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Starting CBORD Group

We started the company in 1975 when I was in grad school. I had two other partners. We each kicked in $1000 a piece. There was no such word as venture capital back in 1975, I don't think. Just like…

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Breakdown of His Business Into Front…

We've focused on this really simplistic model of saying in many of our worlds, and in the food service and housing and campus environment. There's front of the house. That's what you see when you're there at…

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Private Ownership and Challenges of…

Private ownership is another one of the reasons we've had some success. I mentioned I had two partners in the beginning. One dropped out within two months. Another one, he and I were fifty-fifty partners for…

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CBORDs Product Differentiation

On the differentiation side, our customers seem to value what's called 'systems integration,' that is that we make our stuff work with their stuff. Tying in through the, especially now in the era of e-commerce…

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Concept of "Bowling Alley" Strategy…

So the theory behind this bowling alley thing is that you figure out a product or a solution for a market. You then look in two directions, over time, and not too broadly, and try to pick other markets for…

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Working While an Undergrad at Cornell

Jim mentioned that when I was a student, I actually had three part-time jobs as an undergraduate. In fact, I was, and this is hard to imagine today, but I could've graduated at the end of my junior year, but…

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Relying On Customer For Input and…

From the beginning, we have relied on our customers for a lot of input. The customer is not always right, but they're always the customer and you have to keep their place in your business straight. Our…

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How Community Venture Capital Group…

So, what we decided to do was to try to do something about it. We got 40 of us together. We were all angels, and an angel is someone who invests in individual companies. You had John Alexander talk to you…

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CBORDs Product Lines and Lean…

Products and service. And entrepreneurial management team, I've organized our company around the two lines of business front of the house and back of the house. And each of them run very independently. In…

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CBORDs Evolving Mission Statement

This is a problem. As our company has grown, I told you that the mission statement was that we solve the problems of larger food services, using computers. Then we worked our way, as the ball through the…

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Challenges of Leading a Service…

I mentioned that there are 230 full-time people in our company. Over eighty of them are in support, service, and training. So that says we are largely a support or a service organization. Software companies…

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Marketing and Sales Strategy

Experience if you think about the bowling alley analogy, we leverage this to a great degree when we are selling our services to prospective customers. We tell them we've been in all these different…

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Importance of Customer Involvement in…

I just mentioned, we do it with about 230 equivalent employees and that number grows proportional to sales because we're pretty much a service company. The other group of workers that we have that doesn't…

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Sales and Community Involvement

The whole organization is driven around sales. We have monthly birthday parties and we talk about our sale successes. We talk about what new sales we've made. We celebrate the sales people who are achieving…

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Entrepreneurs See Limitless…

I think when people say what will be the take away from this, it is that the possibility exists for almost anyone to pursue an entrepreneurial career if you wish. And whether that is your full time job,…

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Being…

We had some things that worked in our favor in terms of our successes. One was being first to market with a product. You hear a lot about that. It is somewhat overrated today. I think people sometimes say…

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Thoughts on Intellectual Property For…

Our company has had many, many a January release that was released in August, of the following year, but we didn't give up on getting it done and we didn't give up on communicating with our customers of what we…

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Importance of Having an Exit Strategy

One of the keys, I think, if you're thinking about being entrepreneurial, if you take somebody's money, you ought to start from the beginning with a plan of how you're gonna give it back. You need to have an…

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Importance of Hiring Good People with…

We've done well because we've hired the best people and we've worked hard to keep those people. Turnover in our business is a big problem in technology and frankly students such as yourselves have probably…

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Growth of CBORD from Colleges to…

And I'm gonna describe how the company grew because someone else has already written it up in a book, and it's called the bowling alley theory of corporate growth. And what it involves is starting with a…

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Advantages of Keeping Product Low Tech

I tried to think a little bit about what kinds of things differentiate the company from others. And there's really a value chain here of technology, experience, service, and integration. Now I'm getting more…

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Cash Flow, Debt and Equity Capital and…

The other thing is that this client service business, if you actually spend time focussing on it, it leads to good receivables, and that gets back to the number one principle of entrepreneurism which is cash…

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Importance of Setting Steady and…

I mentioned that we started with just a couple of products, a food management system and point of sale. This is the reason why I can't show you the complete bowling alley because there's way too many pins and…

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