Monday, August 31, 2009

The story of Zoom (Day 3)

Wow! What an awesome reunion with my neighbors from the hood yesterday (see my post from day 2). I really appreciate the emails from all of you regarding this blog. It looks like you want to know more about what I've been up to, so here is the story I promised to share about starting up

I was very fortunate to be surrounded by a super talented group of people who were passionate about work and life. Many of us were married and raising families. We loved serving our customers and we were well rewarded for our contributions. We always pushed ourselves to go to seminars and learn how to do our jobs better. Our city was known as the flag ship of the company.

The local owner of the company we worked for was being challenged by a multi-billion dollar corporation. This corporation purchased the national name from the original founder. Our boss was licensed to publish a magazine called Auto Trader in San Diego county. Apparently, this corporation felt that my boss's internet site went beyond the boundaries of his licensing agreement. Long story short, my boss sold out and we got a new boss. Let's just say that the new boss was owned by two companies that didn't really like each other and many of us struggled to figure out how we fit in.

One day, a few of us decided we needed to move on or start our own company and compete. We learned that a secret deal had been made behind closed doors. This secret deal black-balled us from joining the internet division that had been separated from our print jobs. This made some of us very angry because it seemed so wrong. For me, it gave me a burning desire to compete with this Goliath.

The first thing we did was consult with an attorney. We hired him about one year before we actually launched His job was to prepare us for the war that would eventually be declared on our start-up company. He was certain that we were too much of a threat to be left alone and he was regarded as one of the best in the country. We made a lot of mistakes when we launched but not hiring an attorney would have destroyed us.

The first lesson he taught us was about the two types of business interference, lawful and unlawful. Another name for lawful interference is competition. We learned exactly how to move forward without getting into hot water and we were ready when our ex-bosses tried to intimidate us.

Preparing to compete while you are still employed is legal in our state. You just have to be careful not to invent anything because, legally, your boss can claim ownership. The next step for us was to make a plan and then follow the plan. We spent months meeting in secret to prepare defenses for every possible attack.

For me, I kept visualizing the scene from "King Arthur" where the small group of knights are on their horses as they survey the enemy below. The enemy is massive. The year of preparation is what made the difference between success and failure. We swore to 100% secrecy. None of our co-workers, friends or even parents could be told until launch. One slip and we were doomed. We even used code names to keep our plans under wraps.

My next post will talk about the final days leading up to our launch and how we defended ourselves once war was declared by "Goliath". I will never forget the text messages we got in real time as war was being declared. Our attorney was already writing the response before the meeting was over. The head hunt for insiders was relentless but our "helpers" were never discovered.

As I share more of our story, you need to understand that there are certain things that all of us at Zoom are forever bound to never disclose. Let me state up front that we know many trade secrets as a result of our twenty years working for "Goliath". We cannot ever share those trade secrets. These posts are for the benefit of those who may want to go out on their own and are not meant to berate my ex-boss. As a matter of fact, I owe my last boss a big thank you because I am now living the dream.

For now, it is time to take a shower and get ready for my first day back with my Zoom partners.

Please keep up your comments. This whole blog thing is like writing a book and publishing it in real time. I will attempt to write a little bit each day and your comments will help me decide what to share. For now, I want to make sure my friends and relatives know that I am out of the cave. Goliath already knows I am back. I learned some new ways to use my slingshot and can't wait to get back on the battlefield.

Your prayers are much appreciated. God Bless!

P.S. The following video was recommended by a family member. It was made by some high school students and fits into the "David vs. Goliath" story...

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