Owler Founder and CEO Jim Fowler shared his wonderful insight and lessons of entrepreneurship to Wanderful Media employees and invited guests from around the Chico Community. His experience includes being co-founder of Jigsaw, which was sold to Salesforce.com for approximately $142 million in cash, plus a performance-based earn out up to 10% of the purchase price.
Fowler originally met Wanderful Media CEO Ben T. Smith, IV when they were co-founders of competing companies, Jigsaw and Spoke, over a decade ago. Their networking eventually turned into a friendship that still thrives today.
As a part of Wanderful Media’s speaker series, Smith invites entrepreneur colleagues to speak at the Chico Downtown office, allowing students, interested peers, friends and family to gain insight on this way of business development and entrepreneurship.
Fowler spoke how his past, where he started as a Navy diver, lead up to his creation and development of Owler, a free online and mobile source of business information. Having a successful yet contrasting resume, Jim started out as an entrepreneur in the snow farming business in Colorado and then took his drive for success to the Silicon Valley. As Fowler began to make a name for himself in the tech culture of the Bay Area, he was also making relationships among top names in the industry.
One of Fowler’s ideas that snowballed into an information company, Jigsaw, began by using his ‘lessons learned’ within the entrepreneurship culture. Fowler discussed these key lessons/failures in the entrepreneurship realm:
- Ask for honest criticism. Not everything you hear is going to be something you want to hear, either way you will be able to adapt and grow from criticism.
- Keep your focus. Know the ins and outs of your idea and stick with it no matter is you fail. Develop a strategic vision, a great team and raise money towards your goals. Making and adapting to the important decisions is key.
- Give your company a personality. Allow fun for your company and also for the customer. Give the culture a positive and optimistic vibe.
During a Q&A session with the audience, Fowler expound upon his opinions and advice towards branding, networking, raising funds and the timing of becoming an entrepreneur.
Ben concluded the evening, adding his own insight into networking among this type of business. His key points included the importance of developing relationships, keeping and having diversity in your network, having an increasing context base, and also maintaining relationships over a long period of time.
Welcoming Jim Fowler to speak as part of Wanderful Media’s speaker series was a great success! His professional and private doings shed important knowledge for the audience, many budding entrepreneurs and a guide to becoming successful!