Seems like only yesterday Geek Squad was just a small band of irreverent technophiles making one little corner of the world free from techno-stress. Then we wake up and realize it’s our 20th birthday. Whoa!
Twenty years is a long time – especially in technology.
Consider that in 1994:
- Yahoo! was created.
- Netscape released its first graphical browser.
- Sony introduced the Playstation video game console.
- Microsoft released the Windows 3.11 operating system.
- 3.5 inch floppy disks (holding 1.44 MB) were the data transfer medium of choice.
- Though there were alternatives (plasma, LCD and projection TVs), the overwheming majority of TVs in circulation were cathode ray tubes.
- Cell phones were shaped like those walkie-talkies you see in old WWII movies.
Geek Squad was started by a University of Minnesota student who rode a bicycle around campus to fix computers and earn extra cash. Focused on being early for appointments, flat-rate pricing, explaining things in simple terms and solving the root issue, that student – Robert Stephens – quickly had a growing business. He attracted clients by making tech support accessible, turning the uniforms, the vehicles, and the persona of Geek Squad “Agents” into a brand the endures to this day.
As we grew to 30-odd “Agents” covering Minneapolis-St. Paul – with offshoots in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago – we caught the eye of Best Buy. And in 2002, when a Minnesota test pilot demonstrated how a strong “client-focused” repair experience could improve customer satisfaction, Geek Squad “acquired” Best Buy. (Or maybe it was the other way around.)
Just two years later, Geek Squad computer support rolled out to all Best Buy store “Precincts” in the U.S. and Canada, and later to European markets, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. We gained notoriety by meeting the needs of normal human beings and of celebrity clients like U2 and The Rolling Stones. We were also blessed with coverage by national news media likeTime, Newsweek and CBS 60 Minutes.
The original Geekmobile and OG Agents.
Left to Right: Nate Bauer, Markus Foster, Jason Negard, Ryan Smith, Jack Fischer, Darby Ballis, Lee Rocchio.
Inside the car: Michael Sherwood and Ron Gabrielson.
Currently 21,000+ strong, our expertise has expanded well beyond computer diagnostics and repair. We have added skilled Autotechs (mobile installation), Geek Squad Repair Agents (repair services) and Installers (Home Theater installation). Our computer repair capabilities gave rise to a 240,000 square foot computer repair facility – Geek Squad City – in Louisville, Ky. And with the advent of Geek Squad Online Support’s “Covert Ops” team, clients now how the option of getting help from the comfort of their homes.
But credit for the growth of Geek Squad really belong to the front line – the Agents. Our Agents are a unique breed. We recruit for three core attributes (curiosity, ethics and drive), along with strong people skills and technical brilliance. And it shows in the Agents. With an intense focus on delivering an exemplary experience, they look beyond surface issues to help clients make the most of their technology.
As we celebrate our 20th birthday, let’s tip our hats to the Agents who are out there making it happen every day. Where would we be without them?