Jones Partners Thought Leadership Series

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Thought Leadership Series
Jones Partners
Eureka Moments: Their Role in the Entrepreneurial Process
6:00 PM – Presentation (Shell Auditorium)
7:15 PM – Reception (Anderson Family Commons)
Jones Graduate School, McNair Hall, Rice University  
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Garrett Boone
Co-founder and Chairman Emeritus,
The Container Store, Inc.

Al Napier
Professor of Management and Area Coordinator for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology,
Jones Graduate School of Business

Garrett Boone will talk about his entrepreneurial journey. At Rice he discovered the relationship of a good idea to business success when he was president of the freshman class, and in an American history seminar exam his junior year had an “aha” learning experience -- looking at known facts through the lens of a different idea and seeing them in a whole new light -- the precursor of the thought process that led to the idea of the Container Store. He will talk about how he abandoned plans to be a history professor for a career in retailing, how the idea for the Container Store came about, and how the business was organized and funded. He will also share how a passionate commitment to the three reasons he and his partners started the business -- having their own business, exploring the concept and creating a great retail store -- helped guide their actions for the next 35 years and create a best places to work and shop environment that helped fuel the recent successful public offering. He will conclude with some thoughts about starting entrepreneurial ventures and a cautionary tale about trying to read the future in new ventures.

Al Napier will discuss the Entrepreneurial Process that Ed Williams and he have developed. Al utilizes the approach in his New Enterprise course at the Jones School. The students that take the course range from individuals already passionate about a business idea to others that just want to learn about what entrepreneurship really is. Some of the students that have been through the Entrepreneurial Process in Al’s course and other entrepreneurship courses they take at the Jones School have had as Garrett says an “aha” moment. Then they charge as hard and passionately as they can to make their idea work. Initially, Al will briefly present the Entrepreneurial Process. Then he will present a couple of entrepreneurial endeavors that students started with “aha” moments and utilized the Entrepreneurial Process as they built their successful businesses.

About Garrett Boone
Garrett Boone never considered a career in retailing. He grew up aspiring to become an architect, later opting for a bachelor’s degree in European history from Rice University and a master’s in history from the University of Texas at Austin.

In 1976 Boone and two friends, Dallas architect John Mullen, and Kip Tindell discussed opening a handmade furniture store. After two years, the idea came to Boone for an original retail concept following a visit to a home improvement show in Dallas in January, 1978. They decided to open a retail store offering exceptional, eclectic mix of products devoted to helping people organize and simplify their lives; The Container Store opened in Dallas July 1, 1978.

The Container Store is a FORTUNE magazine “100 Best Companies to Work For” 14 years in a row. In 2006, with Kip and Sharon Tindell, Boone was inducted into the Retailing Hall of Fame. In his role now as Chairman Emeritus, he attends new store openings, major celebrations, cultural events as well as conducting ‘Selling with Garrett’ seminars in the company’s 59 stores.

About Al Napier
Dr. H. Albert “Al” Napier is a successful professor, entrepreneur and author. Currently, he serves as Professor of Management in the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, where he teaches graduate level courses on Entrepreneurship and serves as the Area Coordinator for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology. He has been awarded four teaching excellence awards during the last six years.

The Entrepreneurship program in the Jones Graduate School is now ranked Number Four in the recent Princeton Review rankings appearing in Entrepreneurship Magazine. Recently, the Financial Times rated the Jones Graduate School as having the Number One rated entrepreneurship program in the Executive MBA programs across the world.

Dr. Napier is co-author of four books on Entrepreneurship: Essentials of Entrepreneurship, Preparing an Entrepreneurial Business Plan, Creating a Winning E-Business, and Business Planning: 25 Keys to a Successful Business. He is co-author of more than 60 books on software applications. Dr. Napier is also co-author of computer software training courses that are provided on the Internet and in e-book format.

About The Jones Partners
The Jones Partners is a committed group of business professionals working to open doors and increase collaboration between the Jones School and the Houston business community.

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