Thomas: You have a strong background in technology. Can you tell me a little bit about your background and maybe shed some light on the importance of your technology experience and self-storage?
Kirk: In early 1985 I was in graduate school and fortunate to associate with some very smart individuals. We saw a new and emerging technology industry and knew we wanted to be a part of it. In the garage of one of my partners, we started a company through building a component that increased the effectiveness of the 80286 processor by 33%. I am certainly dating myself, as I would bet that less than 20% of the folks in this room ever had the pleasure of using this technology.
To give you some perspective, at the time you could purchase an IBM PC AT for $6,000, and for $99 bucks our Turboswitch boosted speeds by 1/3. As with any technology, the 80286 processor had a very short life cycle, and our Turboswitch was becoming obsolete, too.
This new and growing company we had started was on the verge of obsolescence. We needed to reinvent and redefine ourselves. We saw the market for laptops exploding, but to make this tool impactful it had to be connected using modems.We saw the need for mobile communications growing and felt this could be an opportune area for growth. We developed modems to meet the needs of a growing "anytime, anywhere" business environment and rapidly grew to become the world's leading supplier of solution-oriented mobile data communications products. The innovative developments that Megahertz had come up with have become the genesis for today's mobile world. In 1993, we took Megahertz public, and in 1995 we were purchased by USRobotics. I found myself retired at the ripe old age of 36. A former board member of Megahertz approached me and told me that I was too young to retire and needed to be actively engaged. Some of you may know that individual. It was the founder of Extra Space Storage, Ken Woolley.