Chapter 1. America, You Have a New Airline and…a New Standard of Service

It was March 12, 1973. We had been working for years for this day—the first day of operations for Federal Express. We had 28 people selling in 10 cities since January 2, 1973. We had 23 executive jet airplanes (10 of which had been converted to freighters); hundreds of employees; a hub and World War II facilities in Memphis, TN; and no money.

Frederick W. Smith, the founder, had used all of his family's trust fund and incredible banking and leasing salesmanship to get us here, but that was all there was.

Fred Smith, myself, and others had traveled to New York and had appointments with venture capitalists all around the city the next day. Fred had seen most of these venture ...

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