Season 1,

73: How to Lose Money by Starting a Tech Company with Tom Mulliez

August 18, 2017

The tech industry of today is similar to the gold rush of old. Some people hit it big, others not so much. In this episode, we hear about failure that eventually led to success for Tom.

Tom is a father, husband, entrepreneur, and the visionary behind iTREKKERS. Tom founded the company in 2014 after realizing that bringing together vetted professional captains and guides on one platform would help guarantee everyone a better experience in the outdoors. iTREKKERS is a combination of Tom’s desires to share his love of nature and to simplify the process of booking guided outdoor activities. His mission is threefold: to get people to experience the outdoors through iTREKKERS; to help people get outdoors, period, by providing useful tips and referrals; and to educate people about the outdoors and ways to be mindful.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[3:00] Getting to write a book with Ken Blanchard and Stephen Covey seems to be a result of being out there and doing things.

[5:48] While being a distributor for a log home company, they started offering an innovative concrete insulation product.

[7:04] Open to try new things, Carl said sure and started offering the product.

[8:07] When he meets the salesman of that product, he tells him a couple of things that don’t sound right and makes Carl doubt but he doesn’t trust his instincts.

[9:40] Knowing the job needed at least 3 days of preparation, instead of one like the salesman said, Carl still goes forward.

[10:56] Thought about cancelling the concrete pour the next day, he didn’t and on that day about ⅔ full the wall begins to bow.

[12:50] An engineer comes and says the wall will stand but it would look ugly. Carl jeopardized this job because of not trusting his instinct.

[14:01] Wanting to clean his name with his clients, he takes the wall down, paying for machines and dumpsters. Finds the company, they don’t know where the salesman is and take no responsibility for it. Carl filed a lawsuit.

[16:24] The product was a division of the company that went bankrupt so there were more lessons learned than money back.

[17:58] For the $60,000 lawsuit Carl spent around $100,000, but he won.

[20:52] As his mentor told him, it would have been better to just settle and move on, instead of losing all that time and money on that.

[22:00] Being mad over nothing costs more than just money.

[25:05] Failing Forward Segment

  • What is the bottom line reason of this failure? – “If I have done more due diligence and I’d seen another one go up I would have been better prepared.”
  • What is the single most important lesson you learned from this? – “That the second an agreement gets away from the spirit of in which it was created, the best thing to do is cut bait as quickly as possible, get on and move on.”
  • What are the major ways you protect yourself from future failures? – “If I can see it in operation and I can do the due diligence, for me at least that would tell me we’re on the right track.”
  • Who do you turn to when you need help? – “I’m part of a mastermind group and I’m part of a couple of other coaching organizations.”
  • What advice would you give to someone in a similar position? – “When I was in a situation where I was in trouble, there’s no fairness, it’s never gonna be fair, I can’t make it fair.”

[33:33] Connect with Carl Gould at and

[35:44] Carl’s final thought: “If my hard lesson learned helps increase the learning curve on somebody else then I’m very grateful to share that with your audience, thank you for that.”

To hear this episode and many more like it on your mobile device, you can subscribe to How To Lose Money via iTunes or Stitcher.


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