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~ personal branding, digital world, media, infocommunication, books, humanity, art and literature, fashion, all the best

EnglishHungarian

Reuters saw me as competition

A new entrepreneur likes to believe that whatever they come up with is unique and cannot be compared to or replaced by anything. Life tends to contradict this. It was already a dream come true that I became a journalist. Once I did, though, I became tempted by the idea of establishing my own news agency. Not just any kind, it had to be special and original. A television news agency. At the time, Reuters News Agency was the only one of this kind, I learned from them as well. Thanks to my game show called “Entrepreneur wanted!”, the patron of which was the heir to the British throne, Charles, Prince of Wales, I got the chance to study the management of the historic news and media industry in London for a year and a half. So, I knew exactly what I wanted and how I needed to realize it. I established a reporting network in former Socialist countries so that we could get first-hand economic information from the Eastern European countries in the process of being rebuilt, which we would then sell on the global news market. After all, we are at home in this region, we understand better than anybody what is behind economic processes. Just to be safe, we still wanted to get the globe service offered by Reuters News Agency, even though it had a rather high price. Our salesperson was a very nice young girl connected to foreign trade, who was very proud to work with me. Therefore, while she was handling the order, she chatted about how the head of our news agency was a famous journalist. She even mentioned Prince Charles and how I happened to be in London on a study tour, which included Reuters as well. They promised to get back to us in writing. The telefax soon arrived, in which we were told, with British politeness, that we cannot enter into a contract, as Reuters News Agency does not sell services to its competitors. At the time, our news agency was not even five months old. Yet Reuters, which was regarded as the oldest and most respected news agency, a true benchmark, already saw us as competition. Our salesperson was crying and considered this a huge failure, but I was on cloud nine, bursting with happiness. Even though I knew they overestimated me, I appreciated the recognition. However, to this day I am baffled by what made me think twenty years ago that this was such a special and unique idea that I would base an entire enterprise on it, with 50 million forints worth of capital. I later sold it at just the right moment. I had no idea at the time that while I was busy doing this in Eastern Europe, on the West Coast of the USA, two college students in a dorm room were experimenting with a computer program that made my and Reuters’s news agency, along with news channels in general, completely obsolete. An enterprise was built on this program: Google. Today, it is one of the biggest multinational companies in the world. Looking back on its twenty years of development, I wrote a book about it.

(Published in 2018 in the book entitled 365 Business Stories – A Story for Every Day by CEOs, Managers, Entrepreneurs. Publisher: MédiaBOOM Ltd., Budapest)

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