Learning from Daniel Lowery, Author of Battling the Corporate
by Hudson Hornick
Many of us balk at the task of starting
our own business. Sure, we all dream about what kind of company
we’d open, but the fundamentals of getting started are daunting.
Even once established, the business owner’s work is never
done — what business out there is wholly without competition?
But where these obstacles seem overwhelming, there is hope — at
least in book form. Santa Barbara’s Daniel L. Lowery, a former
small business owner, is the author of Battling the Corporate
Giants: The Ultimate David and Goliath Story, a tell-all about how
the small business owner can compete in what used to be, but
unfortunately is no longer, a level playing field.
Armed with slingshots full of first-hand knowledge as co-owner
of Wireless 101, Lowery employs the biblical underdog tale to
depict a strategy for success that every burgeoning entrepreneur
should learn. Aptly placed metaphors alongside an extensive history
of the bad blood between the Philistines and the Israelites
decorate what would otherwise be a crude simile to modern
microeconomics. It makes for an interesting and quick read;
invaluable to any would-be businessperson and enlightening for the
Although Lowery likes to joke that his book was written on his
lunch hours, the bulk of his information and passion for it
accumulated during his time spent in the office. We spoke
What made you want to write the book? My
brother Patrick and I owned a business here in Santa Barbara and,
after an amount of time, I accumulated enough experience and
knowledge that I thought would be helpful. I did all the research
for this book in Borders, Barnes & Noble, and the Santa Barbara
Public Library. There are a lot of books out there on owning your
own business, but for the most part, they’re all targeted toward
CEOs and heads of large corporations. I wanted to write a book to
help the little guy.
Is corporate America really the bad guy? I
think that is the case. Most jobs are created in businesses with
300 employees or less. Most innovations are created in businesses
with 300 employees or less. Those are facts from the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics. But it’s no longer a level playing field for
businesses. The book highlights several examples where big business
has had special legislation passed to better benefit itself.
McDonald’s was one of the first to do this in 1972 by pushing the
“McDonald’s bill” through Congress, which allowed them to be the
only fast-food chain to raise its prices and in addition permitted
a 20 percent pay reduction for 16- and 17-year-olds. Enron was
another example. Enron had losses put into special purpose
entities, in which they’d hide their losses in order to show higher
The 1990s ushered in an era of corporate non-prosecution.
Corporations are basically unchecked. I put a chart in my book
which shows how anti-trust isn’t enforced anymore. There was a big
change in 1994 in the way corporations do their accounting. It’s
almost as if we’re entering a second Gilded Age. We have to keep
our corporations in check, not vice-versa.
What made you pick David and Goliath as a reference for
your book? I’m not a particularly religious man; I just
wanted something timeless, a story most people would know and an
easy metaphor to apply. I began to research it and I was amazed at
how appropriate it seemed. And I wanted to write about underdog
strategies — everybody likes an underdog story.