How did the internet become the place where companies have been able to find information on prospective customers and use that to tailor their marketing specifically to them? Vinod Gupta, an Indian-American entrepreneur laid the ground work for it by turning yellow page phone books into searchable databases. The company he ran for many years that had this information was InfoUSA which made several key marketing group acquisitions along the way to becoming a multi-million dollar company that had extensive business contact information spanning across multiple industries. But it was how Gupta started this company that was quite remarkable.
Vinod Gupta had come from poverty in India to being able to attend grad school in the US at the University of Nebraska. It was after this while working at Commodore Corporation that he got the idea of monetizing contact information in business lists because he had been asked to gather that information to build sales leads. He couldn’t find it in the existing company lists, so he bought yellow page phone books from every state to do it. Gupta was nearly fired because the yellow page books took up so much space, but after moving the operation to his home he was able to build a big list. See This Page for related information.
Gupta later had the opportunity to take the list and sell it to Commodore’s competitors, and with $100 that he invested in mailers he soon was selling his yellow page list to multiple customers. From there he soon was generating enough income to run his own information sales business and he began by naming it American Business Lists. But as it became more tech-based and grew, he had it changed several times until finally it was named InfoUSA. Gupta would sell the company in 2010.
Vinod Gupta has wanted others in third world countries to have the same opportunities he did to become a millionaire, so he’s started charity programs to provide education and housing in those countries. Even his own native village north of Delhi, India was able to have new schools and basic service infrastructure built thanks to Vinod Gupta’s contributions. Gupta also worked with the Clinton Global Initiative and the former president’s foundation, and he even was a top pick for Ambassador to Fiji though he declined that appointment.
More about Vinod on https://about.me/vinodgupta1