Occupation: Owner of Mobile Entertainment, a business that gives Segway tours of historical Minneapolis sites
Education / background: I've always done technology marketing. I've got 30 years of marketing different technology products. I went to school for computer science in 1982 at the University of Minnesota. [But they used] all this antiquated equipment that they bought in 1965 and were still using in 1982. On my own computer, I was able to do more. So I quit.
You didn't get a degree? No. I had another business, a landscaping business, which justified me buying computer equipment. All winter I'd focus on computer stuff and in spring, I'd get back outside and do the landscaping stuff.
How and why did you choose the Segway for your current business? When I heard all the hype about the Segway, I thought, "Wow this would be really cool if this was a good form of transportation and it did displace cars and gas." But ... what I cared about is "Was the experience enjoyable?" I'm not trying to get people to rent this from me and drive it to work every day. I'm about people trying this as an experience. That's what it's all about.
How did you get to the point where you're giving tours? I started with 21 Segways and we launched our company at the State Fair. In the fall of 2003 ... what we put out to the public is that we can do parties and we can do corporate events. Phones started ringing and we started getting people [asking us] to come out to their party. That year, I had about 18 people riding around Lake Calhoun [as part of a corporate event]. Fifteen minutes into the ride, I'm getting bored, and I'm wondering if [the riders] are getting bored ... just going around the lakes. So I thought, "Where could I possibly do this that would be ideal for both the public and for me as far as having something for additional interest?" Also, my personal take on the way I do things [is to] yin yang them. If I'm doing something that's super-high-tech, I want to do something that's the exact opposite. So, I've got ... the history [with the tour] ... and the technology [with the Segway].
How many Segways do you have? I have 80-plus Segways. I'm trying to get to 150 by this fall.
How many people have taken the tour so far? We've had 40,000 people ride. It's easier than it looks, which is a very important thing. When something looks easy and it's dangerous, that's a problem. When something looks dangerous and it's not, that's a much better situation to be in. People come in, particularly if they're older, with a bit of a concern that it's not going to be easy. [But] it's fun. We had a Chaska senior citizen group out on it last year. We had 34 riders whose average age was over 75 and we had two people over 90.