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March 20, 2012

Entrepreneurs Love to Help and Inspire

Greg Gianforte – RightNow Technologies CEO – Software Company –  1000+ Employees

Greg Gianforte - Think Entrepreneurship Interview

I want to share a little story about one of the first interviews I did with Think Entrepreneurship back in 2008.

You would think it might be tough to score an interview with a big CEO or business person. So far, it hasn't been the case. I've interviewed many companies in addition to the few  I've shared on the website. It has been surprisingly easy, as these entrepreneurs get excited to share their stories and to help others with their businesses. They want to give back.

The First Interview

The first big interview I did on tape was with Greg Gianforte, the CEO of RightNow Technologies. Greg sold his company to Oracle in 2011 for 1.4 Billion dollars. I decided to interview Greg after reading a book called: Bootstrapping Your Business: Start and Grow a Successful Company with Almost No Money. An entrepreneur friend had recommended it, so of course I had to read the book. Greg Gianforte was the author of the book and seemed like he'd be a great interview to get. After digging around for awhile I was able to find his email address. I sent an email to him and mentioned a few things about Think Entrepreneurship. Within 20 minutes I had a response waiting in my inbox. He said he'd love to do an interview and would have his secretary set it up in the next couple weeks.

About two weeks later I met Greg in their main conference room at the company headquarters. I had the video equipment that I bought for school projects back in college. It wasn't real professional but it was all I had. Greg came in the room, we shook hands, and started talking.We started the interview (I was pretty nervous) and I learned all about his business, how he got his book published, and about some of his hobbies.

The video we did is below — I apologize for the music and poor sound quality – I have learned a lot since this interview and since been able to purchase much nicer equipment.

“Pete, what else do you do besides interview entrepreneurs?”

After the interview Greg asked, “Pete, what else do you do besides interview entrepreneurs?” I mentioned that I had a startup printing company and that it was going pretty well. We talked about it for a few minutes and then got into talking about hobbies like woodworking. We are both into woodworking and he loves to work on wood projects when he has the time.

The big break my startup was waiting for!

So, a week later Greg's marketing department called and told me they'd like to order t-shirts. I asked how many and they said 1,100 shirts! I honestly had know idea how I was going to get them done in 2 weeks but I acted calm and said, “you bet, I'd love to take your order and I will have those delivered in two weeks. Little did they know, I was printing out of my parents garage on a small press. I ended up hiring 4 college students and we virtually worked around the clock for three days straight. When we delivered the shirts RightNow was very appreciative. I was just relieved and so happy I found a way to get these shirts done in time.

Greg took the time to interview a young entrepreneur, share his knowledge, and even help jumpstart a business. He certainly helped my business and has been an inspiration to thousands of people.


It seems like almost all the entrepreneurs I meet and interview have been more than happy to share their stories, give back to the community, and help other young entrepreneurs. I think it is great that they are so willing share their knowledge. I do follow up with many of my interviewees by going out for breakfast, lunch, or drinks. They love to hear about what I'm doing, and I enjoy getting to learn from them. Many have become mentors and have helped me grow personally and professionally.

If you are looking for some advice or a mentor, I'd highly recommend calling up a local entrepreneur and asking him or her if you can take them out for coffee. You will have a great connection and mentor for life.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my story. Please leave a comment under this post if you found it helpful. Best of luck with your business!


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  1. Am grateful for your article which i found very helpful.
    Am currently employed in a 8-5 job which pays my bills.
    My sister has venture in an enterpreneural activity and is struggling with the first months.
    This has encouraged me to start thinking of my passion and what i would want to do.
    I find it hard to decide but hope i will finally get the courage to venture out.
    Thank for the encouragemnt.

  2. Hi Elizabeth,

    Thanks for your kind comments and it is great to hear that you are starting to get the mind thinking about what it is that your are most passionate about. You’ll certainly have your ups and downs. Continue to encourage your sister and to have here work through the struggling times. If she can stick with it and work hard good things will be waiting ahead. Best of luck with your planning and remember to make it something you enjoy doing so you want to get up and work on the business each day. Best of luck and keep in touch with us about your next steps!

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