Not long after Mitch Ziegler became chief executive officer of Reno's Dibbs International, he fielded a call from a much larger company that was interested in buying the technology Dibbs has developed.
Ziegler thought about it, swallowed hard and turned down the well-heeled suitor.
His thinking: Dibbs can make more money developing the technology itself than it can make selling the software to a third party.
Now he faces the test.
Founded five years ago, Dibbs has developed an event-and-entertainment app for mobile devices that's won applause from users in Reno and San Francisco.
The app, which operates free to the user and free to the event promoter, provides details about entertainment events that includes GPS data that guides the user to the event.
"It's a great technology," Ziegler says.
But the great technology has yet to turn into a great business for privately held Dibbs and its investors, and that's where Ziegler comes in.
Long retired after selling an electronics component distribution firm in 2000, Ziegler was teaching classes at Truckee Meadows Community College and working as a business manager in a Reno law firm when he was approached earlier this year about taking the CEO job at Dibbs.
In the press release announcing the appointment of Ziegler, the company promised that investors and users would be seeing effective management practices as well as accelerated development of expansion projects.
The company said Ziegler will oversee day-to-day operations of the company as well as execution of its large-scale strategy.
Scott Armstrong, the co-founder of Dibbs, previously served as its chief executive officer. He remains with the company as a director and also handles marketing and financial responsibilities.
Erin Looney, the company's other founder, remains as a director, president and chief of information technology. Rick Rapp also remains as a director of the company.
Joining Ziegler in the company's management is Reno attorney Scott Tisevich, who was named chief financial officer.
While details remain under wraps, Ziegler promises that the company will begin generating revenue and soon.
"We have a revenue component, and we know it works," the Dibbs CEO says.
One aspect of the strategy: Rolling the Dibbs application as quickly as possible into markets beyond Reno and San Francisco. Las Vegas is a natural. Atlanta is high on the company's list of target cities.
The goal, Ziegler says, is creation of a national brand. That, in turn, translates in an ever-growing number of users, and big numbers of users translate into big valuation for the company.
At the same time, the company continues to develop the underlying software.
"We've only seen the first couple of peels of the onion," says Ziegler.
He says the next peels are likely to expand Dibbs' use as social-networking tool, provide personalized listings that reflect the taste of a user and add one-tap secure transactions.
"Facebook was Social Networking 1," he says. "Dibbs is Social Networking 2."
Once the company begins to generate revenue from the application, Ziegler expects explosive employment growth. A few weeks ago, he said Dibbs might employ at many as 250 additional workers, largely in management and information-technology positions.
The company currently operates with an undisclosed, but small, number of employees and contractors in offices in the Bank of America Plaza at 50 W. Liberty.