the 1st Commandment of Business

About Us

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 an exemplary American entrepreneur. 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. A specialist in business valuation and market assessment, Joe Carlen has been sought out by a wide variety of professionals, entrepreneurs, midsize firms such as Pacific Plastics & Engineering (medical device design & manufacturing) and Unicom Technology (telecommunications infrastructure) and larger firms like Time Warner and Westinghouse Energy.

Mr. Carlen, the author of a comprehensive biography of 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 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. Aside from writing A Brief History of Entrepreneurship for Columbia University Press, The Einstein of Money, and co-writing Bell's autobiography, Carlen has contributed articles to Bloomberg, CNBC, ValueWalk, and other esteemed financial media outlets.

The published business author has been featured as a guest speaker at Columbia University, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Fordham University, and the Museum of American Finance. In recent years, Carlen has also made over two dozen media appearances, including on such highly-rated programs as the nationally syndicated MoneyTalk and the Cheri Hill Show.