Posted By Randy Jones on April 9, 2009
Bernie Marcus is, without question, one of the greatest American self-made success stories of all time. The company he founded, Home Depot, has immeasurably changed the landscape of virtually every town in America. Marcus’s Home Depot added its trademark orange to the red, white, and blue American Dream of owning your own home and finding pleasure in fixing it up. Today Home Depot has more than 2,200 stores across North America.
This success story began for Marcus at a point when most people would be thinking about hanging up their spurs and heading to sunny retirement villages. Not so for him and his co-founders, Arthur Blank, Ken Langone, and Pat Farrah. Marcus and Blank were both fired from Handy Dan, a home-improvement chain that their new company ultimately put out of business. While you may be thinking that revenge is sweet, revenge was not the motivation for these then middle-aged middle managers—being fired was the best thing that ever happened to both of them. In fact, Bernie Marcus said to me when I was interviewing him for my book, “My life began when I was fired at 49 years of age.” Closing one door led to opening thousands more—more than 2,200, to be exact.