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After the Sale

Five ex-owners reveal the hidden emotional costs behind the decision to sell out.
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Roundtable members (in order of year of sale):

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Bernard A. Goldhirsh Age 50. Founded Sail magazine, 1970; sold to Meredith Corp., 1980, for estimated $12.5 million in cash. Approximate revenues year prior to sale: $8 million. Founded INC. magazine, 1979. Launched High Technology magazine, 1981.

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Dodge D. Morgan Age 58. Founded Controlonics, manufacturer of electronic communications products, 1971; sold to Dynatech for $37.5 million in stock, 1983. Approximate revenues year prior to sale: $26 million. Purchased Maine Times, a weekly newspaper, 1985. Performed solo, nonstop circumnavigation of the world on 60-foot American Promise, 1985 to '86. Wrote book, The Voyage of American Promise, 1989.

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John S. (Jay) Wurts Age 42. Cofounded Management Decision Systems (MDS), developer of advanced software, 1970; sold to Information Resources for about $47 million in stock, 1985. Approximate revenues year prior to sale: $27 million. Unemployed, 1985 to '88. Hired as chairman and CEO, Symbolics, 1988.

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Stanley I. Kravetz Age 57. Purchased The Frye Boot Co. from Alberto-Culver, 1985; sold to Reebok for an undisclosed sum, 1987. Approximate revenues year prior to sale: $15 million. President of Rockport, a division of Reebok, 1987. Created consulting firm The Kravetz Group, 1988.

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Eric Kriss Age 41. As member of venture capital team, began MediVision, a national network of eye-surgery centers, 1984; sold to Medical Care International for about $90 million in cash and stock, 1989. Approximate revenues year prior to sale: $50 million. Became president and CEO of Manson Kriss, a lingerie manufacturer, June 1, 1990.

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The five entrepreneurs who, at a roundtable this spring, agreed to air their experiences in INC.'s pages, share one significant event -- the selling of the multimillion-dollar company that each built. As ex-owners now confronting the what-to-do-next dilemma, however, their paths diverge markedly. One spanned the abyss by having started a second business even before the sale of the first. Another chose to sail alone around the world. A third opted to go to work for a large international concern, then quit to establish his own consulting firm. A fourth couldn't find anything challenging until, some 30 months later, he took on a turnaround try. A fifth -- the gathering's most recent seller -- was still undecided at the time of this discussion. What is most striking, however, is that their candid introspection reveals that parting with an owner-operated company is no simple matter, despite the lavish amounts of cash and freedom that result. As the following candidly discloses, there's apt to be remorse before the sale, a sense of loss in the doing, and pain and self-doubt in the aftermath. (The session was conducted by senior writer Robert A. Mamis.)

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INC.: What was the toughest interval -- deciding to sell, or right after the sale, or a lot later?

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KRISS: For me it wasn't after I sold the company, it was the six months before I sold when I knew it was going to happen and I was stepping out of an operating role. It got so painful that three months before the deal actually closed, I moved out of my office. I didn't go to work anymore.

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MORGAN: I moved to an office in a house about five miles away from the plant when I brought in my replacement. There was no way I could stay around for my own health -- and for his.

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WURTS: I wish I could have done that. I negotiated the deal and that was a lot of fun. I worked a week with the chairman of the new company figuring out which positions to put people in, and then there was nothing. The deal hadn't closed; there was another month before we got SEC approval for the stock registration, and there was nothing to do except pray the deal didn't fall through.

GOLDHIRSH: I had a hard time making the decision. In 1978 I asked students at the MIT Sloan School to do a study for an idea for a business magazine. When they confirmed what I suspected -- that there was a market for a magazine serving the entrepreneurial subset of the economy -- I decided to launch it. I thought I should sell Sail, but it was hard because I was so emotionally involved with it. I couldn't decide, so I went and sat on a beach in the Florida Keys for a while, just sat there with no distractions, and found myself oscillating. I could do it rationally but not emotionally. But once I made a decision, it was done.

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WURTS: I had a much harder time before I did it, too, agonizing over what would happen. Afterward, I felt liberated.

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KRAVETZ: It's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I don't regret for one second having sold.

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INC.: After you sold Frye Boot, you went back on salary. Did that feel strange?

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KRAVETZ: My feelings about selling my company have to do with how I bought it. I wasn't on a Florida beach; I was in California sitting around a hot tub with friends and drinking cabernet. I was working for Timberland then, but I'd always had a feeling for how to run Frye Boot. I watched its demise over the years: it used to be an $80-million business, now it was passing through $25 million. They kept making the wrong product at the wrong time. I called the chairman while I was in the tub. "You've got a problem, and I'm prepared to solve it -- I'll buy Frye Boot. But I won't spend a dime of my own money. You'll have to float everything." To make a long story short, he sent his plane for me, so I knew he was in lots of trouble. So I bought the company.

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INC.: And when did you decide to sell?

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KRAVETZ: Eighteen months into it, I got a call from [Reebok founder] Paul Fireman, whom I had worked for before. He said, "Give that company back to the Indians and come to work for me, I got a great deal for you." Still, I couldn't. I had brought people with me, and I owed it to them to stay with it. He said, "You're going to go down the tube with that thing." My $100,000 weekly payroll kept mounting, and I kept weakening. Six months later I sold. I got a pretty good package and went to work for Reebok. The whole thing was a rather modest interlude, one might say. You couldn't get me to be an operating guy again for anything!

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MORGAN: I knew I would sell my company from the time I founded it. I don't regret selling it, although the moment I did it, even though it was a logical conclusion, the emotional impact was great. I wanted to sell because if I didn't, I was afraid I'd grow old and still be running it. I was 55 -- that was the driving incentive.

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INC.: Not that it had peaked?

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MORGAN: No, I had shaped up that business to last forever. In fact, the company was accelerating. When I sold, it was doing $40 million; it was at $70 million two years after. Dynatech got something of real value. Then they screwed it up.

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WURTS: The buyer screwed up mine, too. It's painful to watch them change your company. But then, they paid for the privilege.

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INC.: Yet you stayed on.

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WURTS: I had to. I signed a three-year contract because it was a public company and they needed to show that management wasn't going to bolt. But I knew I couldn't stay for three years; I just didn't know how I was going to get out. And I felt since I had taken all that money from them, I had an obligation to stay, and it was the worst nine months in my life.

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INC.: What went wrong?

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WURTS: The company that bought us was not much bigger than we were, and they wanted to merge the companies totally, and there's not room for two CEOs in a company like that. I wasn't about to go from a CEO to an operating guy. So there wasn't anything for me to do.

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INC.: Had you planned to sell from the beginning, like Dodge?

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WURTS: A lot like Dodge. We had always intended to go public or sell out in a blaze of glory. We thought we'd do it in a couple of years; had we known it would take 15, we never would've started it. But it turned out to be more fun to run a larger company than I thought. I was 21 when we started, and I couldn't imagine what it would be like to have 16 people, much less 250. Then there was a stretch in the middle '70s when you couldn't sell a software company like ours, so we went through a period of not even trying. We figured we were paying ourselves probably twice our market value, we owned the business 100% and had no outside investors, we were growing the thing at 50% a year, it was profitable, and we were having a great time. But I was frustrated because I couldn't get any data on what going public was like. I used to grab everyone who was public and ask, do you spend half your time doing boring stuff? Can you still run your own company? And I didn't know anyone who had sold a company.

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INC.: Eric, you're a bit different in that you were picked by a venture firm to build and run a company.

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KRISS: My decision to sell the company was relatively easy: there didn't seem to be a whole lot of alternatives. When I started MediVision in '84, it was venture-backed from day one. It wasn't even my idea. Stockholders need liquidity, so there was no question of a hundred years. I always assumed that at some point soon, I wasn't going to be there.

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WURTS: I always assumed we would sell when the numbers looked good for the right number of quarters and we were profitable and growing, and we'd sell with amazing timing. Eventually it hit me that that's wrong, that you can't control when you get the best price. The stock market goes crazy every number of years and pays ridiculous multiples and IPOs are easy. At other times, you can't even do them. It's out of your control. So I changed the strategy completely. I said, I'm not going for this blaze of glory and then sell the company. Instead, I'm going to keep it profitable and always acceptable, so if somebody wanted it, they could buy it. If someone offers me a fair price for the company, I'm going to turn them down. I'm going to be prepared to wait until somebody comes along who's willing to pay a ridiculous price, then I'm going to take it on the spot. That's how you make real money with your business -- not selling it for a fair price.

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GOLDHIRSH: I have a question about regrets. You may start a company with the intention of selling it, but what if you get emotionally involved? Many people who start a company, or even are asked to run one, unexpectedly get absorbed in it. The relationships they have with their employees and their customers become their identity. The company justifies their existence in ways that are totally different from when they started out.

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MORGAN: I view myself as having only been my company's steward for a while. When a buyer comes up with cash, you revert back to what drove you to build the business from scratch in the first place, mortgaging your house and all that. "Hey, there's a buyer out there -- that's why I grew this business."

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INC.: And you had something else you wanted to do right away. That must have helped.

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MORGAN: Anyone who sells his company and doesn't have something else to do is going to run into trouble.

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GOLDHIRSH: But you didn't have to take the cash and leave. You could've gotten somebody to run it, sailed around the world for a year as you did, come back, and continued on with it. Don't you regret not having done it that way?

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MORGAN: No. The regrets I have about selling have more to do with the loss of the culture we created in the company. We had built a decentralized decision-making machine. There were no officers, no trappings of rank anywhere in the company. We were institutionalizing chaos in a way. To see that stepped on was what I regret; I thought the power of the people would keep rolling, despite the new leadership style.

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GOLDHIRSH: If you could have predicted that what happened was going to happen, would you have taken a different course?

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MORGAN: The culture issue is something you think of only later. That culture didn't start with your employees, you developed it. You developed a theme as to how people related to you. It fed down to your employees, they liked it, and those employees attracted other employees. If I had left the company with a powerful leader in place, the culture would've continued, I think. I can't blame Dynatech that it didn't.

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KRISS: The culture I miss is going to work in the morning and being around four or five people I enjoy, and spending time with them during the day in a social/work environment. You can't re-create it outside, you can't have reunions, you can't get it back through dinner parties. It's never the same after you're not in your role and they're not in theirs. It's gone forever.

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INC: Didn't they resent your selling the company and abandoning them?

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WURTS: Somewhat, but half our people owned stock. The sale created seven or eight millionaires.

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MORGAN: About five, in mine.

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WURTS: If I had found a way to get my money out and felt I wasn't deserting my people, I might've left sooner. In any event, everyone in the company expected it to be sold. They had stock in it. We couldn't not sell it. I had this very high offer -- $50 million for a company with $27 million in sales that hadn't had a very good year that particular year. And it looked like almost all our people would find good roles in the new company.

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INC.: Now that you've all accomplished enviable ends, why not take off and essentially just poke around?

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GOLDHIRSH: I couldn't bail out and be a wanderer.

MORGAN: One of the problems of how you end up after the sale -- and I'm getting used to it now -- is doing a number of things poorly, rather than one thing well.

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INC.: Can you elaborate?

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MORGAN: When you're in your company, you're doing that one thing well to the exclusion of everything else. Now I own a newspaper in Maine, that takes only a day a week. I'm on the board of a small boat-building company, that takes a little more time. These things are like part-time jobs.

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KRAVETZ: Why do you feel you're not doing them well? They're just not as big.

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MORGAN: I sit there and spend maybe 15 minutes on an important subject, and I don't treat it very thoroughly or very well. I leave each one saying "I really didn't do that justice." I'm happier on the line.

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GOLDHIRSH: When you were running Controlonics, it reached a size where you really weren't on the line. You were directing others who were on the line.

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MORGAN: Aah, but then I had the same vision every day.

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GOLDHIRSH: And now you're reacting to someone else's vision.

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WURTS: That's the difference! I spent two years and five months not working, and I learned a lot about what it's like. In particular, that you can't schedule every minute. If somebody canceled a meeting, I had nothing to do that day! That's when I told myself I absolutely, positively will work full-time again. I'm not going to run the risk of ever having nothing to do.

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KRAVETZ: It's stupid, but I recognize the mind-set. You generate such a high level of activity via your business that you can't slow the pace when you're away from it. When I was putting together a deal in Switzerland, I went to Zurich for two or three days a month for four months. I love to ski, but I never took even one stinking day off. That left an indelible mark; it was one of the motivating issues for selling.

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MORGAN: I recognize that mind-set, too. It's a spiritual thing; it has nothing to do with money or power. The values we're talking about aren't measured by any standard unit of exchange.

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KRISS: When I was with MediVision, I was thinking about that company, dreaming about it, without stopping. I thought about it in the shower, going to sleep. I might not have been at my desk or by a telephone, but I was constantly, totally immersed in it, to the extent that everything else -- a conversation when it wasn't about the business, for example -- was interference.

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MORGAN: You weren't a very desirable guest, I guess.

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KRISS: Probably not. But what's happened since is the pendulum is going in the opposite direction. Instead of a unilateral, single-minded focus, my focus is fragmented. I'm doing maybe 30 different things. I see it as an exercise to explore a lot of alternatives.

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GOLDHIRSH: Everyone needs a medium -- especially entrepreneurs. When a business owner sells out, it's like taking clay away from a sculptor. How do you use incidental business vehicles as a medium for creative expression?

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MORGAN: The only way to do it -- and I'm beginning to learn how -- is to be satisfied by seeing others engaging themselves in that same dream and to help them stay out of trouble. My job there is support -- a cheering section -- for the people who are new at running companies. I hope I can add some value through my experience. A teaching function, now, rather than a doing function.

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WURTS: Helping start-up companies by bringing them the benefit of your experience is useful. People I talk to who sold and went totally cold turkey to doing nothing suffered a crisis of self-confidence after about a month, saying "Gee, I must have been lucky. I could never do it again." I never had those doubts, in part because I was helping start-up companies and I'd get a shot of, "Yeah, I've still got it. Maybe I'm not doing it right now, but still, I wasn't just lucky, I know something."

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INC.: Do you all feel differently about money now -- having a lot of it all at once?

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WURTS: People who haven't sold companies think that you create a tremendous amount of wealth the instant you sell. But you've built up this wealth all along. All it does is change the value from one form to another.

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MORGAN: You're already making a lot before you sell your business, or you wouldn't be able to sell it.

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WURTS: I felt simply that I was more liquid. In fact, I felt poorer, because I wasn't going up in value. When I was running it, I thought I was getting more valuable every year. After I sold it, it was a fixed number.

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GOLDHIRSH: For me, it was anticlimactic. After the deal was done, the funds were wired, so it wasn't even money. It was an electronic signal, like looking in an oscilloscope. It's not like somebody shows up with a briefcase.

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KRAVETZ: I think of material things differently now. The odd thing is, it's a more conservative outlook. And I can't tell why.

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WURTS: I got rid of my Porsche! I had a Porsche before I sold, and bought an Audi 5000 Quattro that I could drive in the winter, and then I got rid of it and bought an Audi 90.

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MORGAN: That won't go down in the annals of conservatism.

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KRAVETZ: Once you know you're wealthy, you find there's no need to express it. The motivation to spend fades away.

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INC.: Jay mentioned that he had no models for selling and therefore didn't for a while. How did the rest of you determine whether to sell or to go public?

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KRISS: We tried to go public. We had our final drafting session on October 19, 1987! A secretary came in and announced the Dow was down 300 points. Obviously, we didn't go. The only other option was to sell the company. We hired an investment banker and made it known we could be bought.

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INC.: Did the sale price ever recover?

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KRISS: That's hard to answer, because of the accounting of the deal. It was a purchase, not a pooling of interests. If you factor in all of the advantages to structuring the sale that way, we sold for a P/E of about 18, which, for an emerging growth company after the crash, wasn't bad.

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MORGAN: We sold for about 14 P/E. The stock fell apart afterward because there was so much overhang from the new stock issued for my company that it raised holy hell with Dynatech stock.

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INC.: They paid you totally in stock?

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MORGAN: Yes. My sale was a pooling of interests.

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WURTS: We did a stock pooling of interests, too.

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INC.: It behooves you in that case to make sure the buyer knows how to run your company -- to keep you rich until you can sell the stock.

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WURTS: It's very scary. You've sold your company but you haven't sold your company.

INC.: Then why undertake a pooling of interests? There are SEC restrictions.

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WURTS: It's a big tax advantage. In a software company, you have few assets; what you sell is goodwill. If it's not a pooling of interests, the buyer has to put it on the balance sheet as goodwill and write it off over a period of years. With pooling, however, there's no tax consequences.

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MORGAN: And for the seller, it's like going public and instantly having a trading market for your stock.

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WURTS: Sometimes there are restrictions in the deal, as well. We agreed we wouldn't sell more than 20% the first year and 25% the second. After that, we were unrestricted.

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MORGAN: On the assumption that what entrepreneurs screw up most is the selling of their companies, I went to an investment seminar where 600 financial types and presidents got up and presented their companies that maybe were going public. I wanted to hear how they described things, what values they put on them. I sat in the audience and thought, how can I compete -- listening to them, each company was going to be as big as the gross national product by the time it was 10 years out. I knew then that I would never run a public company.

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WURTS: Being public is like signing up for enlistment in the Army: you keep agreeing to five more years. You can't get any money out, because when you sell as the president of a public company, you discourage everybody else. Going public is the way if you're desperate to get a little money, but really want to end up keeping the company. Or if the company itself needs the money. Ours didn't, so a public offering wasn't a good vehicle for us: we couldn't get enough out.

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INC.: Is there a postpartum depression of a sort that hits after you've sold?

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MORGAN: It's painful -- that's one way of saying it. People don't change quickly. Do not expect to be different in a week.

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INC.: Not even if they do something dramatic, like sail around the world?

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MORGAN: In retrospect, the problem arose after returning. Returning was extraordinarily, excruciatingly painful. Suddenly I was going nowhere. At least when I was sailing, I was making progress toward a goal -- 90 miles, 200 miles, a day. But I didn't know where I was going when I came back. Nowhere was where I was going.

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WURTS: I was envious when I read Dodge's book. Here's a guy who had a company, sold it, got the money, and then went right on to do something he wanted to do. Perfect! Whereas I had dumped myself out with nothing to do. Hearing that, I'm not so envious.

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MORGAN: It was something, coming back from complete solitude and being shot out of a cannon into the center ring of a circus. I barked and rolled over and did what I was supposed to. Friends who had come there to see me, I never even said hello to -- I was spending my time talking to reporters. That celebrity crap, it's unsatisfying.

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INC.: But don't you agree there's something to being a business star, that there's a certain fame to building outstanding businesses? If not, then what's in it for you?

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WURTS: I don't think founders do it because they want the fame. They want the sense of accomplishment.

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GOLDHIRSH: And when you don't have a sense of destination anymore for the people in your company, it's time to go out and find a new vision.

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MORGAN: It's the intensity of that vision that has a lot to do with the problem of change. Some people lead productive and happy lives without intensely chasing goals.

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WURTS: That's why entrepreneurs are special. Another person's vision won't work for an entrepreneur.

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KRISS: It really can't be somebody else's. Most, if not all, the entrepreneurs I know have a hard time working for other people. Not that you can't be in collaboration with others, but you have a hard time taking certain kinds of directions at a high level from other people. Maybe that's what, in part, creates that intensity.

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INC.: Statistics say that a large percentage of people who sell businesses later admit they regret having sold them. Can you reflect on why that might be?

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WURTS: It's precisely because they don't have anything to do. Their kids are in school, they can't get up and leave and change their lives.

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INC.: What advice would you give INC. readers?

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WURTS: I think you should find out the next thing before you get rid of the first thing.

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GOLDHIRSH: What about the idea of the unknown? In other words, drop off a cliff into a black hole, and confront who you are and what your deep needs are. Isn't that a valuable experience?

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WURTS: No. You're saying get rid of everything and start all over again for the hell of it. Most people aren't that gutsy. The sane thing to do is take time off.

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GOLDHIRSH: But it's not the same thing.

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WURTS: It absolutely is the same thing. You can find out just what getting out of the rat race is like by taking six months off.

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MORGAN: It's different. You're renewing your spirit for the venture, which you go back to. You ought to sell your company first, then sit down and logically go through alternatives. Come up with your next plan without having to hurry.

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KRISS: I think people who do that are miserable.

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WURTS: I did it, and I was miserable.

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GOLDHIRSH: If you take a six-month sabbatical, you may realize that what you already have is an ideal platform from which to go on to the next, bigger project. That's one reason people might regret having sold their companies.

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MORGAN: Realistically, how many entrepreneurs can take six months off?

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WURTS: They think they can't, but they can.

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GOLDHIRSH: Oh, yeah, they definitely can.

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WURTS: Hire a chief operating officer, get some good vice-presidents. Most entrepreneurs won't put a second team underneath them. They feel they have to be everything themselves. If they could just do that, they'd cure a big reason for selling. Go take six months off, let everybody else do the stuff you've gotten tired of.

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GOLDHIRSH: The other thing about a sale is its trauma. It's irreversible. If you take time off, at least you can think about it.

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KRISS: Your relationship with your family changes, too. If you're suddenly home 20 days a month, it's going to affect everyone.

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MORGAN: And you've already told us what wonderful company you are.

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GOLDHIRSH: For me, and I think for most, the mystery is the fun. When you're starting a new company, there's so much mystery. It's predictability that gets to you. I equate predictability with boredom. You know the kinds of problems you have to solve, and you know you can solve them. You've agonized those problems through time and again, and even the agony is predictable. You must have that mystery; you must not know how it's going to come out.

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KRAVETZ: One of the great reasons for an entrepreneur to sell a business is that the business is predictable. You're so used to living in an aura of risk that when you know what's going to happen, when you become CEO of a staid and stable environment, you realize that's not what you signed up for. That could be more a motivating factor than getting a good price.

GOLDHIRSH: I agree. And that ties into the concept of vision. If you still have a vision, there's still mystery. Once you achieve the vision and the business gets there, you start to wallow in it.

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WURTS: You've got to have the next goal in place, or you're stuck. I remember finally getting profitable, and there was a letdown: now what do we do?

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KRAVETZ: The difference is the operating guy likes predictability, and the entrepreneur likes risk. When risk is excised from the equation, you have a problem.

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KRISS: One of the things that has happened over the last decade -- maybe because of the popular press -- is that entrepreneurs seem to be characterized as people who do what they do to make a lot of money. If there were a list of motivating factors, making money is going to be toward the bottom. For some, it is the bottom.

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WURTS: Well, I started my business because I wanted to make money, but I wouldn't have started it if I hadn't also had a vision for a product. And that's why I didn't start a second business. After I sold MDS, I had the cash, I had the people, I had everything I needed -- except I couldn't find a vision for a product to get excited about. If I had, I guarantee I would have started another company from scratch. It had to be a big idea -- that's the problem.

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KRISS: Now there are these venture funds buying companies and doing deals to make money as the number-one motivating factor. It's all been institutionalized. Instead of a visionary entrepreneur saying he'll put together his own company and do it for reasons beyond the fact that he's going to make an economic return, you now have people with M.B.A.s whose only reason for doing it is economic return.

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KRAVETZ: Wait a minute. Their vision is money, your vision was some particular product. There's nothing wrong with their vision.

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KRISS: I can name lots of examples of deals that were done recently without any overriding strategic vision of any kind other than a good way to make 10 times on your money instead of 3 times.

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KRAVETZ: If you find a way to make 10 times more that way than any other way, what's wrong with that?

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KRISS: It's short term, that's what's wrong.

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GOLDHIRSH: What's wrong with it is that we're not building things of enduring value. It's like playing chess: the game may be challenging, but when it's over, nothing's been built.

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KRISS: Here's a typical cycle: an entrepreneur builds a company and sells it to an enterprise that doesn't have the same kind of personal investment he does. It has purely financial motives. A year or two later the company's a complete wreck. There's no transfer of vision from the entrepreneur; no one else has that kind of direction.

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WURTS: But that problem stems from the entrepreneur. He builds up the company and it becomes successful. Then he says I need to do something else, I'm no longer the right guy to run this, let the operating guys do it. What happens is, its world changes. Then the business needs that vision again. The people in it don't recognize the world as changed, and they run the company as before. Reacting to change is what the entrepreneur is good at, yet he's gone.

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MORGAN: I think you're right. In fact, an entrepreneur causes change.

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INC.: How did you all take care of your employees?

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KRISS: MediVision had some 500 employees, of whom 450 were in the field. They were going to be there no matter what. It was the 50 people or so in Boston that I was concerned about. Of those, top management was 10 or 12, and I knew realistically that at least half wouldn't survive. That was tough. But today, they're all talking to me.

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INC.: You could have taken them and started another business with them.

* * *

KRISS: You can't do that. It's like if you took your grown-up children and decided you were going to re-create your family when they were kids. For example, the guy who took over as president as my replacement at MediVision started out as my corporate counsel. He developed tremendously during those years. You can't turn the clock back and say, OK, let's go back to the way we were.

* * *

INC.: Did anyone set up the people left behind with employment contracts?

* * *

MORGAN: I didn't demand employment contracts, because I was sure our people would earn their way. But one thing I did convince Dynatech to do was set up an incentive stock option plan. I hadn't carried out all my promises to my people, so I got Dynatech to do it.

* * *

INC.: If any of you were to start another business now, would you predict it would be easier or harder?

* * *

WURTS: It would be harder. When I was looking for companies to start after I sold, I must have found a dozen situations where I said if I were 25 years old, I would do it. Instead, I said, well, that's impossible.

* * *

GOLDHIRSH: But you have more knowledge.

* * *

MORGAN: More knowledge -- and less energy. And the need is less.

* * *

KRAVETZ: And you're not willing to put everything at risk to accomplish it.

* * *

INC.: Is there a difference in deciding what to do next, now that you've got a lot of cash to fool around with?

* * *

KRISS: I don't know many who have sold their company and, when they start a second project, put their own money in.

* * *

WURTS: You've spent all that time trying to get the money, the last thing you want to do is bet it on the next roll of dice.

* * *

KRISS: One thing I realize is right now I'm not interested in starting another company, although I've had opportunities. I'm much more interested in fixing a company, going down the sort of path that Jay went. At first I thought the reason I didn't want to start a company is I've seen how damn hard it is. Then I understood that wasn't the real reason. What was troubling me was the realization that the start-up would have to be much more spectacular than what I had just done to give me the same satisfaction, and the likelihood of that happening was small.

* * *

INC.: Since you've sold, are any of you involved with civic or charitable causes?

* * *

WURTS: Maybe it's outrageous, but I've always assumed I could contribute more by creating a successful company and creating jobs and making better products and using Yankee ingenuity, now that American business is involved in a world battle.

* * *

ALL: Without question. Absolutely right.

Last updated: Aug 1, 1990




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