Travelocity founder speaks about technology in business

John Bisesi and John Bisesi

Audience members learned a more personal definition of technology during the sixth annual Sebo Series in Entrepreneurship, held this past Friday in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom. ‘Technology is whatever didn’t exist when you were born,’ keynote speaker Terry Jones said. Jones is the founder of and is considered a major web pioneer in the travel business. He came to the University representing the company that was a catalyst for change when it became the first Web site to offer online flight booking. According to his speech, over 50 percent of all national flights were booked online in 2008.’ The Sebo Series, which was presented by the College of Business Administration’s Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, was a daylong event that brought together more than 400 business leaders, students, and educators to the University to learn from those who have already been successful as entrepreneurs. This year’s theme was ‘Creating Your Market in a Changing World,’ which prompted Jones to focus on the technological side of business. ‘This new generation was born at the keyboard, so your business model needs to be compatible with today’s latest marketing techniques,’ Jones said. ”I’ve got something that you can’t Google’ better be your business slogan if you want to move up in the world.’ Earlier in the day, attendants heard from Blake Mycoskie, a young entrepreneur who had already started five successful businesses before he turned 30 years old. While vacationing in 2006, Mycoskie befriended Argentine children who had no shoes. He soon created TOMS: Shoes for a Better Tomorrow to help out. For every pair purchased, TOMS donates a pair to children in need. In his role as chief shoe-giver, Mycoskie returned to Argentina that same year to hand-deliver over 10,000 pairs of shoes. ‘When you are doing something good, people want to help you,’ Mycoskie said about his unique business model. ‘We don’t do any advertising, it’s really all just through media, viral videos, blogs and Facebooking. [TOMS] is right on plan and we’re going to give away 300,000 shoes in 2009.’ The Sebo Series featured breakout sessions with local business leaders throughout the day and culminated with a Golden Globes-style luncheon prior to Jones’ speech. Former keynote speakers include Paul Orfalea, the founder of Kinko’s and Alan Webber, co-founder of Fast Company magazine. J. Robert Sebo was the main sponsor of the event and also provided advice on how to achieve success in the business world. ‘There are three types of people in this world: those that make things happen, those that watch things happen, and those that wonder what the hell happened,’ Sebo said. According to the University Web site, over 600 students at the University enroll in entrepreneurship courses each year and the Sebo Series is an increasingly beneficial event for those who are trying to learn about what it takes to climb up the business ladder. ‘Entrepreneurship is contagious,’ Sebo said. ‘Each year we think it’s topped out, but it seems to get a little better each year.’