For my venture strategy class, I was supposed to
interview an entrepreneur this week, and I chose Fred Gratzon, founder of
(Iowa) Great Midwestern Ice Cream and Telegroup. From his Web site:
Fred Gratzon is an entrepreneur raconteur provocateur.
In 1968 Fred graduated sine laude whatsoever from
University as a Fine Art major. He
never held a job for more than two months and is one of only five people in the
entire history of the United States Government to have been fired from a civil
service job. In 1979 with no money, no experience, and no knowledge of how to
make ice cream, he founded The Great Midwestern Ice Cream Company. In 1984 his
ice cream was judged by People magazine to be the best ice cream in America.
Playboy made the same declaration in 1986. In 1989, again with no money and
no knowledge or experience of telecommunications Fred founded Telegroup in a
spare room in his house. Telegroup became an international long distance
carrier and grew to 1100 employees with $400 million in annual sales. Fred's
companies have appeared on Inc magazine's list of the 500 fastest
growing companies in America
four times. In 1995 Telegroup was the second fastest.
Fred, ever the entrepreneurial pyromaniac, is currently
lighting new fires and using The Lazy Way to Success as his invincible
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