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Eric Paulson: Navarre Corporation

Eric Paulson was a football star at his Catholic high school in South Bend, Indiana. His father played football for Knute Rockne and after graduating from college, he became a pro wrestler called Horrible Howard.

So it was only natural that Paulson would take up football. Paulson followed in his father’s footsteps and started playing competitive football in the fifth grade.

To earn extra money, he started selling shoes and became very good at it. After high school, he kept trying to excel at college football, but injuries soon put an end to those hopes. He started selling tires, and his sales skill so impressed one of his customers that he referred Paulson to a friend who was starting a company to distribute a new way of listening to music: 8-track tapes.

This started a meteoric rise for Paulson in the music business. In 1983, he started Navarre to distribute music and software. It is now the seventh-largest software publisher and the largest importer and ‘re-purposer’ of Japanese anime in North America with annual sales of around $700 million at its peak.

This is how he did it.

This introduction is excerpted from Bootstrap to Billions: Proven Rules from Entrepreneurs who Built Great Companies from Scratch by Dr. Dileep Rao. Copying or reproduction in any format or medium without the prior express, written consent of the author is strictly prohibited.

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