The Internet and American Business - WrestlingGear.Com and Jeffrey Pape were a case study in this book about how smaller niche businesses could compete and succeed against much larger companies.
Jeffrey Pape spoke with Tom Funk at an IRCE event and he decided to put what WrestlingGear.Com and Jeff were doing in a mini case study in the book.
Jeffrey served for several years on the marketing committee of the Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, he spoke several times for the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce covering topics on Social Media Marketing and LinkedIn. The session he co-lead had to change its venue to accommodate the large audience that turned out for the event.
Bloomberg wrote an article about WrestlingGear.Com and quoted Jeffrey several times about State Sales Tax.
Jeffrey was asked to testify as a business owner by the Illinois Retail Merchant Association in front of the State of Illinois Revenue and Finance Committee in Springfield Illinois. He presented along with the Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue to the Committee on how it's tax laws are effecting business owners through out the State of Illinois.
The Chicago Sun Times wrote an article each week about a local Internet or Technology based business. One week it chose to write about WrestlingGear.Com and what it was doing to compete with much larger companies. In addition to being featured in the Chicago version of the paper, Jeffrey and WrestlingGear.Com were written up in his local suburban paper. He thinks this was the first time he was quoted in the newspaper. He remembers it well, the news reported just happened to have a slot open but he needed to take the photo and write the story that same day. He had to scramble to get ready for the photo shoot that came up unexpectedly.
Being written about in the Wall Street Journal was amazing. Jeff spoke at a huge conference put on by local legend Josh Metnick and his company explaining how it had survived the dot com bubble. This speech led to a follow up article in the New York Times, speaking at a University of Maryland class (via skype), and being written about in a book. And even this article cause a VC to call Jeffrey to ask him about his exit strategy. He was glad he received permission from his Internet Marketing Professor to come late to class that one evening. He almost did not accept the speaking engagement for that conference.
The New York Times wrote a follow up article a few years after The Wall Street Journal article was published. Jeff was even quoted in this article. The New York Times is tough to find in our area so Jeff had to run around to a few different locations to find a copy of the article!
Here is one of the quotes from the article that was used at the very end of the article, "If it were me starting over," he explains, "I'd want to be learning from past mistakes of other people so I didn't do the same thing myself."
In combination with USA Wrestling I presented several Copper and Bronze Level training coaching conferences for IKWF and IHSA Coaches who needed the certification. Copper classes were several hours in length while Bronze level courses were closer to 5 or 6 hours of course content. Part of the training involved encouraging coaches to tell their stories about how to coach athletes better and maximize their performance on and off the mat. Jeffrey presented at the prestigious Silver level college talking to top coaches through out the country on how to minimize the taxes they paid by making sure they took all the proper deductions they were entitled.
Northwestern called one day after I had graduated to sit on a panel that was talking about Entrepreneurship to current students. This was a cool opportunity to give back to the school that taught me so much. One of my speaking photos with Kellogg logos in the back was taken at this panel discussion. In addition to speaking after completing my MBA, WrestlingGear.Com and myself were used as a case study in numerous classes. It was the driving force for us becoming not only one of the largest e-commerce wrestling stores, but one of the top e-commerce companies in Illinois and the USA. WrestlingGear.Com was ranked in the top 1,000 e-commerce websites by Internet Retailer.
Jeffrey was also visited by Stephen Rogers, while he was a Professor at Northwestern, and presented with a "Tour De Kae" certificate. The certificate recognizes Kellogg Alumni for starting a business as an alumni. The visit included photos, mentoring and a tour of the business. Professor Rogers now teaches at Harvard Business School.
It's crazy to think this was one of my first conferences I spoke at. I mean one of if not the largest Internet Retailing conferences in the world. And the first time I spoke with Tom Funk it was in the big room. The audience was massive. This was not one of the smaller sessions tucked away in a small conference room. I have spoken at two Internet Retailer Conferences and look to once again speak at this huge event.
Professor Kirsch wrote about me in his book, The Internet and American Business. He asked me to address his students in the MBA class on Entrepreneurship which I did through a Skype connection, which at the time was very tech-savvy. Nowadays that would not be considered a big deal. I love to use technology when it makes sense to use it.