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Interview with Mark Dorsey, VP Business Development & Co-Founder at Bonanza

Photo credit: Mark Dorsey
The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.

Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is
not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!

Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.

Can you tell everyone your name, please?

Mark Dorsey

Tell me about your education?

Formally, one semester of college and that was all I needed to identify that college was not the best fit for me. Informally, life. For me, real-life experiences have had the most impact on my education.

Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?

After I dropped out of college, I started working in a position that would teach me the skills I needed (International Business) to achieve the goals I had for myself. College was not for me. The lesson I learned was that there are many paths to a goal. Be open to the many different possibilities and do what feels best. Think outside the box.

We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.

Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?

I am influenced and motivated by every entrepreneur I meet or come to know. There is usually something positive you can derive from everyone. I am quite fond of Harry Truman (US President) and his journey. Harry Truman was an underdog who worked hard and had unwavering integrity. Harry Truman is the epitome of an entrepreneur, hard working, integrity, honesty, not afraid to take risks, passion, and discipline.

What is the name of your company?

Bonanza

Where is your company located?

Seattle, Washington

What services or products does your organization provide?

Bonanza is an online marketplace where shoppers go to find “Everything but the Ordinary.” We have over 35 million unique items available for sale.

What problem is your business trying to solve?

Unlike eBay or Amazon, Bonanza is a seller-focused marketplace. So everything we do is to empower our sellers and help them to succeed in eCommerce. We do all the heavy lifting for our sellers, so they do not have to be experts in all things eCommerce, so they can focus on what they do best, sourcing/creating great products and providing excellent customer service.

How is your business unique against your competitors?

We focus on sellers. Our sellers are our customers. We also strive to create as many win-win situations on Bonanza as possible. For example, Bonanza has zero costs to get set up. A seller can create an online presence and have their items for sale without it costing them a penny. Bonanza will take a small % (3.5%) when they make a sale. Bonanza is incentivized to help our sellers sell as many items as possible. When our sellers have success, we have success.

How did the idea for your business come to fruition?

Our founder, and CEO, Bill Harding, was having a yard sale and had no visitors, so he decided to sell his items instead online. It was then that he discovered the experience for a seller could be dramatically improved and that is when Bonanza was born (2007).

Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?

https://www.bonanza.com/press

Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.

What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?

1) Enjoy the journey. If you put too much emphasis on the goal, you will miss out on the true gift.

2) Be positive. Challenge yourself to find the opportunity in each interaction/experience. They are there, and you need to
train yourself to spot them.

3) Ask the right questions, and you will get the right answers.