Thirty Years Ago This Week – Just Getting Started
Bruce Bower and I met thirty years ago as incoming freshmen at college. Just writing that sentence is pretty staggering to me, not just given the length of time. We became fast friends and shared many common interests. It is still incredible to me that we reconnected again years later over a business idea.
Nearly two years ago, over burgers at The Counter in Palo Alto, Bruce and I got together and agreed to take an active role in building Plastic Jungle (PJ) from where it was to where it could be. I had joined the Board in June 2008 and had stepped in as CEO that November. As we were out raising our Series A financing, Tod Francis from Shasta Ventures reintroduced Bruce and me, after we had lost touch through the years of different grad schools, several moves and starting families.
We both knew that there was a market need for a set of solutions that would help both consumers and customers benefit from getting the “trapped money” of unspent gift cards moving again. In the past two years, we’ve had great success in building a strong foundation for the company and growing rapidly. In fact, PJ is now growing 10-15% every month with great consumer loyalty.
Today, we announced that Bruce will become the company’s CEO, effective October 1, as I return to the Board, this time as Chairman. I am very happy that Bruce has stepped into the role of CEO to take Plastic Jungle to new heights. Bruce’s background has been perfect for PJ and he has a strong combination of vision and tenacity to run the company.
I am excited to go back to a role – in addition to my active Board role at PJ – that is more focused on marketing. I have a strong passion to help lead a marketing organization again and greatly appreciate the counsel and support from the PJ Board in supporting my decision. I have greatly enjoyed building the PJ team, forming a great Board and driving our results to date. I will continue to work with Bruce and the entire PJ team to build our relationships with customers and grow PJ.
Finally, as Bruce and I have been essentially running the company together for the past two years, I know our fellow PJers and customers will not miss a beat. After all, after thirty years as friends and two years as colleagues, we’re just getting started.