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Eileen Gittens and Blurb: The Starting Point for How They Did It

I think the starting point for How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America is to talk about Eileen Gittens, founder and CEO of Blurb. Blurb is the best example of self-publishing now available online, at www.blurb.com. The reason is that Eileen is part of the inspiration, how the book came to be.

My friend Jason Apple, formerly of Hoolihan Lokey, invited me to their early stage tech conference in San Francisco. I attended and heard Eileen, one of the presenters that day a couple years ago. Eileen’s talk was a revelation. If you’ve seen Jake and Elwood in The Blue Brothers, this was my moment:

Jake: The band? The band.
Reverend Cleophus James: DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT?
Jake: THE BAND!
Reverend Cleophus James: DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT?
Elwood: What light?
Reverend Cleophus James: HAVE YOU SEEEEN THE LIGHT?
Jake: YES! YES! JESUS H. TAP-DANCING CHRIST… I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!

I realized I could host an event and then publish one copy of a book! So I cornered Eileen and started thinking about publishing the book. I ended up with a big print run and a design from scratch, but Eileen’s inspiration lived on! Thank you Eileen –

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