Nick Glover believes great ideas are born of failure, frustration, and passion.
Glover, an entrepreneur from the Lowcountry, recently shared the story of his own challenges and accomplishments to inspire a group of students, professors, and other small business owners in Spartanburg.
“Entrepreneurship and innovation doesn’t happen when people aren’t willing to step into the arena,” said Glover, who was the featured speaker during the latest Johnson Innovation Speaker Series event on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the University of South Carolina Upstate’s George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg.
Glover was born and raised near McClellanville.
After graduating from high school, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he once had the opportunity to shake hands with President John F. Kennedy.
Upon his graduation from the academy, Glover joined the U.S. Navy and served four years on active duty in Morocco.
When he left the military, Glover said he took a job as the head of marketing for a “Fortune 500 company.” He led an effort that caused one of the company’s mainstay brands to grow for the first time in 20 years.
In 1983, Glover joined businessmen Chris Whittle and Phillip Moffitt in their media company Whittle Communications.
Whittle and Moffitt, two University of Tennessee graduates, slept on mattresses on the floor of an abandoned pillow factory for several years while they struggled to start a business.
By 1976, Whittle and Moffitt and formed 13-30 Corp., a $5 million venture specializing in “Baby Boomer media,” Glover said.
In 1979, 13-30 Corp. purchased Esquire magazine.
After Glover joined the team, he helped the company sell the magazine in 1986 to Hearst Communications Inc. for a 400 percent return on investment.
Whittle Communications was created and in three years the company went live with Channel One News, a daily news program broadcast to students in classrooms across America. CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper was the station’s first anchorman.
He said the idea for Channel One came from Whittle Communications employee Sara Fortune, who envisioned putting a television in every classroom in the country and piping in a “Today” show for teens.
In 1990, cable giant Time Warner purchased a major interest in Whittle Communications for $500 million, Glover said.
Glover remained with the company and served as a senior executive assigned to health care development. In 1992, he helped start Medical News Network, which later became WebMD.
He said a junior editor with the company came up with the idea for a Channel One broadcast for the health care industry.
“People come up with ideas, but you have to be open to them,” Glover said. “Several people working together can solve a problem.”
Glover, who now lives in Charleston with his wife, said he began working a few years ago with entrepreneur Chris Brunson.
Brunson, who previously worked in the automotive industry, decided to parlay his experience with customer relationship management technology into a new health care venture.
He developed a patient relationship management platform that led to the creation of a patient engagement center to help doctors better serve their patients.
Glover joined Brunson in 2010 to serve as the CEO of the venture now known as PEC360.
“[Nick Glover] is a great example of how hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to step out of one’s comfort zone can pay off,” said Mohamed “Mo” Djerdjouri, dean of USC Upstate’s downtown business school. “The best part about this is he is from South Carolina… He did a beautiful job and we were very happy to have him here.”
During his speech, Glover gave specific examples of entrepreneurs throughout history who refused to let their dreams die.
The list included Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks; Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx; Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb; Jennifer Hyman, CEO and co-founder of Rent The Runway; Tariq Farid, owner and CEO of Edible Arrangements; and Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter.
He encouraged his audience by channeling one of Price’s most notable quotes.
“You can’t let people write your story for you,” Glover said. “You are the author of your own story.”
“I chose to go to the Naval Academy,” he added. “When the opportunity came to go to Morocco, I went for it… When I decided to leave a major corporation and work for a small media company, a lot of people thought it wasn’t a good idea… In the end, I’m grateful for the opportunities I had because it helped me grow.”
Glover said he is open to the idea of getting involved with entrepreneurial programs in the Upstate.
“I’ve done this sort of thing before and I really enjoy it,” Glover said. “Mo and his team are doing a wonderful job here. This was the perfect audience.”
“South Carolina is going to be a major growth state,” Glover added. “We have everything going for us.”