out. Technology and software will be key to building those services. Every company needs a unique brand and culture, especially if it is going to innovate. That's where you'll find me: at the intersection of four key areas: service, technology, culture, and brands.
See you there.