This is a about short story that will show the competitiveness of business and the drive of two young entrepreneurs that will turn their ideas into one of the largest well recognized brand world wide.
Dave and Bill looked at each other during the graduation ceremony, sharing a triumphant smile at their success. They had quickly become fast friends at school due to their love of electrical engineering, and planned to work together after graduation just as they had collaborated in school. Like everyone else, they had experienced their share of suffering and hardships through the Great Depression, but they had stubbornly stuck to their goals, and were now ready to reap the benefit of their hard work.
While in school they had partnered with one of their professions in designing and developing some of the ideas and innovations they had. His guidance had helped them avoid some issues as they felt out the implications of inventing; now, thanks to his help, they were fully prepared to take the world by storm with all the inventions they would produce.
The ceremony over, they headed over to Bill’s house to continue their celebrations and discuss the plans that had been churning in their minds over the past few years. They had already done some work out of Bill’s garage, and figured that would be a good place to start their business. But what should they develop first? They had so many ideas – electronics, products, even agriculture – that it was hard to pick a place to start. After discussing the merits of several of their ideas, they decided their first product should be a sound device. They had worked on it somewhat before and had ideas on how to increase the precision and quality while reducing its price. Though not a groundbreaking invention, they figured it would be not a bad thing to start with a minor yet profitable product to help fund further research and development and a start up was born.
When Dave headed home late that night, he was well satisfied with their plan of development. He knew they both had excellent ideas that would help develop and refine technology. He could hardly wait to see what innovations the future would bring. And Bill’s house was the perfect place for it; already companies had started moving into the area, attracted by the sunny California weather as well as the prospect of developing technology. Though Dave and Bill had no way of knowing, they were poised at the start of a huge technological rush of development, in an area that would become so submersed in the culture of technology that it would take its name from it – Silicon Valley.
But as Dave and Bill developed their first innovative product, the improved sound device, the grandiose future of Silicon Valley was a mystery to them. For awhile they were flush with their success; their product was less than half the price of their competitors’ products, and was more reliable, so once buyers found out about it, there was no question about which they would buy. Dave and Bill watched with glee as their business rapidly expanded; they were making enough off producing the sound devices for it to be worth it to hire a few workers to continue production on the side as they focused on other innovations. As their business expanded, their buyers were more and more impressed with them; the news soon got around that they were destined for bigger and better things.
Unfortunately, Dave and Bill soon got to experience the darker side of the developing technology companies in the area – competition. They had focused on the profits of developing a more reliable and cheaper sound device, and had completely forgotten in their single-minded focus that their competitors would not look on their inventions too kindly. It was not long after they had started selling their sound device when Bill came home one day to find a “cease and desist” letter from one of their competitors. He read the letter and incredibly the competitor was claiming that the only reason they had been able to market their sound device so effectively was because it was based on stolen trade secrets. They all knew this was an outrageous lie, both Bill and Dave as well as their competitors. The new device, although it bore a superficial similarity, was clearly a unique product based on different technology. But proving that in court would be another thing.
Bill immediately saw through their competitors’ plan – they had no idea what the new sound device was made of, but in order to prove that it wasn’t based on stolen trade secrets, Bill and Dave would likely have to explain how it worked. He was filled with rage and disgust at their underhanded techniques. He had still retained some naïve ideas about the brotherhood of scientists and inventors, but this letter gave him a peek at a far more cut-throat reality than he was prepared for. Nevertheless, he vowed to not give in without a fight. The idea of giving away their hard work, the device that would help create their business and establish their start up, was intolerable.
Bill came up with an ingeniously simple plan to prove their innocence. On the appointed court date, he showed up at court with Dave and with a sample of his product and his competitors’ product. He waited patiently as his competitor’s lawyers made grandiose statements accusing them of all sorts of heinous things. When it came time for Bill and Dave to defend their work and their company, they offered a simple rebuttal: they would disassemble each device, and show by the fact that each was clearly different from the other that one could not be based on the other. The judge allowed it, and they quickly took apart both products, explaining each piece – though they took care not to explain how their product work, as it was a trade secret. Faced with the evidence, there was no denying that the similarities were purely superficial. The judge dismissed the case, and Dave and Bill exited triumphantly – but they knew this claim of stealing trade secrets was only the start of the challenges they would face.
As Bill and Dave further expanded their business and developed even more technological innovations, they faced a subtle and pervasive hostility from their competitors in the area. Some of it was simple business, but much of it was purely sinister. They faced break-ins at Bill’s house, where they were still operating the business; though they had taken the precaution to store their vital ideas in a safe, which had not been opened. Shipments of supplies would mysteriously disappear, and sometimes their customers would be anonymously told that Dave and Bill had gone out of business and would not be selling products any further. It was an uphill battle, but they persisted in making their ideas work.
Things came to a head when representatives of a major media company came to town scouting out which company to contract with. What they were looking for was nothing less than the improved sound device that had been Dave and Bill’s first invention, the product that had started all the furor over their company. Dave and Bill knew they had the best and most reliable product for the cheapest price – but proving that to the media company in the face of the slander and accusations of their competitors was going to be difficult.
They decided to keep it sweet and simple. Disregarding all the rumors that had been spread about them, they simply sent a letter to the media company expressing their interest in working with them, and offering several testimonials from customers as proof that they could deliver what they promised. Whether the company was simply inspecting everyone, or whether they believe their letter over the rumors, Bill and Dave would never know; all that mattered was that they gained the audience they sought.
They brought out several samples of their product as well as their competitors’ products – whatever could be bought commercially, they obtained to show the difference. They went through all the information about each product, and how one could tell the difference in quality between their products and their competitors’. They could not help but wax enthusiastic about this, their first product that had gotten everything started. Even as they started to wrap up their sales pitch, they knew they had the company hooked. They might look at the remaining competitors, but it was all for show; there was no question about whose product they would buy. As an added incentive, they threw in a discount for bulk purchases; it might reveal their source of information, but they knew the company was looking to buy the sound devices in bulk in order to install them in a theater, and that would definitely be a factor for them.
As Bill and Dave left the office, they shared a wordless look of satisfaction. They had been through so much together, while they were in school and after they had graduated. They had shared the passion, frustration and joy of watching their start up overcome every obstacle to become one of the biggest names in the area. Now, they sensed, they were moving into the big leagues; with national sales adding to their reputation, nothing could stop them now.