Joseph Segel, the man who founded QVC to compete with the Home Shopping Network, has died at age 88. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports he died of congestive heart failure in Gladwyne, Pa. A statement from Qurate Retail Group, now the parent company of both QVC and HSN, says Segel was the "quintessential entrepreneur," with President and CEO Mike George calling Segel a "remarkable leader ... marketer, teacher, and friend," per Reuters. When he created QVC (which stands for "Quality Value Convenience") in 1986, it was on five dozen cable stations in 20 states—today, the channel is piped into 380 million homes, per a press release cited by Fox News. Segel retired as chair of QVC in 1993, though he stayed on as an adviser for two more decades.
The Inquirer notes Segel, who was born in Philadelphia, got the entrepreneurial bug at age 12, when he started selling business cards to neighborhood firms using a small printing press. He'd run four businesses by the time he got out of college. CBS Philly notes he founded more than 20 additional companies over his lifetime, including collectibles and coin firm Franklin Mint. "QVC was his biggest accomplishment, but his pride was Franklin Mint, because Franklin Mint was ... his baby. He built it from zero," son Alan Segel tells the Inquirer. Qurate's George adds in his statement, per CNN Business: "He was a visionary whose ideas changed the way the world shops." Segel's wife died last year; he's survived by his two sons, a stepdaughter, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. (Read more obituary stories.)