Geek Squad's Founding Geek Exits Best Buy

Robert Stephens founded Geek Squad in 1994 in Minneapolis and sold the company eight years later to Best Buy. Rather than than take his buyout check and invest it in a semi-pro basketball team, Stephens stayed on after the merger to become Best Buy’s Chief Technology Officer. But all things come to an end and today, he announced it was time for him to try something else.

Stephens says that not only is his departure from Best Buy amicable, it was actually planned all along.

“I never really told anyone, but 10 years was always the outside number,” he writes on his personal blog. “It’s as simple as this: After founding The Geek Squad 18 years ago, and acquiring Best Buy 10 years ago, I’m ready to build new companies.”

He says he wants to pair everything he learned from running his own successful start-up with his years as an executive at one of the nation’s largest retailers.

As for what that next project might be, Stephens provides the following:

Every company is in the service business now. Operations are not enough: companies must design experiences if they are going to stand out. Technology and software will be key to building those services. Every company needs a unique brand and culture, especially if it is going to innovate. That’s where you’ll find me: at the intersection of four key areas: service, technology, culture, and brands.

In Consumerist’s early days, Stephens actually made a number of attempts to help readers with Geek Squad-related complaints, though he was not exactly thrilled by the site’s decision to not reveal the identities of Geek Squad employees caught attempting to swipe porn from a laptop brought in for service.