Sam Wyly: From $1,000 and an Idea to Billionaire
Sam Wyly may be one of the most successful entrepreneurs you’ve never heard of. Despite his below-the-radar approach, he is one of those rare serial success stories who has launched and led best-of-breed companies in a wide range of industries including technology, energy, retail, and investments:
- With an idea for the first computer utility and $1,000 in savings, Wyly founded University Computing. Two years later, he took the company public and made his first million.
- Launched software companies Sterling Software and Sterling Commerce which were sold for $8 billion.
- Co-founded Maverick Capital in 1990. At the end of 2006, the company had over $9 billion in assets.
- Grew the modest Bonanza Steakhouse chain to 600 restaurants by 1989 when Wyly sold the chain.
- Expanded Michaels, a small arts-and-crafts company, into more than 900 stores. The chain was sold to private equity firms in 2006 for $6 billion.
- Created Green Mountain Energy, arguably the most profitable green energy business in America.
Sitting down with noted Valley VC Dixon Doll, Wyly will talk about the vision, creative processes, challenges, and relationships that have taken him on the road to his extraordinary success. He will speak honestly, as he does in his recent memoir, 1,000 Dollars and an Idea: Entrepreneur to Billionaire, of both the wins and the losses as well as the lessons learned throughout his career: Failure is crucial to achieving success, independent thought is imperative, luck serendipitous and power useless unless it is wielded for good. Wyly and Doll will also discuss: What does it take to be successful in today’s marketplace? What traits are critical for cross-industry success? What mistakes does he see many entrepreneurs making?
You won’t want to miss this rare opportunity to hear from Sam Wyly, who Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute calls, "a wonderful American character, a natural entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist with an outsized personality and humor to match his success."
Please note: This event is only open to the Computer History Museum's members and Churchill Club's community.
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA, 94043