Story of Bill Gross forming GoTo / Overture

Aug 6th

John Battelle tells the story about Bill Gross's arbitrage candy selling as a kid, and how he later came to form GoTo, which pioneered the underlying business model that currently powers search.

I heavily practiced arbitrage with baseball cards when I was young. Below is my arbitrage story.
When I was 10 I remember this one guy had a game where it costed 50 cents to roll dice and win the prize. I kept landing packs of the first run 1990 Donruss baseball cards with the Harold Baines reverse negative and other error cards. I kept selling the packs for $3 - $5 to other dealiers, to go back and do more rolling. By the time the day was done I had a Tony Gwynn rookie, a Brett Saberhagan rookie, and about a couple hundred dollars worth of other cards from $5 spent on the roll a dice game.

Around the same time I remember buying Score Dream Team cards in bulk near book price and selling them to a dealer two tables over for double book price.

In high school I started selling baseball cards. I would buy cards out of people's 3 for a dime and quarter boxes and sell the cards for $1 each. It was an easy sell to have a huge case full of cards worth 25 cents to $4 each and organize them by player and just price them all at $1 each. It allowed people who did not collect baseball cards to start buying their favorite player at my table.

Sorry for the tangent...arbitrage is such a yummy topic. I don't collect baseball cards much anymore, but those are some fond childhood memories :)

Published: August 6, 2005

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