Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2008 (Revised October 2012)

Big to Small: The Two Lives of Barry Nalls

by Noam T. Wasserman and Rachel Galper

Abstract

Barry Nalls describes lessons learned during his 25-year career—his rise at GTE and shorter-lived ventures—and how these prepared him to found MASERGY, a telecommunications start-up. Even as a young boy in a family of entrepreneurs, Nalls had a reputation as a hard worker, but instead of becoming an entrepreneur himself, he built a long career at "the biggest company around," GTE. After years of working there in sales and marketing, he decided to venture out on his own. His GTE experiences armed him for some entrepreneurial challenges but also caused additional problems as he tried to start, build, and grow MASERGY. Four years after founding the venture, he now feels that he should have "taken the entrepreneurial plunge" much earlier in life.

Keywords: Business Startups; Experience and Expertise; Entrepreneurship; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Personal Development and Career;

Citation:

Wasserman, Noam T., and Rachel Galper. "Big to Small: The Two Lives of Barry Nalls." Harvard Business School Case 808-167, June 2008. (Revised October 2012.)