In 1995, I sat on my couch with an IBM Thinkpad 720C, Coreldraw, Microsoft Word and created Make It Work. I wrote a one page business plan and create this logo:
My business idea was simple, I wanted to help people “make it work” in their business using technology and building operational software solutions. I built CRMs out of Microsoft Access and installed networks. I had a few home runs early on and the company grew.
Then, I realized my Ks where different widths (and the E) and hired someone to fix it. The next MIW logo looked like this:
We grew some more and eventually, after becoming the 42nd Citrix Platinum Partner, the company was sold to Push Computing LLC and this happened:
Push landed KPMG who eventually would own a decent part of the company. 2001 was a tough year for all, and when the other founder and I butted heads, I took the “Incentive To Leave Option” as was offered to over 40,000 IBMers in the early 90s. I got paid a few bucks and I left.
Next, came MIW II…but before we get to that part, let me explain why I’m writing this post. My brother, our COO at MIW II and my right arm, sent me a link to a post that Best Buy is switching from VW Beetles to the Toyota Prius. I was overwhelmed with that choice, but as I scanned the article published in the Star Tribune, APRIL 11, 2016 — 11:07AM., I came upon this:
On Monday morning, company executives also will announce the launch of a new marketing campaign called “We Make It Work” that highlights the more expansive services of the Geek Squad.
At first, I was a little unsure what to think. But then, it just made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It was flattering. The winner of the race is using my former brand, also my mantra, to promote their company. Wow.
Years ago, I had a brief chat with Hubert Joly, CEO of Best Buy. After the demise of Make It Work II in June of 2012, I reached out to see if I could lend some advice or insight from my 15 year run with two companies named Make It Work. I no longer owned the URL that was mine since 1996 and I was up to my eyeballs at that time with legal issues, as I had personally guaranteed the Mini Cooper fleet, office equipment and a whole lot of company loans. It was an ugly time in my life, but I tried to make lemons into lemonade. Mr. Joly didn’t seem very interested and had one of his VPs reach out. Then another. It never went anywhere. But I guess I left a lasting impression. They just announced this:
I knew the original founder of Geek Squad, before he sold it off to Best Buy. We had Volkwagen Beetles at MIW I before they did. This was back in the day when Geek Squad drove an ice cream truck and other strange vehicles, back when they were still really cool. I never competed with them at that point, as they were still small and we were focused on installing big Citrix based networks. We landed some big fish and did really well. As a result, MIW I was sold and I began running Push, it’s acquirer, until leaving in 2001.
It was then that I [reluctantly] restarted Make It Work. I retained all the brand assets, the trademarks, and the domain and I didn’t want to take a job in Irvine, 3 hours away from my son Jacob. We started with Citrix again, but this time, it became obvious to us that the demand was coming from the residential sector. We had a heck of a run, but it ended 11 years later. During its existence, MIW II had a fleet of red, logo emblazoned Mini Coopers. They were fresh, hip and fun.
Geek Squad’s recent decision to go with the Prius is probably a good one, but I do worry about how the iconic design of the Beetle and the Mini are now both a thing of the past. The Prius, perhaps the most hideous car in the world, does get great gas mileage and it’s “green.” I love that part. I drive an electric Chevy Volt, I get it. My concern, we used those Minis to attract marketing attention and employees. It worked, for years, over 44,000 customers served and hundreds of technicians hired. They kept their car, drove it home, parked it on the street and the phone would ring. I wonder how the Prius will work for Geek Squad. I also hope “Make It Work” will help Mr. Joly and team reach a new level of success. I for one thought Best Buy would be gone by now, for sure Geek Squad. Well done Mr. Joly, and thanks for honoring our legacy, even the parts we tried to forget.
Here’s MIW I’s Beetle:
Here’s MIW II’s fleet of Mini Coopers:
I’m off and doing other interesting things today. I run astUtemy and 74 Systems. They also have logos, but no cars.