How one startup changed the World (story told us by partakers in November of 1457)

Johann_Fust00Johann Fust (Investor & late stage CEO): This cold rainy day of November 17, 1457 AD Johann Fust waked up in a great mood. Servant just brought a letters from his agents in Venice and Paris – all books sold and urgently needed another 250 pieces. How changeable fate! Exactly two years ago I was thrown into jail on charges of witchcraft because they thought that the red letters of the title written in Christian blood. Only good connections in the retinue of King Louis XI and generous gifts have saved me from a painful death in the fire and the family from disgrace and ruin. Gutenberg as usually was so proud about this feature – blue and red headings. Indeed I like it too.


Buddy Gutenberg – sorry that our relationship ended but in the last few years it has become unbearable, although the money flew into the air! How many times I asked you: why do we need 25 artisans? Why do you want to invent  paints and paper?  Just make a Press thus paper and ink I will order from the Venice merchants that regularly travel to China. I heard this staff is cheap there. But stubborn continued to invent all the components. Thanks to God that I insisted two years ago and Gutenberg took  experienced scrub Peter Schoeller who helped him to make the metallic letters quickly and generally proved himself as a smartest guy.

It happens when with a heavy heart I gave to Gutenberg second loan of 800 guilders and get 50% of business. In total 1600 guilders he burned in 2 years! I could buy half of Mainz city with these money! Today Peter manages fine typography and after his marriage to my lovely daughter Christina became my loyal partner

Evil tongues say that I specifically demanded the money back when I saw that the project is almost completed in order to take all the glory and the money for  myself. God knows it’s not true. If I had not demanded the money back through the court in 1455 thus Gutenberg  continued till now to improve press or paper or goodness knows what else! I t was necessary to save business!

Instead, we have been successfully selling hundreds of books in France. Venice, Warsaw and I plan to get to the Moscow – capital of wild Slavs.

I’m sure – the next generation will be taught at the school who is Johann Fust – First Publisher and a Great Benefactor of mankind!


Arnold Gelthus – (Angel Investor, Gutenberg’s Brother in Law)

Rumors said that Fust makes fortune from the press invented by my poor brother Gutenberg. It was my first 100 guilders that allow to Gutenberg to start this business but things went so slowly that I lost hope to see my money back. Thanks to Herr Fust -he recently paid my money back with 6% interest, just asked me to sign the paper that I never claim rights for the Press.


 GutenbergJohann Gutenberg (Founder, Inventor, first CEO)  I became accustomed to boredom. 15 years of 24/7 work, I forgot to eat and often slept in the print shop  – why to waste time on the road and back home? Since I bought the book in 1439 the Chinese merchant and he told me how wonderful book printing can be done with the help of the book press and oil paint, I could not sleep well. All my previous business adventures seemed to me pathetic fiction.

Damn I yanked to contact with the venerable Herr Fust! I wish I took money from Jewish despicable money lenders! They took just 3%  of interest and certainly would never have dared to complain against me in Court! Damn Fust appeared one day to claim the money when we have already started printing the Bible and was not ready to wait a single day. Of course the court sided with the distinguished citizen Fust especially after Peter I hired and learn everything  testified against me in court. Now when Peter married Fust’s daughter to me is clear. They were in the plot from the beginning and I’m an old fool did not notice! I have enough money for leaving, just pity that whole World think that book printing is Fust innovation while my name forgotten already today!



Peter_SchoefferPeter Schöffer (CTO and “insider”) I’m the happiest man in the world! Think only- 5 years ago, I was an unknown stranger and the poor clerk in Paris and now I’m a partner in a Great business that produced the first printed book and on the cover sheet appears proudly: “Fust & Schöffer, 14 August, 1457AD” Besides, I’m son-in-law of an influential citizen of Mainz Herr Fust and happy husband of Christina. What more person may be willing to turn to God when pray at the Sunday Mass?

People are whispering behind our backs that we conspired to remove Gutenberg from the business but God knows it’s not true! I was a loyal aide to Herr Gutenberg, thanks to me – there were letters for print, and all began to move much faster. And then … then I was invited to the dinner at the house of the venerable Herr Fust and saw a beautiful Christina. I did not think that after a year she will be my wife! Required of me just a little -to help for Herr Fust in court against Gutenberg in the Court. In fact, if Gutenberg still managed our printing shop, we would not have sold a single book! I did it primarily for the benefit of the Humanity so People can buy the book as soon as possible and for the glory of the city Mainz and not because I promised by Herr Fust business partnership and marriage to his only daughter. Do not listen to these miserable gossips!


Afterword: as you can see dear reader, there is nothing new in this world. How is this story happened 550 years ago is different from the stories we read every day on site of or ? Almost indistinguishable – the same people the same passions. Nevertheless, they all have changed our world more than anyone ever. Book printing spread fast across Europe and fed Renaissance, Protestant Reformation, Age of Enlightenment  and Scientific Revolution – basement of current civilization.


We lucky to live in era of the same great communication revolution and have no clue yet where it will takes us. Taking historic perspective the change will be huge and unlike previous changes it happens very fast – within life of one generation. I believe in purposeful life – each one can contribute and make this world better for our kids and next generations.






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