By Justin Taubman, MBA’16
This week I had the opportunity and pleasure to interview Bob London as part of a blog series on the Dingman Center’s newest Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) and their various entrepreneurial backgrounds. Bob is one of the Dingman Center’s new EIRs making himself available to students on Dingman Fridays this year. Bob has a very interesting career and hopefully others will find it inspiring.
Years ago, the term “self employed” was regarded by many as another way of saying unemployed. At least that is what Bob London remembers from when he left his job with a global telecom company to create his own consulting shop in the late 1990’s. He really just wanted to be his own boss and have more flexibility, something that his friends were particularly jealous of when he would tell them that he was going for a bike ride in the middle of the day.
When I asked Bob what he feared most about going out on his own, he surprisingly told me that he didn’t have enough fear. The fear of losing stability and a regular paycheck is something that I believe entrepreneurs either innately lack or they gradually overcome. Bob explained to me that the social acceptance of leaving the comfortable and stable corporate world has come around a lot since the 90’s. Although we laughed about how most people today think about entrepreneurship, they immediately look at their phone and Facebook or Pinterest icons float through their head. In fact, entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes like Russell Garing’s bitters company or Bob’s consulting venture.
Bob’s expertise is in B2B marketing strategy and planning and his primary goal as an EIR is to ensure that anyone who seeks his advice will walk away understanding the importance of seeing the world from the customer’s perspective–via customer discovery and other methods. Bob explained, “you need to always be curious about the customer’s perspective and balance the passion for your idea with what your customers want.” I could not agree more. It may seem simple, but it’s incredible how many products have skipped that critical element of the design phase…remember the Segway? Yeah, neither do I!
Remember to pitch your business ideas by Bob London and the rest of the EIRs at Dingman Fridays from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. We’re here every Friday! #TGIDF
More on Bob London
Bob London, President of London, Ink LLC, serves as an Outsourced Chief Marketing Officer for B2B technology and professional services firms. His clients typically have a significant market opportunity or challenge and need an injection of senior marketing expertise and leadership–but aren’t ready for the cost and commitment of a full-time marketing executive. Clients work with London, Ink to assess their market opportunity, better understand their customers’ needs, determine strategic options and develop a practical go-to-market plan to improve revenue, market awareness, customer acquisition and retention. London, Ink also prioritizes and executes key B2B marketing initiatives–from online marketing to web design/development to social media to public relations–that generate the highest return on investment.
Bob is a 20+ year marketing veteran who has achieved rapid results with marketing budgets ranging from the $200 million network television launch of MCI Friends & Family to London, Ink’s frugal $1,000 annual budget (really!). He also served as VP of Marketing for Digex, Incorporated, a national Web hosting and management firm that grew 100% annually during his tenure and went through not one but two IPOs, as well as director of product marketing for Verisign, the leading web identity and security firm.
Bob serves on the board of The Marketing Alliance, the leading education and networking group for B2B technology marketing executives in the DC area. Bob is a marketing advisor for Bisnow’s Gen Z program for budding high school entrepreneurs and also serves on the board of advisors of National Capital Companies, a mid-market investment bank headquartered in Bethesda, MD. Bob graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a BS in Marketing. He resides in Potomac, MD with his wife and two teenage sons.