Past Meetup

Innovate or Fail: Learn to Think like an Entrepreneur with Gary Hoover

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Join us to learn from the internationally known serial entrepreneur Gary Hoover as he talks about what it means to “think like an entrepreneur.” What methods can you use to better understand the world? How do you spot opportunity? What lifelong learning and growing habits are paramount to your entrepreneurial success? Gary will flood your mind with information and ideas, based on a lifetime of both starting and studying businesses. Get ready for the learning adventure of your life!

About the speaker:

Gary Hoover began his entrepreneurial journey at an early age. His question about enterprises was, “What separates the losers from the winners?” He began subscribing to Fortune Magazine at the age of 12, and has acquired most of the issues back to 1930.

As part of his education, he studied economics at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and two other Nobel Prize winners, served as a securities analyst for Citibank on Wall Street, worked as a buyer for Federated Department Stores, and headed up acquisitions and strategic planning for the May Department Stores Company.

At the age of 30, after he finally took the plunge and created pioneering book superstore BOOKSTOP, which helped change the nature of book shopping in America. This company was sold to Barnes & Noble for $41.5 million cash when it was 7 years old, and became a cornerstone for their industry-dominating superstore chain.

After he and his partners sold BOOKSTOP, Gary returned to his first love of understanding businesses, and began the company that became Hoover’s, the world’s largest Internet-based provider of information about enterprises. covers over 40,000 companies around the world. In July of 1999, Hoover’s went public and in March of 2003, the company was purchased by Dun & Bradstreet for $117 million. Like BOOKSTOP, Hoover’s has changed the way we do things and today employs over 300 people.

Gary also ventured into the travel business with TravelFest Superstores, which failed when airlines stopped paying commission to travel agencies, and the museum industry, a work in progress. He continues to keep over 200 ideas for new businesses on his list.

In the[masked] academic year, Gary served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin. There he focused on inciting and inspiring entrepreneurial thinking among students of all types, graduates and undergraduates, inside and outside of the business school. He reviewed approximately 400 business plans and ideas in this role, as well as teaching a Foundations of Entrepreneurship course.

He also gave five lectures on the history of various industries (movies, airlines, autos, retailing, and computers) which can be viewed at .

In the fall of 2010, Gary began exploring innovative ways to teach entrepreneurship, how to learn and research various subjects, retailing, and other topics close to his heart, beginning with an all day seminar on retailing in Austin.

Gary lives in Austin, Texas, with his 50,000-book library. He has consulted, spoken to conferences, and worked to encourage entrepreneurial thinking on every continent and in every industry, for profit and not for profit. He has also supported the University of Chicago. In 2009 he launched a blog which includes reviews of books, ideas, and places from Gary’s iconoclastic angle. His book is available at

Gary is currently serving as the Entrepreneur in Residence at the School of Information at the University of Texas while he works on his latest startup – Bigwig Games.

Company: Bigwig Games


Blog: (

** Please RSVP as space is limited.**

*This event is free for you to attend. The Flying Saucer hosts our group at no cost, but they hope that we'll eat there. So if you are hungry that day, please consider buying your lunch there.

*There is plenty of free parking in The Triangle's parking garage, as well as some spots in the shopping complex.

We hope to see you there!

Thomas Umstattd ( - Organizer and Private Happy Hour Coordinator

Tony Tovar ( - Meetup Founder and Co-Organizer

Amanda Dewoody ( - Event/Speaker Coordinator and Co-Organizer