In his own words: Computer Tamer owner Bob Shaw
Name/title: Bob Shaw/Owner, Computer Tamer
Number of years in this job: 9
Years in this profession: 30
Education: Associate’s degree from Arapaho Community College in Denver
Last book read: “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi
Favorite flick: “Lord of the Rings”
What’s on your iPod: I don’t own any Apple products
Spouse, kids or pets: I have two daughters who are grown and have kids. I also have a German shepherd and a golden retriever.
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about Computer Tamer and your responsibilities.
Bob Shaw: Computer Tamer is sole proprietorship. We are a retail store and repair depot for desktop computers and laptops. I usually have one full-time technician and a part-time technician. Any given day I wear all the hats, from marketing to technical support to customer service. We also do a lot of field service work.
NNBW: What prompted you to open a computer repair store in Winnemucca?
Shaw: I had lived in Winnemucca for four years, and having a strong technical background I didn’t see anyone providing the customer service this type of businesses needed, so I opened the store to do that.
NNBW: Do you have competitors in town?
Shaw: There is one other store that has been here about five years longer than I have.
NNBW: What are the main computer problems you solve for Winnemucca residents and businesses?
Shaw: The No. 1 problem is viruses on the Internet. People click on a lot of things they shouldn’t click on either through not knowing better or by deception from companies and they end up being hijacked or having their search and home pages taken over. I see that in business and on personal machines.
NNBW: What challenges come with working in a small community such as Winnemucca versus a larger metropolitan area?
Shaw: One of the unique challenges in a small community is that you have a limited pool to fish in, so you really want to take care of your customers. You can’t alienate anyone because everyone matters, so it forces you to do a better job customer-service wise. You really value every relationship you build.
NNBW: What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career that helps you succeed with your customers?
Shaw: When you sell a computer you own it forever — when you make a sale to the public in a small community, that person will always come back to you to fix that product.
NNBW: Did the recession change your business?
Shaw: Not in Winnemucca; we never suffered from the recession here being a gold-based economy. It is very much reversed from the rest of the nation.
NNBW: Which is the stronger generator of revenue: sales or service?
Shaw: Service is probably 75 percent of what we do.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Shaw: Working on the programming team for the WordStar processor, the first word processor that ever came out. It was developed in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and that was my first coding job coming out of college.
NNBW: What’s your dream job and why aren’t you working it?
Shaw: I am working it. Running a small business is my dream job. It is about supporting your neighbors and your community. This job is really about helping people; we just happen to deal with computers.
NNBW: What do you like most about your job?
Shaw: Seeing the light bulb come on when you are trying to help someone understand something about a PC. We do a lot of classes at the senior center, and getting the folks to get used to the new technology so that they can communicate with their grandkids or use Skype, seeing that connection being made is the magic of the job.
NNBW: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you that helps you in your job today?
Shaw: J. Paul Getty: “Rise early, work hard and strike oil.” It’s in that line of strong work ethic — we all earn what we deserve.
NNBW: How do you spend your time away from work?
Shaw: Exploring the Nevada outback.
NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?
Shaw: I would pay more attention to what my dad was trying to tell me.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Shaw: An astronaut.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Shaw: Yes. There are many other things I would like to explore. A retail store defines where you have to be so many hours a day, and retirement would allow me to explore other avenues.
NNBW: What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
Shaw: Unplugged from electronics and plugged into nature.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in Winnemucca, and what do you like most about working and living there?
Shaw: Happenstance brought me to Winnemucca, and the love of a small community has kept me here. I like the western Nevada attitude, the people who grew up around here and the relationships you build in a small community.
To suggest a candidate for NNBW’s weekly question and answer column, look at our editorial calendar (http://apps.nnbw.com/utils/pdfs/9683736R.pdf) and contact reporter Rob Sabo at email@example.com or call 775-850-2146.
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