From the Foreword

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From the Foreword by Graham Weston, Chairman and Co-founder of Rackspace

A Quest for the Essence of Entrepreneurship

 

The UnStoppables isn’t just a book. It’s the product of a quest—a shared quest by author Bill Schley and me to discover the keys to entrepreneurship and to share them with people all over America. Our goal is to double the number of entrepreneurs in our country—starting with you, our readers. And if you choose the entrepreneurial path, we want to double your chances of success. Those are the goals behind every chapter and every page of Bill’s book.

To understand this objective and why we’re so passionate about it, you need to know a little bit about us.

The company I helped to found, Rackspace, was launched by three former college buddies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, in 1998. We now employ more than 5,000 “Rackers” in locations from Texas to London to Hong Kong. Our mission: to provide hosting and cloud computing backed by “Fanatical Support” to more than 200,000 customers worldwide, including most of the Fortune 100.

Our world headquarters is located in a building we call “The Castle”—a once-abandoned mall in a forgotten neighborhood in San Antonio. My desk sits beside the space once occupied by Gingiss Formal Wear, where I rented my first baby blue ruffled tuxedo for the high school prom. All the experts said we were crazy when we moved here, but I guess that’s how we do things at Rackspace: we listen to our Rackers and to our customers first—only later do we check with the experts.

Today, customers come from all over the world to visit us in this 1.2-million-square-foot space that no one else wanted. They sense the energy of the place, they see the excitement and enthusiasm on every Racker’s face, and they tell us that it still feels like a startup—a vibrant enterprise driven by hungry entrepreneurs. Rackspace has evolved into a big, well-managed company that’s traded on the New York Stock Exchange, grew by more than 25% in 2012 to $1.3 billion in annual revenue, and is earning accolades worldwide—but we’ve never lost our entrepreneurial zeal.

Maybe that’s why Fortune magazine just named us one of the Best Companies to Work For in America, for the fifth time in six years. People love working here, and we love them back. And in turn we all love our customers. Call another company and you’ll probably listen to a recording, start pressing buttons, and listen to more recordings. Call Rackspace and you’ll speak with a Racker, trained and empowered to solve our customers’ problems. We’re famous for our combination of innovative technology and passionate Rackers, which enables us to deliver the Fanatical Support for which we’ve become known throughout our industry.

You may be starting to get a feeling for why I’m such a believer in the power of entrepreneurship. I’ve seen it work its creative magic here at Rackspace. I’ve seen the value it’s created for every Racker, for our far-flung customers, and for communities like the one where our headquarters is located in San Antonio, where our arrival helped reverse twenty years of decline. I know that this same power is what communities all over America need in order to thrive in the 21st century—and I also know, sadly, that it’s what far too many are lacking.

That’s the source of the obsession that underlies The UnStoppables