Interview with Steve Bostic, who has launched innumerable start-ups, in which he advocates intensive planning.
Interview with Steve Bostic, who has launched innumerable start-ups, in which he advocates intensive planning.
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If you really want to grow your business, says Steve Bostic,you have to minimize risk and plan, plan, plan
The first time we met Steve Bostic, he was perched atop the 1987 Inc. 500, having taken his American Photo Group from $149,000 to $78 million in five years -- a 52,244% increase in sales. The next time we met him, he had just sold his company to Eastman Kodak Co. for a reported $45 million. We quickly deduced that he was not your average, everyday, garden-variety entrepreneur.
Indeed, he is not. On the contrary, he challenges all the popular notions about the kind of people who build extraordinarily fast-growing companies. He does not operate on instinct. He never shoots from the hip. He did not pull himself up by his bootstraps. And risk is not his middle name. Nor does he think there's any magic to entrepreneurial success. He does not believe it requires special talent, or charisma, or something mysterious in one's genes. If you want to build a business, he says, what you really need are training, discipline, and a passion for planning.
Bostic is not the only one who's defying the entrepreneurial stereotypes these days. To some extent, he represents a whole generation of big-company managers who have left the corporate womb in the past decade, voluntarily or otherwise, and gone on to start their own businesses. He is not the first person to challenge the entrepreneurial mystique, either. Peter F. Drucker expressed similar views when we interviewed him four years ago. The subsequent article, published in our October 1985 issue, remains one of the most controversial we have ever run.
What distinguishes Bostic is the range of experience from which he speaks. A native of Peru, Ind., he spent most of his twenties on the fast track in big companies. By the age of 27, he was marketing vice-president of PepsiCo's North American Van Lines -- one of the youngest vice-presidents in the entire corporation at the time. Five years later he'd moved up to division general manager and appeared destined for a bright Pepsi future. Instead, he left to become president of the photo-processing division of Berkey Photo Inc. Bostic's understanding was that he would be Berkey's next corporate president, but he had a falling out with Ben Berkey, the company's aging founder, and departed after just three years. There followed a stint as president of a hot start-up that had developed a 3-D camera. When again the founder reneged on promises, Bostic cashed in his chips and headed off to launch American Photo Group.
The sale of American Photo to Kodak did not end Bostic's career as a company builder. He is already well along on his next start-up, R. Stevens Corp. This one is built around an automated photo machine, or APM -- a kind of automated-teller machine for photo processing. Within five years Bostic expects the country to be blanketed with APMs, and R. Stevens to be worth $1 billion. That may not be a goal to which many people can -- or choose to -- aspire. Then again, you don't have to share his goals to find his ideas compelling and relevant to all kinds of businesses.
Bostic talked about an orderly approach to company building with Inc.'s George Gendron and Bo Burlingham.* * *
INC.: We hear a lot about the chaos of fast growth -- the sense of always being a step away from the next crisis. You've had one company that grew more than 50,000% in five years, and now you've got another that's on an even faster track. How do you keep your sanity?
BOSTIC: For one thing, I don't agree that growth has to be chaotic. I think that's a total myth. There may be chaotic moments and times of crisis, but it's completely unnecessary to deal from crisis to crisis. In fact, that way of managing undermines your ability to grow.* * *
INC.: I can assure you that many companies do grow that way.
BOSTIC: Yes, but I'll bet most of them can't keep it up. If you want to achieve significant revenue growth, you need order, not chaos. You need to have things well planned and well thought out. Everybody has to be singing out of the same hymnbook.* * *
INC.: Are you saying that someone can actually plan the kind of growth you've experienced?
BOSTIC: I'm saying it has to be planned. You have to take your vision, think it through, and turn it into a consistent strategy. And then you have to get it on paper. That's key. I maintain that if you can't put your vision on paper, you can never do it in the real world.* * *
INC.: Wait a minute. There are thousands of successful companies founded by people who don't have a consistent strategy and who wouldn't dream of putting their vision on paper.
BOSTIC: You're talking about companies that are one-man shows. I think there are severe limits to what those companies can achieve. Yes, if you're guiding the ship out front and pulling everybody else along, you don't need to write it down. But if you want to be able to walk out of the room and have life continue in an orderly way, you'd better put your vision and your plan on paper.* * *
INC.: This is beginning to sound a lot like strategic planning.
BOSTIC: No, not at all. With strategic planning, you have a separate group that creates the plan, and then everybody is told to go out and follow it. That's never worked, and it never will. I'm talking about the opposite. I'm talking about planning as a way to get people on board. I want people to buy into the plan, so it isn't just my plan anymore. It becomes theirs as well. That way, I know everybody is following the same road map when we go out into the real world. But the process begins with putting the vision down on paper. If people never see the vision -- or if it's here today, gone tomorrow -- there's no way they can get into it, and there's no way they can buy into the plan.
INC.: So when you talk about vision, you don't mean simply an image or an ideal that exists in the mind of the founder.
BOSTIC: Absolutely not. There are blue-sky thinkers all over the place, but I wouldn't call them visionary. To me, vision is not only the ability to see what needs to be done. It's also the ability to put together a plan to get you there. A vision doesn't amount to much if you can't develop a strategy and an organization to achieve it. I believe the best way to do that is to get your people to adopt the vision as their own. That means they have see it, understand it, contribute to it. But first, you have to give them something to look at.* * *
INC.: This is a tangent, but I suspect many readers will find it odd to hear an entrepreneur talking so passionately about the need for planning, order, and putting things down on paper.
BOSTIC: Frankly, I detest the word entrepreneur. I prefer to think of myself as an enterprising individual.* * *
INC.: What do you mean?
BOSTIC: Enterprising individuals are people who want to control their own destiny. They're resourceful and disciplined. They can take an idea and do something with it. They've usually been educated in the corporate environment. They understand the marketplace; they understand people; they have the knowledge and skills to be on their own.* * *
INC.: How is that different from an entrepreneur?
BOSTIC: In my mind, an entrepreneur is someone who doesn't care much about information or facts. He operates on instinct, on his gut feeling. He's liable to pull out both guns at any moment and start blazing away. Those guys can be successful in a competitive world, but they create havoc with everybody around them. They're always rolling the dice. They take big risks all the time. I'm really opposed to risk. I hate it. I like to manage an environment so that there is as little risk as possible.
INC.: A high-growth start-up seems like a funny place to go to avoid risk.
BOSTIC: I actually think it's a lot riskier to work in large publicly traded corporations, which I did for more than 10 years.* * *
INC.: How is it riskier?
BOSTIC: You have no control over your destiny. You can succeed in a big company and still get the ax. That's the ultimate risk, if you ask me. I see it happen all the time with people I know in big corporations. They work their butts off, do a great job, and then get thrown out or forced into early retirement. It doesn't matter how high up you go, either. In my own case, the further I moved along in the corporate environment and the higher I got, the more I realized I was not in control. And the situation is even more turbulent now. In the old days, the guard would change, and you'd realign yourself with the new guy's thoughts. Today the whole division gets sold out, spun out, divorced, LBOed. That's risk.* * *
INC.: OK, but I still don't see why it's so much less risky to be running a start-up that's growing several thousand percent each year.
BOSTIC: It's less risky because you have a degree of control. You're free to analyze the situation and make your own decision. Now it's true you're on the high wire with no net. So if you don't know what you're doing, you're definitely at risk. No question about it. But there are ways to take a lot of the risk out of the game, and it's critical to know what they are. You have to get the experience and sophistication you need to make the right decisions. We've all seen people get an idea, take it to a certain point, and then just die because they don't have the wherewithal to pull it off. They don't know how to sell, finance, account, plan, think strategically, position themselves. Or they don't know how to stabilize themselves when the wind blows and the wire loosens up. So they fall off. That happened to me the first time I tried it.* * *
INC.: I thought American Photo Group was your first experience running your own business.
BOSTIC: No, I had a Burger Chef franchise when I was 21. It was terrible. I was thrown into two weeks of training at a hamburger school, and I didn't understand anything. I worked seven days a week, 12 to 15 hours a day. I took off one afternoon for my wife's uncle's funeral. I didn't know what was going on. I couldn't tell day from night -- for seven months. I must have been one of the worst managers Burger Chef ever had. But I had so many things go wrong. We were in a shopping center that was under construction, and there was a big economic crisis. Interest rates shot through the roof. So they stopped building the shopping center and shut down the road in front of us. The whole thing was a disaster. My father-in-law helped finance the deal, and we lost everything he put into it -- $70,000.* * *
INC.: Did you go bankrupt?
BOSTIC: No, I sold out to a guy who already had some other Burger Chefs. He got greedy and decided he wanted to control the entire west coast of Florida, where we were located. He bought it right before I went under.* * *
INC.: It sounds as though you might have had trouble no matter how knowledgeable you'd been.
BOSTIC: Had I been knowledgeable, I would have avoided the situation altogether. There were half a dozen warning signals out there that I didn't know enough to look for. If I'd been watching the economy, for example, I could have anticipated the rise in interest rates. If I'd understood construction, I would have realized that the shopping center development was likely to slow down. I should never have been in that business, but I wasn't sophisticated enough to know it.
INC.: How did you respond to your failure?
BOSTIC: I realized that I had to go back and get some lessons, and I felt that a big corporation was the best place to learn.
INC.: Do you still believe that?
BOSTIC: I believe you need to develop skills and acquire experience. You can do that in big corporations, but it's important to know what you're looking for. Most people don't get a range of experiences in a big company. They get stuck in a very narrow window for a long time. So I advise young people to get the corporate education but have a clear plan. Move around. Learn what you need to learn. Then step out of the corporate environment and get into your own enterprise.* * *
INC.: But can you really apply skills developed in a big company to a start-up? Aren't the conditions so different as to make the experience from one situation pretty much irrelevant to the other?
BOSTIC: Not at all. I'm talking about basic business skills -- how to sell, how to market, how to create a plan and how to execute it, how to think strategically, how to handle profit-and-loss responsibility. I would never have been able to build American Photo Group or this new business without the skills I acquired in big companies.* * *
INC.: You're giving those companies an awful lot of credit. I mean, how much of that stuff can really be learned?
BOSTIC: It can all be learned.* * *
INC.: Even selling? I know a lot of people who would say that 95% of selling is natural talent.
BOSTIC: I don't buy that. Of course, some people have more natural ability than others, but selling is not an art. It's a discipline. There's a specific selling process you have to go through, and anyone can learn it. It involves taking all the different steps, reducing them to a checklist, and then executing them one by one. There's no magic to it, and you don't need a lot of natural talent. What you need is a disciplined, organized approach to selling. If you have that, you'll outperform the great salesman who doesn't understand the process every time. Selling can definitely be learned.* * *
INC.: But are you likely to learn it in a big company?
BOSTIC: It depends on the company. I was fortunate that my first job after Burger Chef was at American Hospital Supply Corp., where they really do teach you how to sell. They teach a systematic approach to selling to an entire hospital. We had a 250-man sales force at American. When I left after about five years, I'd moved up into the top 10 or 15, not because I was such a great salesman, but because I had learned the process.* * *
INC.: How do you know you weren't a great salesman?
BOSTIC: Because, after American, I worked with really great salesmen. I had five guys working for me in the Atlanta branch, and four of them were so much better than I was, I couldn't believe it. This was at one of American's competitors, a company called IPCO -- International Products Corp. Now IPCO's approach was entirely different from American's. It didn't take inexperienced people and teach them to sell. It brought in top-flight salespeople who already knew their way around. IPCO had no training and no systems. That's why it's important to have a plan when you set out to get your corporate education. You have to think about what you need to learn and make sure you go where you can learn it.
INC.: OK, but I still can't help thinking there's a lot more to it than that. You didn't build American Photo Group to $100 million in six years with basic business skills.
BOSTIC: Of course, there's more to it. For one thing, you have to know the industry. I don't think you can walk into any competitive market, wave a magic wand, and suddenly have a $100-million company. You have to know a market really well, especially if you're going to do a start-up. By the time I started American Photo Group, I'd been in the photo industry for seven years, and I had a very clear idea of what I was going to do. I also knew a lot of people I could bring into the company, and I had a lot of outside contacts as well. So I'm not saying it's just a matter of acquiring a few skills. There's a whole range of knowledge, experiences, and connections you need if you're going to pull off this kind of growth in an orderly manner, with a minimum of risk.* * *
INC.: Then you're not saying this is the only way to do it, just the safest.
BOSTIC: Look. I can't deny that some people are successful operating strictly off their gut instincts -- the people I think of as entrepreneurs. Sooner or later, though, the company usually outgrows them, assuming it doesn't just die.* * *
INC.: Why can't these entrepreneurs simply hire someone with the necessary business sophistication to help manage the company?
BOSTIC: They can, but it's like mixing oil and water. I don't think entrepreneurs understand the role of the rational manager. They haven't grown up with data and information and strategy. Deep down, they don't trust that approach to running a company. They may even resent the sophisticated guy they bring in. They certainly don't pay much attention to him. He comes in with his plan and his facts, and they dismiss everything he says. Then they go charging ahead on their instincts. I tell you, the guys they bring in get very, very frustrated.* * *
INC.: I gather you speak from experience.
BOSTIC: I was the guy brought into Berkey Photo. Ben Berkey was almost 70 years old at the time, and an entrepreneur in the true sense of the word.
INC.: But not an enterprising individual?
BOSTIC: No. When I talk about enterprising individuals, I mean people who take a rational and orderly approach to business. They usually come out of big corporations. Most of the ones I know have been fired. They've said, "Look, I'm not going back into that corporate environment. I've got severance pay; I've got knowledge; I'm going to take what I've got and leverage it into getting control of my destiny." I suspect more enterprising people's businesses have been founded off of severance pay than any other source of capital.* * *
INC.: It's an interesting distinction you make between entrepreneurs and enterprising people, but I'm not sure I understand how these differences manifest themselves when you actually start building a company. What does someone like you do differently from a Ben Berkey?
BOSTIC: One of the main differences has to do with developing a team. I'm not a guy who feels comfortable calling every shot. I don't ever want any aspect of the business to be reliant on my judgment alone. But I have to admit that I find some of Ben's characteristics popping up from time to time.* * *
INC.: Do you mean you start acting like him?
BOSTIC: I mean that I'm not always as open to other people's input as I should be. I feel I've got the situation pretty well sized up, and someone comes along and raises a point that I don't think has much depth to it. I try to find the nicest way to say, "OK. I appreciate your thoughts, but we're going to do it this way." I become somewhat authoritarian. Now, there's a reason for this. It has to do with time. When you're in the start-up mode, everything is compressed. You make the wrong move, and you can go right out. It clearly is the high wire. What's more, you've got a bunch of people up there on the high wire with you, and you have to make damn sure they don't fall off. Because if they fall off, you can go with them.
INC.: It sounds very tricky.
BOSTIC: It is. It's a situation where your greatest strength can become your greatest weakness. One of my strengths is that I have a very detailed understanding of what we're doing. After all, I've been building this company for a long time. I've been thinking about it in one form or another since 1975, when I went to work for Berkey. A lot of the people we bring in aren't at that point yet. They don't have complete knowledge of the business in all its aspects and ramifications. I have to get them up to speed as fast as possible, so we can go out in the real world and not make huge mistakes. We need to avoid huge mistakes, and we can't have people going off on tangents. One person firing out in left field can cause a lot of damage at this stage of the game. So it's critical that we all approach things from a single direction. Not that we won't change and adjust as we go along, but we have to make sure we're in sync. Out of sync at any given time can kill you. That's why I tend to be a taskmaster in getting people to understand and follow the plan. But there's a danger in that.* * *
INC.: What's the danger?
BOSTIC: The danger is that I won't allow the organization to grow, that I will become the sole controller of our destiny. That's the Ben Berkey syndrome, and it worries me. If I become too dominant a force in too many areas, if I impose my way of thinking on other people, we could be in just as much trouble as if we get out of sync.* * *
BOSTIC: Because I could be wrong.* * *
INC.: Maybe that's just a risk you have to take during the start-up phase.
BOSTIC: Maybe it is, but it's a real one just the same. If you want to grow the way we do, you have to have a team that functions smoothly in the field. You can't have one guy calling the shots, or you'll make those huge mistakes. Because a fast-growing start-up that's operating in the real world has to be able to respond quickly and change constantly. To do that, you need excellent communication with your people. They have to be able to contribute their ideas. Yes, you still make the final decision. You have to choose between ideas from this guy and that guy -- that's where your gut instincts play a legitimate and important role. But you can't make good decisions unless you're getting good information and good ideas. And you may not get that kind of input if you're too dominant a force.* * *
INC.: I guess a lot depends on the kind of people you have in your company. Why do you think they're here? What motivates them?
BOSTIC: I think they want to be part of something. They like challenge; they like esprit de corps; they want to win. That feeling of being on a winning team is a big deal to a lot of people.* * *
INC.: What about the financial rewards?
BOSTIC: Every one of my top 20 people will be multimillionaires if we succeed. They all have stock, which they bought very cheap. If this company achieves what we think it can, that stock could be worth $1,000 a share. All of them will make a ton of money. It's not just them, either. My office manager has 1,000 shares, which could be worth $1 million.* * *
INC.: I imagine that's a big motivator.
BOSTIC: It's a motivator for me. I like creating the opportunity for people to have economic independence. And I'm sure it motivates them as well. But they also like being out front. I really think everybody likes to win. So I try to create a winning environment, where people get along and there's no politics. Absolutely no politics. If I find politics here, that's a sure way for someone to see the door. I want everybody to channel their energies into achieving the objectives of the company and their own personal goals. In this company, you don't leapfrog somebody else for any reason other than your own productivity.* * *
INC.: What about your personal goals? You keep talking about controlling your destiny. What exactly do you mean by that?
BOSTIC: I mean having total freedom to pursue whatever you want to do. Now let me add that not everybody wants control of their destiny. It's a scary thing to some people. But it's very important to enterprising individuals.
INC.: Have you always been driven by this desire to control your destiny?
BOSTIC: Yes, I'd say so. It really goes back to my dad and mother, who were both in their own business. And my father-in-law was a big influence, too. He was an entrepreneur in the best sense -- a guy with good instincts, a terrific people person. He tried to help me do my own thing with the Burger Chef franchise. After I failed, I realized I had to go about it in a different way, but I was still working toward the goal of controlling my own destiny. It was a step-by-step process like anything else.* * *
INC.: How do you mean?
BOSTIC: In order to control your destiny, you need economic independence. At least most of us do. A lot of people would like to walk in and tell the boss to go pound sand, but that's tough to do -- especially if you have responsibility for a family. So you need economic security, which means building equity. Salary I always considered to be something you spend. Equity is something you build. If you want to be completely independent, you have to build a lot of equity. That takes time and planning, and you need to establish intermediate goals along the way.* * *
INC.: Can you give us an example?
BOSTIC: Well, I got my first taste of equity at PepsiCo, but it wasn't very satisfying because I couldn't affect the value of the stock. It was too big an ocean. Nothing I did had any measurable effect on the value of a share of PepsiCo. So I came up with a personal goal, which was to get into a position where I could have impact on earnings per share. Otherwise, you can have lots of equity but still have no real control over your net worth. That's one reason I took the job at Berkey.* * *
INC.: You eventually sold American Photo for $45 million. Did that give you the economic security you were seeking?
BOSTIC: Yes, and that was one of my specific goals in starting the company. I wanted to get that out of the way. I'd just finished working for two of the world's biggest jerks. I wasn't going through that again. I made up my mind that, if there had to be a jerk in a company, the next time it would be me.* * *
INC.: Why did you wait so long to go off on your own?
BOSTIC: I wasn't ready. When Ben and I reached our final impasse, I walked out with six months of severance pay, which was only enough to keep me going to the next job. Then I became president of Nimslo Corp., a start-up camera company, and equity was a big part of the deal. That was another bad experience, but at least I left with $1.2 million. So then I had capital; I had a plan; and I was really ready to do my own thing.* * *
INC.: I'm confused about something. If you achieved economic independence when you sold American Photo Group, what is your goal now?
BOSTIC: My goal is to build a company worth $1 billion and sell it in four or five years.* * *
INC.: Why a $1-billion company?
BOSTIC: To be honest, I don't know. I've got all the material things I'll ever need, so it's not that. It's just my goal. I don't know why. It's there. It's a challenge. If I ever do it, I suppose there'll be something else.* * *
INC.: Why have you already decided to sell the business? Why don't you keep it?
BOSTIC: I always like to know how I'm going to get out of a business before I get in. I think the worst thing you can do is to fall in love with a business and lose your objectivity. You shouldn't even start without an exit strategy. If you don't have one, then you haven't really thought through what you're doing, and you'd be wise to wait. You can always modify the plan as you go along, but you should have an exit point in mind.* * *
INC.: I don't understand your logic.
BOSTIC: Look. Business is free enterprise. Free enterprise is subject to the ups and downs of any particular market at any particular time. Sooner or later, the pendulum swings. Something happens: technology changes, or your market changes, or there's a hurricane or an earthquake. You've put your whole life into this company, and now it isn't worth anything. What a terrible thing to have happen. If you want real freedom and real security, you have to cash in your equity, put the money in the bank, and start drawing interest on it. Because something can always happen tomorrow.* * *
INC.: But you already have real freedom and real security.
BOSTIC: It's still important to have a plan for getting out. It keeps you honest. It forces you to test the value of what you're doing. When you think about selling, you have to ask, would anyone else want to be in this business? If the answer is no, the next question is, why are you wasting your time? Business is a way to build equity and value. That means somebody must be willing to pay you for what you've created. If you can't get out what you put in, you should probably reassess what you're doing.* * *
INC.: Let's go back to your point about the danger of falling in love with the business. Some people would argue that a company's greatest strength is the passion and love an owner feels for it.
BOSTIC: They may be talking about something different. I agree that you should be in love with what you're doing. That's the real part of the business -- the people who are in it, the fun you have while you're doing it. I love that part of the business, too. I'm way beyond doing things I don't enjoy. If I don't have fun, I don't want to do it. But you shouldn't confuse what you do, and the people around you, with the business as a corporate entity. The business per se is a commodity, represented by certain pieces of paper called stock. The value of this business when I started it was zero. We're about to sell 30% of it for $25 million. So now the market value of the company is about $80 million. Here's my point: when the value of those pieces of paper reaches a certain level, I am more than happy to hand them over to someone else in exchange for compensation in kind. Because I'm not in love with the paper.* * *
INC.: So the danger of falling in love with the business is that. . . .
BOSTIC: You'll lose your objectivity. You won't be able to make the decisions that are in your best long-term interests. I've seen it happen. One of my last acts at Berkey was to shut down the New York City plant Ben had built in the company's early days. It was losing $1.7 million a year, and everybody agreed it had to be closed. Ben was in Europe then. The board signed off on the plan, but Ben hated it. When he came back, he went to visit the empty plant. I was told by one guy who walked through with him that he cried. He'd built this thing, and I'd closed it. We had our showdown soon afterward. He'd lost his objectivity. Eventually he lost his company.* * *
INC.: And that's what you didn't do with American Photo Group.
BOSTIC: That's right. I didn't fall in love with it. So I was able to grab the opportunity to sell the business, which was completely unexpected and came up overnight.
INC.: What happened?
BOSTIC: Kodak bought a competitor of ours, Fox Photo. Over the course of the next year, we were approached by four other firms who'd bid on Fox and lost. One of them made an offer for American Photo Group. I sized up the situation and decided to approach Kodak. Kodak didn't want us to be sold to these other people. So it bought us out instead. I could have said, "I really like this business, and I'm going to keep it and build it into a $1-billion company." We'd been planning to do that. We'd already begun to develop the technology we're building this new company around. But I kept my objectivity. What I really wanted was financial security. So I sold American Photo, and I was able to hold on to the technology in the negotiations. The irony is that, by selling the other company, I got the freedom and the cash I needed to do this one. I might not have been able to do it otherwise.* * *
INC.: How's that?
BOSTIC: A venture capitalist told me recently, "If you hadn't sold American Photo and made enough money to finance this thing, it would never have seen the light of day. In a corporate environment, nobody would have been single-minded enough to invest the time and the energy required to make it happen. If you'd been dealing with a VC, we would have owned you a long time ago, and we would never have allowed you to spend all the money it took to get this far."* * *
INC.: I take it you're spending a lot of money on this new venture.
BOSTIC: More than I should, I suppose. But because I had the freedom and the cash, we now own 100% of the company. Meanwhile, our shares -- 1 million of them -- are worth $80 a share. That's adding incredible value. That's more than I got out out of American Photo. And so far we've only completed a market test. Now it's true that you can't bank that valuation, and you can't sell it. If we found out tomorrow afternoon that our technology doesn't work, we'd be out of luck. But I don't think that will happen. I think we'll sell it in three or four years, just as we sold American Photo Group. In that sense, this is déjà vu.* * *
INC.: So you don't have any notions of building a monument here, of building something that is going to outlast you.
BOSTIC: I'm very keen on that, but it's not this business.* * *
INC.: What is it?
BOSTIC: It's the home I'm building, because that's my family, and my family is what my life is all about. It's the group of people we have here, and their futures, and their families. It's also Delphi Health & Science, which is a company I've started to deal with some of the tremendous learning problems we have in this country. You know, people with learning disabilities may constitute as much as 20% of the population. The implications of that are staggering. I'm working with Mogens Jensen, a clinical psychologist, to come up with a new technology that could revolutionize the way we handle these problems.* * *
INC.: So I guess you won't have to worry about running out of things to do.
BOSTIC: That's for sure. I'm keenly aware of where I want to go in the long term. This business is just a way to get there.