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10 The Humble House Gang

As we started to look at the enormous task of establishing the ground pickup and delivery operations, Fred began thinking about ways to shortcut the process. One alternative was to form a joint venture with United Parcel Service. Basch contacted UPS and set up an appointment with Jim McLaughlin, the chief executive officer.

“What are you guys doing here?” McLaughlin asked.

Basch responded, “We have an appointment.”

McLaughlin said he didn’t have the meeting on his calendar, but graciously invited our delegation to the conference room. Fred described what he had in mind and the role he would like UPS to play. McLaughlin abruptly said, “No, we’re not interested in doing that.”

McLaughlin’s indifference turned out to ...

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