News Cellar - Founder

Entrepreneur turned Geek Squad into a geek army


After Robert Stephens sold the computer repair company he started in college to Best Buy in 2002, he helped guide its growth from 60 workers to about 24,000 black-and-white-clad 'agents.'

 
Geek Squad "agents" Masanori Yusa, left, and Joey Mank in San Francisco wear white shirts, black pants and clip-on ties. Geek Squad generates $1 billion to $1.5 billion in annual revenue, analysts say. (Ben Margot / Associated Press / April 6, 2007)


Minneapolis - Robert Stephens recalls with precision the night he signed the deal that would put his sassy start-up, Geek Squad, under the massive corporate umbrella of Best Buy.

Parked in an alley outside the lawyers' office in downtown Minneapolis, Stephens and his mentor, Platinum Group founder Dean Bachelor, toasted the future with a $400 bottle of champagne. It was October 2002, and Stephens, then 33, was plotting the new heights to which he could take Geek Squad, the computer repair company he had started in college.

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News Cellar - Biz Models

Print and Digital Need Not Compete

AUGUST 27, 2007

The Web is effective, but some find it intrusive.

The printed word still holds a strong pull for many consumers, according to Deloitte & Touche's "State of the Media Democracy" study, conducted by the Harrison Group in March 2007.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they would rather read the printed version of a magazine even if they could get the same information online.

"Old media is surprisingly resilient," said Deloitte technology specialist Ed Moran in an interview with eMarketer. "Many people use magazines to keep up with apparel and other trends. Asked about their top-five media intentions for the coming year, No. 3 overall was to read a book."

The preference for print carried over into consumer attitudes about advertising. More than three-quarters of respondents said they found Internet advertising to be more intrusive than print ads. Nearly two-thirds said they paid more attention to ads in print.

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News Cellar - Startup / Entrepreneurship

The Smartest Unknown Indian Entrepreneur

Sramana Mitra / Forbes
02.22.08, 2:00 PM ET

pic Entrepreneur Marc Benioff is afraid of him. Venture king Mike Moritz wants to invest in him.

You have never heard of Sridhar Vembu, founder and CEO of AdventNet, the company behind newly launched productivity suite Zoho.

Vembu is a low-profile guy if there ever was one. He is also cheap as hell. Yet, of course, you know that among entrepreneurs, frugality is a virtue. A tremendous virtue.

Vembu has stretched this virtue to extreme limits, and added layers and layers of creativity upon it. The result? A 100%, bootstrapped, $40-million-a-year revenue business that sends $1 million to the bank every month in profits.

Doing what? you might wonder.

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News Cellar - Tech Business

TVs, PCs fight for living room space at tech fair

By Georgina Prodhan, European Technology CorrespondentTue Aug 28, 2007 5:53 AM ET

Internet TV, mobile TV and video on demand may be the talk of the technology sector but when it comes to buying decisions at this week's IFA electronics fair, television sets are set to be bigger business than ever.

Exhibitors from around the world will descend on Berlin hoping to tempt almost a quarter of a million visitors expected at the show to upgrade to slimmer, sleeker TV sets promising sharper pictures and helped by rapidly falling prices.

"Glass, in the form of TVs, is going to be huge again," says Gartner analyst Mike McGuire. "I don't see the TV losing the space in the living room just yet."

Globally, more than 200 million TV sets are expected to be sold this year, worth about $115 billion, or more than a third of total consumer electronics sales. Of those, most will still be traditional curved-screen cathode-ray tube TVs.

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