the 1st Commandment of Business

About Us

Our Philosophy

At a recent conference for entrepreneurs, Sabeer Bhatia, the co-founder of Hotmail (the web based e-mail system sold to Microsoft for $400 Million) identified the two most critical steps toward Business Success: Create a unique product or service and know the market for your creation. He emphasized that the second step, knowing your market, is the primary differentiator between enterprises that succeed and those that fail. Companies like Apple and Toyota, that really understand their market, are able to identify and fulfill important consumer needs overlooked by their competitors and communicate their products’ unique advantages effectively. From product development all the way to sales, the fundamental law of business is to Know Thy Market!

Robert Bell : Co-Founder

Robert Bell grew up in a relatively tough middle-class Miami neighborhood where he developed an indomitable work ethic and a fearless entrepreneurial spirit. As chronicled in his autobiography "From Lifeguard to Sun King", his story is a case study in successful market-oriented business excellence: Having spent much of his youth as a lifeguard & pool boy at some of Miami's most prestigious hotels, by the time he launched his Banana Boat sun care brand, there was no one who knew the sun care market and its unmet needs better than him. He daydreamed of building his own sun care brand and, while he was still in college, he did just that.

Robert Bell and George Bush Sr.

“A great entrepreneur and the ideal of the American Dream”

President George H.W. Bush from a personal appearance honoring the entrepreneurial success of Robert Bell.

Bell formulated his products, branding strategy, and promotional approach around these market insights. In this manner, he was able to surpass the sales of larger and more established brands. In remarkably short order, Bell proceeded to build the Banana Boat sun care brand from, literally, a garage operation to the global consumer products giant that it remains to this day. Bell later applied these same market-oriented strategic principles to success with other consumer product brands.

In recognition of both his business success and his philanthropy, Robert Bell has been honored by both President Bush (Sr.) and President Clinton. He has also been a recipient of Merrill Lynch/Ernst & Young/Inc Magazine's prestigious "Entrepreneur of the Year" award and has been inducted into the American Entrepreneurs' Hall of Fame. A statue of his likeness is on display at Florida International University's Hall of Fame where he is honored as a distinguished alumnus.

In short, Robert Bell is acclaimed as one of America's premier business leaders. As such, he is a highly coveted business speaker and consultant across the world. At Know Thy Market, Bell is the lead consultant on projects pertaining to the consumer products industry.

Joe Carlen : Co-Founder

Joe Carlen


Joe Carlen, MBA, MISM, CVA offers a unique combination of technical & financial knowledge, business acumen, and strong writing skills. Collectively, these are leveraged for the benefit of clients through the preparation of highly effective strategic documents. Among the leading specialists in market assessment and business valuation, Joe Carlen has been sought out by midsize firms such as Pacific Plastics & Engineering (medical device manufacturing) and Unicom Technology (telecommunications infrastructure) to the likes of Time Warner and Westinghouse Energy.

Mr. Carlen, the author of the business bestseller "The Einstein of Money" about Warren Buffett's mentor and valuation guru Benjamin Graham (read the Economist review here), brings his strong financial analysis and valuation skills to bear on all projects.

Westinghouse Logo

“Joe Carlen's strategic document for Westinghouse Energy was excellent”

Don Hill, Senior Engineer, Westinghouse Energy Center

Joe Carlen and Robert Bell have worked together since 2007, when they co-wrote Bell's autobiography. Carlen's specialization in market assessment and financial analysis/business valuation is the ideal complement to Bell's entrepreneurial expertise. Joe Carlen is a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) with the NACVA who also earned an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and an MISM (Information Systems) Masters degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Carlen has been featured as a guest speaker at Columbia University, University California San Diego (UCSD), California International Business University, Fordham University, and the Museum of American Finance.

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