I am an economic liberalist and fairly certain that I have always been an entrepreneur.
At age 7, I started a “D2D” (door-to-door) business buying and reselling used toys. I later added to the product mix by selling polliwogs I caught in a nearby pond.
At age 10, I answered an ad in a comic book and started my own franchise selling custom imprinted Christmas cards. This was my first experience with on-demand printing. Although the income at about $30 an hour was pretty good for an elementary school kid in the 60s, the business was very seasonal and only D2D.
At age 13, when L’eggs pantyhose dominated the hosiery industry with its unique egg-shaped packaging and marketing that allowed it to sell for a premium price in virtually every type of retail outlet, I started a business importing and D2D selling equivalent quality pantyhose at a fraction of the cost. Again, the pay was good but I sure took a lot of teasing from my friends.
At age 16, I bought my first rental property by purchasing a home for $1,500 down and assuming the loan. I certainly wouldn’t have qualified for a loan — I wasn’t even old enough to legally sign the contract. Fortunately, no one asked my age. I sold that home when I was 21, realized a $30,000 net profit (2,000% return), and purchased an apartment building.
Over the years, I continued buying apartments in California and Nevada. In 2021, I sold all my California properties and reinvested in Downtown Reno commercial buildings. I also started Gung-Ho Real Estate to oversee my commercial and multi-family residential properties.
Along the way, I did the typical paper route (what else is there to do at five in the morning?) and worked as a checker at Safeway grocery stores which provided the income necessary to put myself through college (UCSC) and law school (UC Hastings College of the Law) with the assistance of Full Academic UC Regents’ Scholarships for both colleges.
In 1982, when I graduated from law school and passed the California Bar Exam, the personal computer software industry was just taking off and I co-founded Bindco to supply the binders used for computer software manuals.
As the high-tech industry grew, so did Bindco. After we became the world’s largest supplier of custom binders, we added printing, packaging, media duplication, assembly, and fulfillment.
In the late 80s, I became interested in emerging technologies that allowed Bindco to lead the industry in two key areas: E-Commerce and On-Demand Printing.
E-Commerce: In 1988, long before the Web, we used the Internet with modems and a Bulletin Board System (BBS) to process manufacturing and fulfillment orders from our clients.
In 1994, Bindco manufactured the software for Mosaic (which became Netscape) to “launch” the World Wide Web.
Shortly after that, Steve Jobs introduced me to Bill McKiernan at CyberSource which provided Web-based order processing and software downloads. We quickly partnered and one of our early projects, Hewlett-Packard’s first e-commerce site, was so successful that it was featured in Time and Business Week.
On-Demand Printing: In 1991, Bindco began digitizing expensive bulky manuals and putting them on low-cost CDs for mass distribution. We would then only print the hard copies as needed in low volumes.
In 1992, I was awarded the on-demand printing contract for Tandem Computers. At that time, the Xerox DocuTech Network Publisher had just been introduced and Bindco received the first one on the West Coast.
Within a few years, we had 10 networked DocuTechs running 24/7 producing 40 million unique on-demand pages per month. We then integrated additional printing locations in the US and Europe so we could print any document in any location for optimum distribution.
Bindco’s Silicon Valley location also afforded me intangible personal benefits because I was able to meet, work directly with, and learn from so many bright and talented entrepreneurs during their startup and early growth stages.
Many of the entrepreneurs I was fortunate enough to work with and learn from became industry leaders: Steve Jobs (Apple and NeXT), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Bill McKiernan (CyberSource and Authorize.Net); Phillipe Kahn (Borland and Starfish Software), and Jim Clark (Silicon Graphics and Mosaic/Netscape).
By 1998, Bindco had grown into an international company with annual revenue of $78 million. I sold my Bindco equity and retired at age 41.
In 1999, bored after only 6 months of retirement, I decided to create Gung-Ho as a “virtual company” that would utilize the power of the Internet to integrate disparate brick-and-mortar suppliers to provide best-in-class printing, packaging, software manufacturing, e-commerce, and fulfillment solutions.
Gung-Ho was immediately a profitable success with first year revenue exceeding $8 million.
Since its inception, Gung-Ho has maintained profitability, operated without incurring any debt, and has never lost a client based upon its quality or performance. Gung-Ho is currently expanding its e-commerce and on-demand printing operations within vertical niche markets.
Today, in addition to running Gung-Ho and my real estate LLCs, I enjoy consulting with other entrepreneurs — particularly those that support manufacturing in the USA.
And for the personal stuff I am willing to share on the Web, I prefer active sports like running, swimming, cycling, skiing, hiking, scuba diving, skydiving, hang gliding, and occasional bungee jumping. I love to travel — especially to third-world areas — and have explored every continent except Antarctica (at least not yet). For domestic travel, I enjoy getting in the RV and exploring the beautiful areas in the United States. I am an avid reader primarily of biographies and other motivational non-fiction. My favorite book, which I heartily recommend, is Atlas Shrugged by the visionary Ayn Rand.