by Gregg Castano, President, Business Wire
As part of Business Wire’s 50th anniversary celebration, Business Wire held a cocktail reception in San Francisco, the city of our founding in 1961, at the Palace Hotel in downtown SF on Thursday, October 13.
I had the honor of delivering brief remarks to the assembled throng of about 200 or so clients, partners, friends and colleagues. Since we couldn’t invite all of you to this event, I wanted to share the substance of those remarks via this posting, because the sentiments expressed there apply to all Business Wire offices, clients, partners, friends and colleagues worldwide:
Business Wire is really a story of the local kid who made good. On October 2, 1961, in San Francisco, Business Wire was founded by Lorry I. Lokey, a former journalist and PR professional, and a man with vision, perseverance and a firm belief in an IDEA. While Lorry may be unfamiliar to many of you of a certain generation and outside of the Bay Area, after the sale of Business Wire to Berkshire Hathaway in 2006, he has gone on to become one of the world’s leading philanthropists and a significant participant in the Warren Buffett-Bill Gates “Giving Pledge” campaign.
While we have held similar celebrations across the United States this month in honor of our 50th anniversary, including ringing the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on September 30th with Warren Buffett, the simple fact that this celebration was being held in San Francisco made it a unique and poignant event for us – because this is where it all began. In fact, in another indication of our deep San Francisco roots, our current CEO, Cathy Baron Tamraz, began her Business Wire career as an editor in our San Francisco office more years ago than she will permit me to divulge. And though based in New York, Cathy still maintains an oft-visited office in our co-Headquarters on Montgomery Street in the SF financial district. As the icing on the cake, in recognition of those humble SF beginnings and what ensued over the next half century, the Honorable Edwin Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, officially proclaimed Oct 2 to be Business Wire Day in that city.
So how did we get from there – October 2, 1961 – to here?
Without embarking on a Business Wire 101 history lesson, let’s just say that from Day 1, Business Wire was imbued with the spirit with which we were founded. One that enabled us to defy long odds to grow from a tiny local Bay Area experiment to a global leader in the communications industry, which became so accomplished that it attracted the attention of the world’s most respected investor, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett.
Throughout the years, that spirit has driven us to be disruptors (the good kind), first movers and innovators in a highly competitive environment in which change is rapid, unforgiving and inexorable.
Here are just a few examples of this:
- Business Wire was the first newswire to transmit releases via satellite, rather than teletype, which at the time was revolutionary.
- While, unlike Al Gore, we didn’t actually invent the Internet, we did figure out some pretty good uses for it. Such as:
- We were the first wire with its own website.
- We were the first wire to send news simultaneously to both the media and the investment community in the wake of Reg FD.
- We were the first – and only – wire to be awarded both a US and Canadian patent for our Internet-based news delivery platform – N/X.
- And for good measure, we also were recently awarded a patent for our Search Engine Optimization technology.
While technology is at the heart of Business Wire, we’ve always recognized that its soul is our people. We know that people are the keys to success and the ones who establish and perpetuate any company’s reputation. So we take great care in selecting people who represent the values we most cherish – knowledgeable and people-oriented men and women who possess an abundance of honesty, integrity, professionalism and a customer-first attitude.
When you combine folks with those characteristics with our technological prowess and a passion for breaking new ground, you get success. You get – Business Wire.
However, there is an additional, essential piece to this puzzle. It’s YOU, our customers and business partners. We know that without you, there is no Us.
So the recent celebration in San Francisco, and elsewhere, wasn’t just the marking of a milestone in the passage of time, but was also a commemoration of a tremendously successful, 50 year long partnership between Business Wire, its customers and its business partners.
We thank you all for being part of this fabulous 50 year ride – and we hope you will be with us for the next 50!