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The Man Who Sold 4 Companies for Over a Billion Dollars

Feb 11, 2022
So today I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine, someone I consider to be probably one of the smartest men I've ever met, maybe the smartest person I've ever met, you'll find him here in a few minutes Bettis white and that's my board from my good friend John Mel, we have a lot of history together, you'll find out in a few minutes why that's so, Tom before I get into this, the reason I'm interviewing Tom. for you to find out who Tom is, Tom will start doing a show on Fridays where he'll do case studies and case studies that we'll go into, he'll take different


and you'll do case studies because a lot of times as an entrepreneur, you know, the Tuesday and Thursday I do the procedures when I value time I don't give my episodes on Monday we have motivation on Monday I think it's very, very important for you some of you saw that episode what we did with Twitter is Twitter the next myspace and some people may get more things like t your Tom is going to do a lot of those case studies where you'll see in version what are some of these mistakes that these


make that you don't need to make and what things they did right that can help you take your business to the next level. next level so before we get into the case studies I want you to find out a little bit more about Tom so Tom before PHP you're now president with us and we're involved in a couple of exciting projects together your biggest success since from Sprint I would say he got involved and then joined the founders of Jam Dad where I Jam Dad you guys ended up selling Jam that a few years later over or to EA Sports for $680 million so why don't you guys take A few minutes and tell us a little about your background take a minute and tell us about your experience how this all led to Jam's debt and then all these other companies you've started CEO of go TV tell us a little about your story well that's it It's all a very simple story I have a brand Graduated from college from there I went to work at cellular as the first cell phone company in Los Angeles third in the United States and got hooked on early stage companies the one they were doing big from there I was at a company called California amp that provided components to DirecTV another thing that got big from there is before DIRECTV existed yes I was at california amp working on antennas satellite dishes before there was DirecTV on the small plate it was a revolution lucky to be a part of that from there I got a The call from one of the guys I had worked with early on went to a long distance sprint and sprint company . you are the this is the founder of the unlimited plan with if you remember those days we talked for free after 9:00 p.m. and you had to wait for you it was after 9:00 p.m. or whatever peak off peak we have oh my gosh so you made it unlimited we introduced a new rate plan with the launch of sprint that was a part of that was just fabulous people love Dix that simplified I just want thank you on behalf of 319 million people living in america that was a great program well it also generated a lot of profit from the wireless industry and i was a marked man oh it's like but the consumer got a good deal and al Finally, so did wireless technology. and we're happy there you go thanks Tom and from there Sprint was investing in small businesses through an incubator project because they knew what was coming they knew phones would be doing this in that insurance and I ran that incubator forum and we made an investment at a little company called jammed at mobile which was the first game for wireless phones so tom let me clear this up i mean i know about jam because we just talked about there were no games on phones before you before you at they aired the first set of cell phones the founders of jam dad had a vision to put them in phones and in a vision that phones would be so much more than they were and they were right unbelieva today is obviously what happened to jam dad what happened with Jam dad one of the first jammed games in bowling or for two years two million people played it and you went places and people played Natural Jam where e there are games on the phones two million people download yes that's exactly download the game and we did it not really very well and one of the companies originally did it said the games will play on the phones you need a playstation or a gameboy or an Xbox in your living room, that's how you play, Electronic Arts and Electronic Arts some time later, I would praise it. because of its guarantee of rights it's a you know being a sport it's a game yes you have to give that prize yes well let me one day they knocked on the door and it was EA Sports we have a correct check and it was a little less than seven hundred million


, what did you expect that amount?
the man who sold 4 companies for over a billion dollars
No, I mean, I know sometimes we like that you guys know, yeah, of course, did you really think you'd get a check for seven hundred million


? No, I think we just wanted to build a great company. You're focused on doing that, that's very important, maybe we can tweak it because a lot of times people tell me they want to build one. They bet more on the dollar amount instead of building a great company instead of focusing on what you have to do. and eventually get the check for you guys to get the seven hundred million dollar check what happens next what happens next is I worked with a couple of top digital publishing initiatives that we did we had great success helping authors to get two Kindles and nooks and things like that and I finally met you as I'm still looking for great ideas that can become great and the idea that you had PHP really struck me because it was all things that I loved to take gre on old industry disrupting ideas and the release date is exciting and Tom nailed it.
the man who sold 4 companies for over a billion dollars

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the man who sold 4 companies for over a billion dollars...

I work with Tom every day, so he brought him on as an advisory board and you mean in 2009 or 2010 he brought him on as an advisory board of 2010 and then on August 15th you became president and obviously we're doing other things as well, which is exciting but Tom that's great now all the companies you have


in your career what is the total amount of the sale if there is a number than you? you can relate to the total amount of sales from other companies well the companies have been involved with such a big total about 1.1


dollars this is what it is but for 1.1


dollars unbelievable ok , so his background goes from that bet, you know. you went to college you got into all of these industries you've worked at a few companies in completely different different industries that you know maybe if it's long distance to tech to gaming to post to all these things what it is is you're so excited and drawn for startups why startups why don't you get out of college what do they tell you go for it work for the big four go work for the biggest companies in the world what made you want to go work with startups because sometimes It can be scary what becomes of startups, well it was really a perspective I got early in my career.
the man who sold 4 companies for over a billion dollars
I had an internship at IBM in sales when I was in college and they taught you a lot of skills. really interesting about the first company I worked for, the cell phone, you understood the consequence of the decisions and you understood that hey, we are making decisions City that matters, they are moving the company forward and I said that this is where I want to be, I want to take decisions that matter and moving the company forward and doing new things in old industries that were big and national, that just meant it was a bigger goal and you're going to be a bigger market and those things resonated and that's true, that made me it played early in my career and I haven't let it go Wow so you know one thing most people don't know about my daughter's name is Senna right her name is Senna and I sent us a painting back there I'm a diehard fan of Santo most people don't know but Tom introduced me to Ayrton Senna we have a lot of fans from Brazil who followed the content here and know I'm a big fan of Senna you're a great Formula guy One, the big Formula One guy, how did you get into Formula One?
the man who sold 4 companies for over a billion dollars
How did you get into Formula One? and now you know your passion for where you and your wife woke up early like two and three in the morning to see it. and you guys are like Europe you're not just a normal guy you completely follow everything I get the polls you know Nico got poll number two and then you know Lewis Hamilton broke the record because he did this. a great passion for that sport well I think it goes with having a passion for tech startups or I am a passion for tech yeah because in Illinois you have all the others all these teams the rules change a little bit every year and people are designing these cars they don't buy those race cars the team designs the car and they apply new technologies or technologies to start a Formula one that they are in their car today and it was inspiring to see all the technological things that go into that and then at the end of the day you have to put a driver in it you have to put a human in if they are not robots and it was a joke and Formula one saying I can adjust the engine I can adjust the wings but there is nothing to can do to tighten the nut behind the wheel and that's just the truth and it's seeing people like Senna, who are geniuses and seeing people who were great car designers, I like it on both sides, the passion, the achievement of the great pilot s and the great teams that change the game, so Tom, okay, that's great.
I know now here's a question for you who's the top five I put you in the spot like oh wait a minute the top five Formula One drivers of all time I know you've interviewed we've met a lot of them We went to see you and I went to Italy together. I went to Ferrari HQ all those things you are a great Enzo but give me the top five of all time so top five and I have a hard time putting them in order but before long I think at number five you have got to Jackie Stewart what he did in the 70s was just amazing and then the number four I have on number four I think it's definitely Alam Prost he was a teacher I put him on number four I put him on number four and then number three and I have a well found man Gill and I have Schumacher at number two Schumacher stats you know 91 wins come on I mean it's just unbelievable so what is all time number one Ayrton Senna and if he hadn't If he had been tragically cut short in 1994, it would have said even more records, but it didn't need to. he set those records so that we see that he was the best driver in the history of Formula One.
We have never seen anything like that. I don't think we'll see anything like this again. there was a race going on did you have a radio or something you were doing back then 1994 tell us about it ok 1994 i remember 1996 Netscape came out and that's where the internet was born that's where Marc Andreessen made all his money if you know anything about Marc Andreessen and big money risk and the recent Horowitz that he runs now, but this is two years before there was a little thing called CompuServe where you could exchange information with people all over the world, well I was exchanging information with people in Europe. it happened and then he had an 800 number.
He would record these 30 second clips and you could call the 800 number and get correct f1 info and it was on the day I remember the day so sadly he had all those you know. nine hundred they were you weren't the nine hundred business no I wasn't in the one-night I never knew you wouldn't know what I know no but we all know the whole world spread the rumor that Tom wasn't the one nine hundred business we know that we can have money yeah I can see you remember so that's it but yeah back in those days you doubt a one sided voice board for horoscopes or you remember Miss Cleo she eventually went to prison or something like this but you could add bad stuff miss cleo well i got a million i would lose fluid i had um i got formula one she called it thirty seconds and i updated like ten times during the race there were people calling and ninety nine cents ten dollars for a race fee update. it was amazing and i remember the day emily died italy I called him sadly now whats the date was april 29 or may 1 may 1 may 1 94 may 1 may 1 quiet italy is the corner of san marino and Tamburello you can go there today if anyone goes to Italy go to San Marino go to ml hippodrome walk the path by the stream in the back and there are monuments hidden in the woods built beautiful marble monuments that were built by people who they were devoted fans and a prose who appreciated the genius of Ayrton Senna why do you think? people loved him as much as they did because there's a cult following for Senna, he cared and he was great and you find a lot of athletes now walking out of the arena with thissnobbish attitude, don't sign autographs for the kids that you are. just making money and you don't have the feeling that they cared you have the feeling that Ayrton Senna cared and he played hurt you know and you know there is a lot of admiration for football players who have played hurt and I know there is a lot of negativity around the concussions but we admire our heroes who play with such passion that you know they know they are there and they make a lot of money because the ones we have come to see and there are very few people in history who have played Wisconsin th passion at a high level and I think Ayrton Senna Michael Jordan Wayne Gretzky is a short list of people who are up there where you say man they love what they do they're great at it and their passion and they're putting it out there could I put Hamilton on six or not between Hamilton's top ten to tell him soon that Hamilton is number six and about to break into the club really Lewis Hamilton is going to replace that Jack are you going to replace no no he's going to praise ar im going to impress ok you put on a pro set for jack that was cool true lewis hamilton can you google those two guys oh yeah yeah he's a rock star ok tom interesting thing you told me about the victories of the tidal press, he is a strict professional with what is 71 51 51 career wins, he is tied with Senna, what 41 yes and 81 polls or seven eight how many polls were how many positive to take ridicu took 50% of them or something like that, so you know one thing you told me was that i thought it was very, very interesting it's one of my favorite interviews i watch online it's the last jobs and bill gates where they were in the same room together in those red stocks if you've watched the of the red chairs that they're sitting in, you were actually one of 300 people invited to that and people came to see that from all over the world, what was it like to be in that room with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs?
Did that mean to you? Tell me a little about that experience. It was pretty amazing. I was at the D conference, organized by the Wall Street Journal, and if you got an invite, you could be there. It was very, very difficult to get in. waiting list and I was honored and deeply appreciative of the fact that I was there and when Jobs came out to speak what you didn't know was that behind the scenes there had been a bit of drama and if you look it up on the internet you can find that it was um , you know Gates was very upset with the jobs because of something that happened many times in their careers and he said I'm not going to do the interview, you know and we're going to freeze or something that Hussein does Gates that is not Gates.
Meet Summit I may not be getting it perfectly ri You had a fight about the date and when you were backstage Jobs came up and gave you this bottle of ice water like this and you made some comments about the comment and you gave it to him and broke the ice between them, they talked and then he went out and did the interview and one of the things that was really amazing was the appreciation but the determined competition that was still there they appreciated each other but there was determined competition and he also made jokes about the fact that they were now the two the older guys in the room not the two younger guys who want to change the world were the older guys in a room now surrounded by a bunch of younger guys who want to change the world so I thought the perspectives in that interview were absolutely phenomenal in your opinion, what made them both special, what made Job special, what made Gates special, they both knew what they wanted done r and Jobs knew that when he put the hardware and software together like A Apple controls the entire experience and that's why the Apple experience has always been so seamless, the Mac software and you know, but they have the software and hardware together, while Microsoft Windows says we're going to build an open environment, so you take Microsoft Windows and here's a developer kit, build whatever, build the game, build the word processing, build whatever you want and gates knew that that was the path to owning the market and then he would find himself facing Congress in the monopoly hearings, right? and we're not talking about the board game, we're talking about how my show made some bad decisions that they were called out for and I think he was the genius of Gates when he saw that I'm going to build this platform and I.
I'm going to own the whole game while Jobs was like wait a minute I'm going to do something special right in the experience and everything is going to be special so you had Jobs the designer with a passion to control the whole experience and just deliver it from start to finish and gates which is the enabler so you saw a lot of control and jobs the genius and you saw a lot of enablement and it created a mass market in gates and that was evident in that scenario there and I think that's what you saw from both and I would say there is not an ounce of difference between them in how hard they worked or how competitive they were.
I think they were dead even but how do you want to tackle the issue and guess what has all these wonderful things on both sides that we appreciate and love who the network is like right now if you were to say some of the guys that remind you to any of them who would say this job who would you say it's gates today wow it's hard to say whose jobs and who is gates but i don't know if mosque is like them how he categorizes who is bezos how who is , why do you know it's interesting, um, you know if you look at musk and what he's done end to end at Tesla and then you look at Bezos and kisses you know you go online to Amazon and you don't know if you're shopping at a warehouse Amazon or are you buying from some other warehouse run by an independent person because Bezos said wait a minute everyone is coming to Amazon I'm going to sell everything and I'm going to build the systems to do it so I think in terms of an open environment in systems to allow as much space as possible for people, that's Bezos, but if you look at the beauty and genius of Tesla from start to finish, that's musk and I would think if I'm going to have a fantasy CEO League and I'm going to start with two, the only two that I picked are Bezos and Musk, which is three, there are a few people. that impresses me well what about the zotkin presidency you said yes impresses you Travis impresses me ed Ober really if you look at what he's doing it looks like he's delivering food now look where he's going with that impresses me so much and you look he's focused he's determined so ok so here's another question for you five companies you see dominating the next decade five companies if you have to pick five companies you see dominating the next decade who would they be Wow five companies you see dominating do you think Google will continue to dominate and get creative and innovative like Do you think Facebook will continue to do what it's doing?
What do you think will happen in the next ten years with these comfortable five? we're going to build an alphabet ourselves and how they're lining everything up I think how do you bet against a data player in the data age? me and i think we haven't seen the Microsoft one but they probably aren't on my list i think ubers are going to redefine traffic in major cities don't you think eber is going to be like a Groupon do you think uber will stay for 10 yes rs heck no , seriously you don't because you know groupon came everyone wanted to be the next angry group it's going to be social and now it's like yeah you can see they're fast but you see you can see the way you know uber you it's hitting well yeah why do you think hoover is going to be more of a headline play than that?
You don't think Mosque or Google are going to get a run for their money with that. those things what you think uber will get into that market too hello boobs all set announcer ordering self driving cars from celgene doing this so i got interested ok google we have google we have uber who else yes uber and musk and tesla ok look at the things you say Tesla or you say musk because well I think I say must because you see what he just announced yesterday about solar, he announced solar roofs, that's right, it just came out and you can see that he's applying. its technology and it doesn't sit still that Tesla was in musk is musk it's alright so you're not betting on Tesla you're betting on whatever it is that's part of what he fought over where he's taking that solar tech and stuff like that it's amazing , guys are so big he's bigger than the brand itself first you said google until you said uber and 3 months who's your four or five amazon you just can't mess with amazon because you absolutely see where they're applying their technology i mean they were books another video another oh my gosh it's just gone so far the technology is over and he's so smart and then number five is really a space vs a company it's ok because tell us online education and there are two reasons for it number one education is broke student loan debt is bigger than credit card debt a pick but i was shocked right when that happened that was announced or a year and a half ago, everyone turned and looked at the TV and waited, what can be right? and that's reason number one, reason number two. or in a fast changing economy, hey gang, get used to it right, you need to retrain, so the old education of educate once college and be good for 25 years is gone, you'll have to retrain, you need to find methods and places to educate yourself along the way and I think online education provides hope and promise for people to retrain for the five or seven mini-careers they will have because nobody works twenty-five years at IBM getting a gold watch , so it doesn't sound like a four-year degree today it has the same value as twenty years ago not because you are no longer going to work twenty-five years in a single company you are going to have many careers you can have bases like me in marketing but you are going to add to that so let me let me reaffirm what you're saying tell me who it is see if I'm what you were saying the same thing you're saying an online educational platform where I can go and study this specific skill i want to learn how to improve whatever it is that's what you're talking about to adapt to the chapters of your career that you're going to face i got it so number one was google uber should amazon and the online education is what you're talking about, yes and I think we're just waiting to see the gigantic emerging online education. many places together we've been together all over the world literally all over the world together and every time we're together it's at a point right now that I ret monument I just found out that this week we can't be on the same flight which is a bummer you can't fly the same flights and we're a bit annoying but we have really good conversations together because Thomas always brings cases from different companies so I asked Tom and he said on Fridays I want you to start teaching cases when I was in Harvard Business School in the open program we were constantly studying a different case every week whatever it is so now you're going to take cases so tell us what to expect when you start doing your case studies on Fridays what will that be like? what I'm going to do is just take little stories from companies that you know and love or you may not love them, but companies that you know and we're going to take a small piece of that. they did what happened and why they did it and then you can take it to apply whether you're operating a t-shirt selling website or you're part of a larger company and success will be people's involvement. of that and he said he knows what to apply that and I can take it with me that's exciting I mean can you tell us some of the companies are going to start right away well we're going to do a whole series but the first three I have are Starbucks ice cream driers dried ice cream yeah and you when one that's close to my heart because I come from Nokia mobile so let's start with Starbucks driers ice cream with Nokia on Fridays listen I can tell you this as a fact I can take this as a fact, you know the value of Taemin.
I've been predominantly myself from day one until today. It will not be because I love you as an entrepreneur. I think that with time this will not be discussed before. The world's problems are going to be solved by entrepreneurs and there's a lot to be learned from other companies, so on Fridays tune in to value entertainment with business doctor Tom Ellsworth to learn about any case coming up. it's coming out next friday so if you haven't seen it go to next friday stay tuned next friday it's releasing the first one which is exciting the first case is the one time tell us the first case starbucks starbucks is a first case so tune in tom elsword bi z doc next week paul let me bring my pillow here y'all subscribe if you haven't subscribed to epilow if you haven't subscribed to this channel please make it my challenge to you're going to go check out all the other videos on value tim and i'll tell you we think this is the number one channel on youtube for entrepreneurs and we're just getting started on the content that will bring you the topic of entrepreneurship with that being said if you have any question, any ideas for Tom, please comment. at the bottom, take everyone bye-bye

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