Success and Motivation, Part 3

Fired. Not the first time it’s happened, but it reinforced what I already knew; I’m a terrible employee. I just had to face facts and move on. So rather than getting back on that “how the hell am I going to find a job” train, the
only right thing to do was to start my own company.

My first act of business? Pile into my buddy’s 1982 Celica, nicknamed Celly, and drive to galveston to party. Of course we stayed in only the best $19.95 a night, plug the hairdryer in the wall and the circuit blows, motel.
Nothing but the best as I prepared for my journey into entrepreneurial territory again. I couldsay I was preocuppied with how to get my new business off the ground. That while my friends got drunk, did stupid tourist
tricks and ate at greasy spoons,I sat by the pool on the 1 chaise lounge chair with rust on the clean side and wrote up my businessplan.I didn’t.I got just as drunk and ate the same disgusting food. Then we faced the
road trip terror that everyone knows exists, but refuses to admit, the ride home. It wasn’t until we pulled up to the apartment that it hit me. No job. No money. No way to pay the bills. But I had nice towels.

Fortunately the hangover didn’t last too long, and I realized I had to get off my ass and make something happen.

First day, first task, come up with a name. This was the start of the microcomputer revolution, and I wanted a name that said what the company was going to do, which was sell personal computers and software and help companies and individuals install them. I was going to offer microcomputer solutions. So after struggling with different names for about 30 minutes, I chose MicroSolutions Inc.

Now came the hard part. I had to call all the people I had done business with at my last company, and let them know that I had been shitcanned and ask them if they would come do business with me at MicroSolutions. I got the expected questions. NoI didn’t have an office. NoI didn’t have a phone yet other than my home phone. Yes it was just me. No I didn’t have any investors. The only question I dreaded was whether I had a computer to work with. I didn’t. Fortunately, no one asked.

I made a lot of calls, and got some decent response. We love you Mark, we want to give you a chance. A lot of lets stay in touch. I got two real bites. One from a company called Architectual Lighting and the other from a company called Hytec Data Systems.

Architectual Lighting was looking for a time and billing accounting system to allow them to track the work with clients. I don’t remember the name of the software package I told them about, I think it was Peachtree Accounting, but after going out to meet with them it came down to this. I offered to refund 100 pct of their money if the software didn’t work for them, and I wouldn’t charge them for my time for installing and helping them. In return, they would put up the 500 bucks it would take for me to buy the software from the publisher, and I could use them as a reference. This was my “no money down” approach to start a business. They said yes. I had a business.

My 2nd call Hytec Data, was run by Martin Woodall. I met with Martin at the S&D Oyster House on a beautiful June day, and I remember sitting there and him telling me, “I graduated in Computer Science from West Virginia
University. I have 50k in the bank and I drive a brand new Cadillac. I know technology better than you. We can work together”. I had a customer, and now with Martin’s help, I had some hope. Hytec Data sold multi user systems.  The old kind that used dumb terminals. He bundled it with accounting software and he and a contractor named Kevin, would make modifications to the Cobol source code. They were the hardcore geeks that could help me when I needed it. I was still just 10 months from my first introduction to PCs, and had zero clue about multi user systems. If I came across prospects that could use their system and software, I would get referrals. That was good.

Even better was Martin’s offer of office space. He and Kevin shared office space with the distributor of the computer systems he sold. They had this one office, that when the CEO of the distributors son wasn’t using it to
study his spanish, I could use it to make calls, and keep my folders and paperwork. Still no computer, but hey,I had an office and phone. I was bonafide…

At some point I’m going to have to go back and look at my appointment books that I kept from those days to remind myself of who my 2nd, 3rd and on from there customers were. They were small companies that I got to know very well. People that took me under their wing and trusted me, not because I was the most knowledgeable about computers, but because they knew I would do whatever it took to get the job done. People trusted me with keys to their offices. They would find me there when they got in in the morning and I was there when they left. I made 15,000 dollars that
first year. I loved every minute of it.

As time went on, my customer base grew. I got my friend and former roommate Scott Susens to help with deliveries. Scott was working as a waiter at a steakhouse at the time. I remember asking him over and over, would you please help me out. I have a customer that had bought a bunch of Epson dot matrix printers from me, and I had to sell Scott on how it wouldn’t be hard to learn how to hook a parallel cable to a pc and printer, and how learning all of this would be a career move compared to working at the steakhouse. Unfortunately, I couldn’t pay him as much as the steakhouse. My good fortune was that Scott worked nights and weekends and decided to take some time in the afternoons to help me out. Not long after that, he was working fulltime installing PCs, learning whatever he had to figure out before an install.

Martin also began to play a larger and larger role. His company was growing, and he was watching my company grow. I would get the PC based stuff, he would get the accounting system stuff. It was a nice split. The better part of the relationship was based on Martin being the most anal retentive personi had ever met in my life. While I covered my mistakes by throwing time and effort at the problem, Martin was so detail oriented, he had to make sure things were perfect so problems could never happen. We could drive each other crazy. He would give me incredible amounts of shit about how sloppy I was. I would give him the same amount back because he was so anal he was missing huge opportunities. We complemented each other perfectly. It would only be a matter of time before we both knew we had to be partners and work together instead of separately.

That first year in business was incredible. I remember sitting in that little office till 10pm and then still being so pumped up, I would drive over to the gym I belonged to and run 5 to 10 miles on the treadmill going through
that day, and the next in my head.Other days I would get so involved with learning a new piece of software that I would forget to eat and look up at the clock thinking it was 6 or 7pm and see that it was 1am or 2am. Time
would fly by.

It’s crazy the things that you remember. I remember when my accounts receivable got up to 15k and telling all my friends. I remember reading the PC DOS manual (I really did), and being proud that I could figure out how to set up startup menus for my customers. I remember going to every single retail store in town, BusinessLand, NYNEX, ComputerLand, CompuShop, all those companies that are long gone, and introducing myself to every salesperson to try to  get leads. I would call every single big computer company that did anything at all with small businesses, IBM, Wang, Dec, Xerox, Data General, DataPoint (remember them?), setting meetings, asking to come to their offices since I couldn’t afford to take them to lunch. I didn’t need a lot of customers, but my business grew and grew. Not too fast, but fast enough that by the time MicroSolutions had been in business about 2 years, I had 85k dollars in the bank, a receptionist/secretary, Scott helping me out, and a 4 room office that I moved into along with Martin and Hytec Data Systems.

Then I learned a very valuable lesson. Martin had done a great job of setting up our accounting software and systems. I got monthly P&L statements. I got weekly journals of everything coming in and everything going out,
payables and receivables. We had a very conservative process where Martin would check the payables, authorize them and then use the software to cut the checks. I would then go through the list, sign the checks and give them to Renee our secretary/receptionist to put in the envelope and mail to our vendors.

One day, Martin comes back from Republic Bank, where we had our account. He had just gone through the drive through and one of the tellers who he would see every day dropping of our deposits asked him to wait a second. She comes back and shows him a check that had the payee of a vendor, WHITED OUT and Renee Hardy, our secretary’s name typed over it. Turns out that in the course of a single week, our secretary had pulled this same trick on 83k of our 85k in the bank. As Martin delived the news, I obviously was pissed. I was pissed at Renee, I was pissed at the bank, I was pissed at myself for letting it happen. I remember going to the bank with copies of the checks, and the manager of the bank basically laughing me out of his office telling me that I “didn’t have a pot to piss in”. That I could sue him, or whatever I wanted, but I was out the money.

I got back to the office, told Martin what happened at the bank, and then I realized what I had to do about all of this. I had to go back to work. That what was done, was done. That worrying about revenge, getting pissed at the
bank, all those “I’m going to get even and kick your ass thoughts”were basically just a waste of energy. No one was going to cover my obligations but me. I had to get my ass back to work, and do so quickly. That’s exactly what I did.

49 thoughts on “Success and Motivation, Part 3

  1. I think its because that’s when most people make big mistakes and they don’t want to admit it. It helps me to read that you were unsure, that you worried your parents, that you went through every thing I am going through and look where you ended up.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  2. Reading these posts makes me realize that although I can find life after school from a job that my CPA Uncle can offer me and going from there, it’s going to take much more work during school if I want to make a mark in the business world. I see now that I have to work harder than my peers and although that’s what I’ve heard all my life, your story has molded it into my mind.

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  4. Pretty much nothing seems worth bothering with, but so it goes. My mind is like a complete blank, but it’s not important. Eh.
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    Comment by calling cards -

  5. Well, everyone loves fairy tales. If Mark’s rags to riches story inspires you to do better, then I guess his story is serving some purpose to someone.

    I just see some bloke who had a modestly successful business who decided to sell tulips at the exact same moment that everyone had a temporary fit of insanity and paid ridiculous amounts of money for tulips.

    Well, the tulips all died next year (go visit http://www.broadcast.com and tell me if you’d spend a billion dollars on that), everyone who paid for it feels kind of stupid for doing it, and most people, insttead of seeing the situation for what it is (a fantastic lucky-ass gets lots of money for something worthless), everyone is gobsmitten by his wealth and think he’s some kind of VISIONARY!

    If you really think all of the billionaires out there today weren’t just lucky asses, but actually did it by sheer willpower, then why the hell have they all stopped at a billion? Did they run out of positive attitude? Bill Gates is 60x more than Mark Cuban is.

    Why turn off the motivation now?

    Do it again and be a TRILLIONAIRE! It’s EASY! Here, there’s a step by step guide at http://www.blogmaverick.com/entry/7054941172873585 that’ll show you how to get whatever you wish for!

    Comment by Michael B -

  6. I’m a new reader, and i know sounds bad, but i just learned of your name on TV, and thought you were an interesting person which I ran to my computer and googled you up. You are one of my many role models, and look forward to reading more of your stuff! Its no lie when people say its inspiring, educational, and in some cases an eye opener! Good job Mark!!

    But i just had to comment on that person who thinks becoming a billionaire is just plain luck… a comment that to me is unacceptable, because it goes against my belief that anything is possible especially when your drive, your desire, and your passion is involved.

    It really depends on how you view it I guess. To some the cup is half empty but others half full. When you begin setting yourself up with limits, its hard to break free from them. Yes business contains a certain amount of luck, but i think what Mark is saying is, when u work hard, and live to do better, its not a question of your current situation, because u are always able to make the best of it–its how hard and bad you want it whether u know it or not.

    Now I’m no millionaire, but don’t u sometimes make money and just have a blast making it… maybe during those moments you think bigger and more strategically… I’ve had nights where I worked for days straight because I was having a blast and making real progress. Maybe being a millionaire is just a stepping stone to becoming something more. Why quit? Why limit yourself to having only a set value? Would you want to limit yourself to being in love if you knew there were people that were madly in love?

    Something more, is something anyone can be and have. Be more positive.
    james

    Comment by James -

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  9. All of these rags to billionaires cases are statistical noise.

    There are many people exactly like Mr. Cuban who are not and never will be billionaires. With hard work, focus, intelligence, and common circumstance you can easily become a millionaire. Maybe it’ll take you 10 years, maybe it’ll take you until retirement (adjusting for inflation of course).

    Surpass that goal by a thousand times? Sorry, that’s pure luck of the draw.

    America is the land of the opportunity, but whether you will become a billionaire or not is entirely out of your hands.

    Which is a shame, because Mr. Cuban seems to think that just as he’s read other people’s stories of fortune and become rich, that by telling his story someone else will become just as rich.

    For every eccentric billionaire you’ve read about, there are millions of eccentric average people with the same qualities who remain fiscally unexciting.

    Comment by Michael B -

  10. I have a business that services a small customer base of 500 small businesses (many starting a new business for the first time)at least once a week I am assisting some customer with an employee security issue. Most involve sales people walking with databases and accounts. Even though I help protect my custoemrs, it still happened to me with an individual in our accounting department. I was prepared, recovered fully and it affected no customers – whew!

    Moral is it is not if — but when. Sad world. The key is to give your employees the freedom and access to be the best while monitoring.

    I am glad you have no problem sharing – keep the blogs coming.

    Comment by wildbunchjd -

  11. Mark,
    We must be about the same age because I can remember when PCs came out in 1981 and knowing this was going to be big. I started working in ‘real’ jobs, making some badly needed money and passing up the early parts of the PC revolution. I went into business in 1988, doing much the same as you at MicroSolutions, selling systems and installing them with a partner. The business took off but we didn’t know much about the business of business and we sold it for a loss in 1994. Then I got into the webconferencing business in 1998 and started a company that I sold in 2001, before the crash. I’ve used that money to start a search engine marketing company recently. I’ve done alright here in Canada but certainly not on the scale you have. Top that off with a passion for basketball that I have, and I feel we’ve had parallel lives..

    We even have similar views on the stock market and I would have said the same things, were I to have a blog. I told my wife how weird reading this has been for me. You can count on this blog to be a regular stop for me.

    Comment by fy -

  12. Yo, keep this stuff coming. Very readable. You should spin it all into a book. Have been ripped off too, everyone has. As to the guy who posted about luck being the divider between 80k a year and making it big, I would suggest that it’s not just luck, there’s some degree of charm and hustle that matter above hard work and smarts. You have to meet the right people, get them to care about you, get them to help you make the most of the opportunities you have. But luck never hurt.

    Comment by Nicholas Jarecki -

  13. This story is a picture perfect fit into my life. Coming from a respectable man, one that loves the NBA and puts as much emotion into the Mavs as he does his business decisions, this story is truly inspiring. I am just a college student but your story really gets the gears turning in my head, because I relate the passion I put into life to the way you live yours. Reading these posts makes me realize that although I can find life after school from a job that my CPA Uncle can offer me and going from there, it’s going to take much more work during school if I want to make a mark in the business world. I see now that I have to work harder than my peers and although that’s what I’ve heard all my life, your story has molded it into my mind. I always pictured fame and success just falls into place and it is mostly luck, but I see from your story the amount of effort it takes to make a name for yourself. Now I just have to be like Mark and put it all together.

    Comment by Scott -

  14. look, mark and ppl like myself are really just lucky asses. really, if mark had been born a few yrs later or earlier, he would never have sold his co for billions to me and david. sure, we would all be very successful, but billionaires? get real…

    Comment by jerry yang -

  15. Thanks for this post. I’ve read similar ‘how I got started’ stories before. But it doesn’t hurt to hear it one more time. Especially as well stated as yours is.

    Doesn’t everybody have a Renee Hardy in their past. Tough to learn a lesson that way but once bitten…

    Some would say you have to be born with entrepreneurial drive in order to make it big as a business owner. I’d love to hear your take on that.

    Comment by John Frost -

  16. Galveston is a great place… the strand, the seawall, the mardi gras celebrations

    Comment by YZ -

  17. your site is now my nightly stop.

    Comment by livewire -

  18. I’m what I guess you’d call a fan of yours. I’m 20 years old and have high hopes of making it big, however I do have lots of obstacles to overcome. I started making copies at a real estate office when I was 17 – today I’m the head of the real estate department in a forestry and land management company here in east texas. I guess I haven’t done bad for myself, but reading this really makes me at least hope that one day I too, will be able to achieve the goals that I have set for myself, if I can continue to bust my ass like have have been doing for the past 3.5 years. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Comment by Crystal Haynie -

  19. “Even the giants of our time, missed some great ideas.” Pg. 92! You never know.. Some little tike might need a small venture capital investment in his idea. Yeah, he might just not have enough $$$ for what needs to be done. Mark, I wish those two young mavericks who started “GOOGLE” would have asked me for a little dough. What’s the math, maybe 400 times your investment or more..Let’s see, $2500 get’s you a million, Oh, maybe I’ll invest some more. Too late, “DARN”!.. On any given day, some great idea could pop up in someone’s head. Einstein favored imagination over knowledge. Innovators don’t want handouts, but those two from Google needed starting capital. We should not turn our backs on new ideas, and therefore, judge every case accordingly. Mark was that a keg or a six pack when you guys got together to start your company? Also, I might just do the same, what kind of beer was it. Har!!!..The Wizard of Shad… P.S…. If Woz can say it, so can I.

    Comment by ShadNet -

  20. Mark:

    What I really think is funny is how you’re posting all these great articles about how you succeeded through hard work and you’ve got guys all over the place hitting you up for money or to help them out. Man, aren’t they reading what you’re writing?

    Comment by Kane -

  21. I do hope in part 4 that there is a bit about a severe and disporportioinate response as to what Renee did to you. For without it, how can you dissuade future attempts to rip you off?

    I am going through my own rough patch right now, the party till morning, but thinking at what ever party i was at, that it is time to get my act together…

    Reading your pieces makes my challenges that much more palatable, for I know that there could be a way out. Even when it seems like the tunnel has no light, and hence no end to it.

    Comment by Andrew Shuen -

  22. great read as always….I’m a self employed internet entrepreneur myself and while I support myself with my work, I seem to lack the drive which you display to take my business to the next level. It’s very educational reading about your drive and I’ll hopefully find something similarly engrossing and productive to work at. If/when I do, your blog will definitely have contributed.

    Comment by Ravi Iyer -

  23. I started reading your blog to try to one up the guy I am dating with my mavs knowledge. But instead, I have been enthralled with your mini auto blog-ography. I cut out the part where you talked about working jobs you loved, jobs you hated, etc. and stuck it in a hidden spot at my job (see jobs i hated) and it makes me feel like all is not lost for me.
    I am in my early 20’s and so far it’s been the hardest time of my life. Up until this point, everyone has advice for you. When you graduate high school, its “go to college” or “visit europe” but after college the advice starts to wane. I think its because that’s when most people make big mistakes and they don’t want to admit it. It helps me to read that you were unsure, that you worried your parents, that you went through every thing I am going through and look where you ended up. Thank you for giving me some much needed hope, and making me feel like I am not alone.

    Comment by MFFL -

  24. Your blog has become a regular stop for me. Thanks Mark. I am a young entreprenuer myself. Those with business questions and such, I HIGHLY recommend these 3 books:

    #1 – A Good Hard Kick in the Ass – Rob Adams (this is the best of the bunch, tells you how to start from nothing and make something)

    #2 – Upstart Start-Ups – Ron Lieber (need creative ideas and a little encouragement? this is the book)

    #3 – Smartups – Rob Ryan (another great read on how to start, you want to know how to really run a business, this one tells you how)

    All 3 are about 200-250 pages and I would expect an average read to breeze through these in just a few hours. Take notes. Ideas from these books do work. You should also be able to buy all 3 for probably <40$ online. Goodluck all.

    Comment by Chris -

  25. I did a google search on Renee Hardy, seems ripping mark off wasnt her last gig.

    http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txs/releases/January2003/030110-hardy.htm

    -dave

    Comment by Dave Daniels -

  26. You should have called Tony Soprano to “take care” of that secretary.

    Comment by Prime Time -

  27. Wow. That Renee was quite the scammer. I think it’s funny that someone who commented found a website saying how she’s been convicted of fraud charges. It just goes to show how that stuff never gets you anywhere.

    I can’t wait for part four!

    Comment by Maggie -

  28. This is a great read!

    Mark has his distractors. Some think he is a flake and just “got lucky” with Broadcast.com.

    After reading these entries it is clear to see that Mark is a business man that any of us can look up to.

    Comment by Scott -

  29. At one point in everyone’s life, everyone considers the idea of going into business for themselves. Whether it be that morning that you don’t want to get out of bed for work, the day that your boss infuriates you to no end, the moment you look at your paycheck and bills and notice that one heavily outweighs the other, or maybe the day you read a story just like this.

    I’m fairly young BUT not getting any younger and am searching for a way to break out on my own. I’m not a technical person…more of a people person…and love to read stories like this to learn about the day that another person just got fed up and finally made the decision to start their own business.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! I look forward to reading more.

    Comment by Kyeshia Brakes -

  30. I don’t have that much experience, in fact, I just got my degree last week, but I have one piece of advice to offer:

    be sure that you’re not focusing too much on practices that you’re not seeing the whole picture of the business. Until you get to the point where you’re generating revenue the most important practice is to get yourself to the point where you’re going to be generating revenue. Not neccesarily profits, just revenue.

    Comment by Cory -

  31. We have been spending 90% of our time and resources on evaluating and re-evaluating our software design concepts and exploring new application featurers and services for ways to attract and retain customers. Do you think this is a good thing?

    We have also committed ourselves to having at least $1.60 in capital for every $1.00 that we spend or borrow for expansion. Do you think this is good idea?

    Additionally, we are working with vendors to try to secure vendor financing (make payables cycle longer). If it has no ROI value, we refuse to buy it.

    Do you think these are good practices? Should we be doing other things?

    By spending so much time on development we hope that we provide clear value so potential customers and make their decision easy.

    Our marketing strategy is very low cost and focuses on creating distrubtor partnerships.

    Thanks,
    Sterling

    Comment by Sterling Wright -

  32. I think the adage is “Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.”
    Good piece.

    Comment by suisgeneris -

  33. Mark, Please buy my Milwaukee Brewers.

    Comment by tom -

  34. not “HOOIER” !!!

    Comment by teradee -

  35. is all this a$$ kissing necessary? hard work, intelligence, timing, (and a huge amount of luck) equals a big pile of cash…

    keep the hard work and intelligence and remove the others (for 99% of folks out there), equals $80K/yr. my relatively short work history is littered with friends and business partners with very similar stories. (give or take 2 billion) a thought that all the dreaming and determination, coupled with your (very real) desire to help people do business will somehow be the recipe for your fortune. sometimes the cards don’t come. however, i do enjoy that those cards came for a fellow hooier.

    cheers!

    Comment by teradee -

  36. As an Entrepreneur it is a true inspiration to hear/read lessons of success (or the steps that led to it). Anxious to read the next chapter. I probably will be able to write my tales in the future but for now need to focus on my venture. Glad you made it Mark, one day I’ll join you. It’s not if…It’s when.

    Comment by Paul Deschenes -

  37. Mark, no doubt that you have the work ethic that it takes to become a success, but have you always had the confidence?? You sound so much like my son, who I feel could do anything that he wants…if he had more confidence. Any advice? THANKS!

    Comment by Ida -

  38. great read, but around what time did all of this occur?

    Comment by larry -

  39. The Success and Motivation series is awesome reading Mark. It’s inspirational to know that someone as successful as you has been through the same crap like the rest of us entrepreneurs. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by MIchael Buckingham -

  40. Mark,

    From my experience and the experience of almost every person I know who has risen above mediocrity, the pain, disappointment, and dashing of dreams seems to be a prerequisite for success. I think they call it “paying your dues”.

    Has anyone you know ever “made it” without the heartache?

    Character. The building of stamina and perseverance are the result of the trials and I know those qualities are required for sustained success but I have always wondered, “Has anyone ever been so calculating that they avoided paying those dues?” Is this entirely necessary? Is it a law of nature?

    I’m confident I know what your answer is but I would like to hear it from you. Great blog! Keep it coming.

    Kevin

    Comment by Kevin Carlile -

  41. That’s a brilliant idea, reading all the manuals to show people how to run the products they purchase. People don’t want to have to read those things to know how to get to the nitty gritty. It’s an interesting way to start a business. Wish I’d thought of that 10 years ago.

    Comment by Jason -

  42. The best way to avoid getting your name used is just to not enter it. Use something else instead. I’m not trying to be sarcastic, that’s really just the thing to do.

    Comment by Cory -

  43. Mark, I love the intellectual conversation that this spawns … not just between people, but in one’s self. The reader’s know what I’m talking about, do you here you’re brain ticking afterwards? You know you’ve had ideas of starting a business … being rich & famous. He just was ballsy and a hard enough worker to do it. Take what need to be done and do it. I wish you hadn’t left us hanging, it’s amazing that such a set-back didn’t break you. For a lot of people, it seem sjust such tragedies are the beginnings of grim ends. I’ll be looking forward to the continuation in the mini-series. In the meantime a question on the last entry, as I may have missed anymention of it in any news articles or other blog entries …
    What was the basis/motivation/creative notion that spawned the “Benfactor?” I haven’t really heard you talk about the means of why you decided to do it. I figured it might be a good discussion point. Thanks for the stirring of thoughts …

    Comment by K-Pax -

  44. Another very interesting post.
    Looking forward to reading more.

    A question for you:
    Which (if any) books did you read that assisted you in business?

    Cheers,
    Dimitri.

    Comment by Dimitri Kanis -

  45. Gosh Mark, i didn’t realize my real name was going to be used. How do i avoid that—readers help me!!!

    Comment by marilyn gusky -

  46. Well, at least i am proud that i recognized a budding author 6 months before i was aware of this blog. I told your dad that you should consider writing a book about your beginnings. It appears that your blog is creating your first venture into that area. You always end your session with the reading wondering what happens next. I am not an editor, but, I KNOW this is good writing. I hope you stil know who i am. Gee Mark, i am sooo impressed that it is time for me to come out of retirement from all this tennis and golf. I have started a whole fan club of cuban watchers here at my club. Lets creat a job for me!!!!!

    Comment by marilyn gusky -

  47. Dang Mark, this is good stuff!.Keep it up.. Hey Mark, all I did was add an “S” and an “a” to HDNet and I created ShadNet.. Har!… Actually I catch fish for a living (Shad), and that’s where it actually came from..Mark I need horsepower!..I have an interesting little “Killer App.”, what do I do with it?.. Some how I have to get it into the hands of someone who makes things “happen”. I can invent, but I may not have the talent to bring things to market..At Least I know that..The key I believe is figuring out how to outsmart some very big companies.. From your past writings, I think it can be done. A patent may be the key.. You can relate to it, believe me.. Will keep in touch, have to go over this patent stuff,….ShadNet.. [S+a+HDNet]…

    Comment by ShadNet -

  48. This Renee Hardy?

    http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/txs/releases/January2003/030110-hardy.htm

    Second hit on Google.

    Comment by Steve -

  49. Like the Titanic, everyone knows (as of now) the end of your rags to riches story. As someone that is in the semi-rags part of the tale, it would be nice to hear a little bit more of the reasoning and voice that alllowed you to deal with your own thoughts of failure. The lying in bed late at night at dissecting what you are and hope to achieve parts. I am asking the depth or percent of self doubt that was present during this stage of your life.

    Thanks,
    Bret

    Comment by Bret -

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