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Billionaire T. Boone Pickens Reveals Childhood Lessons Which Made Him a Success
Start-up lessons from Patron Billionaire John Paul DeJoria
Sean Parker: Agent Of Disruption
I have had a chance to do anything more than scan this article from Forbes by it looks to be a great read if you are into tycoon strategies. Tycoons tend to be disruptors as I show in theTycoon Playbook. To be a disruptor you need to have the courage to take on vested interests and the powerful. You’re going to make some enemies. Sean has certainly made some enemies along the way most notably in the music industry but he’s also worth $2.1 billion today. That’s a good trade off in my book.
“He can see things most people won’t be able to see for a year or two,” says Palihapitiya. As Shervin Pishevar of Menlo Ventures describes it: “Parker has access to trends and signals that are invisible to many people. For him it’s like hearing a dog whistle.” Parker doesn’t disagree: “I find a lot of things relevant that aren’t necessarily relevant to the world when I’m thinking about them.”
Parker is drawn to big, universal problems and spends years looking for them. “Most of us kind of agree on the thrust of history. The key is to understand how we get there,” says the young billionaire as he rolls his desk chair closer to me in the office of his recently purchased $20 million Manhattan town house. “The transition strategies are more important than understanding what the outcome state will be.”
By focusing on problem selection, rather than rushing out an innovation no one wants like so many trigger-happy entrepreneurs, Parker put himself in position for the string of blockbusters that his critics blithely attribute to sequential luck.
Here is the Forbes piece Sean Parker: Agent Of Disruption.
Business Ideas – 3 Business Lessons From George Lucas by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to look at how a young man who wanted to become a professional race car driver changed his career choice after connecting with the right mentor and rose to the top of his industry. This is the story of Star Wars creator George Lucas and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“The secret is not to give up hope. It’s very hard not to because if you’re really doing something worthwhile I think you will be pushed to the brink of hopelessness before you come through the other side. You just have to hang in through that.” – George Lucas
George Lucas (born May 14, 1944) is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm and is best known as the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. Lucas’ father owned a small office supply store that Lucas was destined to take over but he had other plans – he wanted to become a professional race car driver. Almost his entire childhood was dedicated to cars.
When he was in a near-fatal car accident just days before his high school graduation, Lucas gave up racing and went to college. He enrolled in the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television because he liked photography and thought “maybe that will be interesting.” The program would change his life. He met Francis Ford Coppola at the film school who served as his mentor and inspired him to become a producer-director. Upon graduation he committed himself to doing films as his profession.
Today Lucas is one of the film industry’s most financially successful directors/producers. His estimated 2011 net worth is $3.2 billion and he’s received numerous honours such as being named among the 100 Greatest Americans by the Discovery Channel and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film institute.
Action Item #1: Love what you do
Action Item #2: Find something you’re great at
Action Item #3: Keep going
Lucas wrote the screenplay for Star Wars after being inspired by Flash Gordon and Planet of the Apes. While writing it he thought that it was “too wacky” for the general public but he insisted on finishing it. When the script was finished, only Twentieth Century Fox was willing to take a chance on the movie. In a groundbreaking move at the time, Lucas agreed to give up his director’s salary in exchange for 40% of the film’s box office take as well as all merchandising rights and sequel rights. Breaking all box office records and winning seven Academy Awards, Star Wars made Lucas an instant millionaire as well as a household name.
“I’m extremely grateful that I discovered my passion. I love movies. I love to watch them, I love to make them.”
“It’s hard work making movies…if you don’t really love it, then it ain’t worth it.”
“I got the licensing rights because I figured they wouldn’t promote the film and if I got T-shirts and things out there with the name of the film on them it would help promote the movie.”
Business Ideas – 3 Success Lessons from Reed Hastings (Netflix)
Today we’re going to take a closer look at how a Peace Corps volunteer and teacher began a software company at the age of 48. Deciding to switch careers later in life, this man would build the largest movie-rental service in the United States, with more than 23 million subscribers. This is the story of Netflix founder Reed Hastings and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“I got the idea for Netflix after my company was acquired. I had a big late fee for ‘Apollo 13.’ It was six weeks late and I owed the video store $40. I had misplaced the cassette. It was all my fault.” – Reed Hastings
Reed Hastings (born October 8, 1960) is an American entrepreneur and founder of Netflix. He used to teach mathematics in Swaziland as an American Peace Corps volunteer. So, when 48 year old Reed Hastings decided to found his own software company, some eyebrows were raised. But Hastings would prove the disbelievers wrong with the subsequent founding of Netflix, the largest movie-rental service via mail in the U.S. With over 23 million subscribers and sales in the billions, Hastings proved he was able to go from living in Africa, to living in affluence.
Hastings’ father was a prominent lawyer who once worked in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in the Nixon Administration. After graduating with his Bachelor’s Degree and winning awards for his mathematics abilities, Hastings felt the urge to join the Marine Corps. He signed up for their Platoon Leader Class, and spent two years in their boot camp in Quantico, Virginia. In 1983, Hastings found himself in Swaziland working as a mathematics professor for the Peace Corps. He stayed there two years before deciding to return home. Back in the U.S., Hastings was accepted into graduate school at Stanford. His first choice had been M.I.T., but he did not get accepted.
Hastings graduated from Stanford with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science in 1988, and was subsequently hired by Adaptive Technology, where he worked on developing a debugging software tool. But, Hastings wanted more of a challenge, and he wanted to work for himself. Hastings decided the only option was to set off on his own and start a business. In 1991, Hastings quit his job and launched Pure Software, a company dedicated to developing troubleshooting products for software. But, as the company grew, Hastings found that his mathematics and computer background was not enough of a match for running a business. He asked his company’s board of directors to replace him for the good of the company. After finally selling the business, he would wait two years before trying again. In 1998, Hastings founded Netflix as a movie rental by mail service that offered a flat rate subscription fee. Within five years the business was booming.
Action Item #1: Change the Model
Action Item #2: Don’t Underestimate the Competition
Action Item #3: Work Hard
Even though Hastings grew up in a well-to-do family and attended private school, he spent a few years working for the Peace Corps and teaching in Swaziland. After returning to the United States, he would eventually move to California. Unknown to most people, Hastings became very active in educational philanthropy. He would advocate stronger math and science curricula, as well as advocate increasing the number of charter schools, which he believed were better than public schools.
In an effort to change the way the public schools did business, Hastings would organize a drive to get a new proposal on the California ballot during the 2000 elections. Proposition 39 would go on the ballot, but to show his support for education, Hastings would go back to school to get his graduate degree in education. This showed all the residents that he was serious about education and Proposition 39 would eventually be passed by a large majority of residents.
“It was an extremely satisfying experience. Taking smart risks can be very gratifying.”
“Early on, the first concept we launched was rental by mail, but it wasn’t subscription based, so it worked more like Blockbuster. Some people liked it, but it wasn’t very popular. I remember thinking, God, this whole thing could go down.”
“I learned the value of focus. I learned it is better to do one product well than two products in a mediocre way.”
Business Ideas – 3 Business Lessons From
by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to look at how a young man left the secure job that his father wanted him to take to follow his passion in the sporting world. He went on to build one of the most well known companies in the world. This is the story of Nike founder Philip Knight and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“We had no master plan. It was totally seat of the pants.” – Philip Knight
Philip Knight (born February 24, 1938) is the co-founder and Chairman of Nike. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Knight discovered he had a love for running and went to train with the legendary track coach Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon. In addition to coaching, Bowerman was experimenting with creating new types of shoes and Knight field tested them on the track for him.
After graduating, Knight went to graduate school at Stanford and signed up for a small business class. He had to create a business plan in the class and thought back to Bowerman’s shoes. In his business plan, Knight developed a blueprint for superior athletic shoes which could be produced cheaply in Japan. After taking a job as an accountant to make his father happy and hating it, Knight flew to Japan to find a factory to make the shoes. He returned home to create a partnership with Bowerman. They each invested $500 into the business and named it Blue Ribbon Sports (later changed to Nike). In its first year the company sold only $364 worth of shoes but Knight was determined to make the company work and stuck with it until it did.
Today Nike brings in almost $20 billion in revenue. Knight’s stake in the company gives him an estimated net worth of US$12.7 billion, making him the 60th richest person in the world.
Action Item #1: Have a Clear Focus
Action Item #2: Think of Business as War
Action Item #3: Just Do It
In 1972, Knight decided that his company, Blue Ribbon Sports, needed a new name and a new logo. Knight liked the name “Dimension Six” but his staff disagreed. One employee suggested “Nike” after the Greek goddess of victory.
Knight then paid $35 to Carolyn Davidson, a University of Oregon student, to design the now famous “swoosh” logo. At the time Knight said “I don’t love it, but it will grow on me.” He was under a deadline to pick a logo so he went with it and a the new company was born.
“Ultimately, we wanted Nike to be the world’s best sports and fitness company. Once you say that, you have a focus.”
“The trouble in America is not that we are making too many mistakes, but that we are making too few.”
“Everybody wants a certain amount of stress. Most people have too much, but I didn’t want too little, either.”
Business Ideas: My Favourite 5 Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launches of All Time
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #5: Dana White Saves the UFC
White agreed and put his business on the line. The show became a huge success which ended with Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar fighting for a six-figure contract. White credits the show for saving the UFC and continued airing new seasons of The Ultimate Fighter to expand the awareness and popularity of his company.
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #4 – Philip Knight signs Michael Jordan:
The Air Jordan became the most valuable footwear franchise in Nike’s history. It was so popular that launch dates had to be postponed to weekends so kids wouldn’t be tempted to skip school to get their hands on the latest Air Jordan. The move took Nike from being a running shoe company with no exposure to the basketball market to now owning as much as 85% of the basketball shoe market.
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #3: Bill Gates Pitches a Product that Doesn’t Exist
Bill Gates and long time friend Paul Allen turned their passion for programming into a business when they saw a picture of the Altair 8080 on the cover of Popular Electronics. Gates called Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), the company that was manufacturing the Altair, and told them that he and Allen had developed a programming language for the computer that was ready to launch.
With not a single line of code written and no Altair to work on, Gates and Allen worked around the clock on Harvard computers to do what they said they had already done. Eight weeks later, Allen flew to MITS headquarters in New Mexico to present their code. Without even a test-run, their program was a success and MITS bought the rights, making it an industry standard. Within one year, Gates had dropped out of Harvard and the two high school friends established Microsoft Corporation.
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #2: Richard Branson Drives a Tank into Times Square
To launch Virgin Cola he rode into Times Square in New York City on top of a tank, promising to battle with Coke and Pepsi. To launch Virgin Mobile in Canada he repelled into the heart of Yonge-Dundas square. Branson has also made several world record-breaking attempts. With “Virgin Atlantic Challenger” and “Virgin Atlantic Challenger II” he raced to have the fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing. In “Virgin Atlantic Flyer” he created the world’s largest hot air balloon and was the first to cross the Atlantic in a balloon. He then tried to become the first person to go around the world in a hot air balloon.
Branson is always thinking of new ways to launch and promote his businesses – the more high profile, the better. Even when his stunts don’t work out they garner so much attention for his businesses that it’s all worth it for him.
Gutsiest Entrepreneur Launch #1: P.T. Barnum Puts on a Show
Even if you didn’t have a ticket to his show, when Barnum’s circus was in town, you would know it. He would sweep into the city with gusto; elephants would be paraded through the streets, clowns would be sent to local hospitals to visit with sick children. Barnum provided a pre-show to his circus that he hoped would get people talking and raise excitement about his show. He would give tours of his circus to anyone who wanted to see inside the Big Top, and also put on multiple free contests in order to attract crowds to his show.
Barnum was always thinking of ways to promote both himself and his circus. From making splashy entrances to using cross-promotion, Barnum did what it took to make sure people knew who he was.
Business Ideas: 3 Business Lessons From J.K. Rowling by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to look at how a single mother on welfare followed her passion of writing and became the first billion-dollar author and the highest earning novelist in history. This is the story of J.K. Rowling and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from her success.
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J.K. Rowling
Action Item #1: Get Over Your Fear of Failure
Nobody wants to fail but you can’t let the fear of failing prevent you from making important decisions in your life. Anything worth doing will come with a healthy dose of fear – successful entrepreneurs are the ones who can plough through that fear and come out victorious on the other side.
Rowling couldn’t believe the number of different stories publishing houses gave her as to why they didn’t want to print her manuscript. Her story was too long, too fantastical, and wouldn’t do well selling to a mainstream audience, they said. She remained patient and had faith in her product. She continued to send it out to publishing houses until she found one who saw in her story what she did: a success. It was one year from the time Rowling finished the very first Harry Potter book to the time that a publisher finally agreed to buy and publish it.
According to Rowling: “Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve. I was determined to try. I was determined to try because, frankly, my life was such a mess at this point, what — what was the worst that could happen? Everyone turn me down? Big deal.”
Action Item #2: Make Every Second Count
You only have so much time in the day to get work done and, as entrepreneurs, we usually have too many projects on the go to keep track of. It’s hard work getting a business off the ground and you need to make every second count.
Harry Potter came to life on a day that Rowling was stuck on a train between Manchester and London during a four-hour delay. The passenger sitting next to her might have used the time to catch up on some sleep, but Rowling was determined to use the time to her advantage. Whether it was a 15 minute break from her secretarial duties at Amnesty International or a 30 minute nap time break from her baby daughter, Rowling used every spare second to dream up and jot down points for her story.
According to Rowling: “Where the idea for Harry Potter actually came from, I really couldn’t tell you. I was traveling on a train between Manchester and London and it just popped into my head. I spent four hours thinking about what Hogwarts would be like — the most interesting train journey I’ve ever taken. By the time I got off at King’s Cross, many of the characters in the books had already been invented.”
Action Item #3: Love What You Do
If you don’t love what you do, you’re not going to have much success and entrepreneur. You’re going to quit as soon as it gets tough and you’re not going to make a meaningful contribution to your community. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it’s right when you find it.
Rowling wanted to make her contribution the world, to add her unique something that nobody else could bring to the table — and that unique something was her writing. She never went searching for the kind of success she has received today. She simply wanted to do best what she loved most, and that was writing.
According to Rowling: “I just write what I wanted to write… I write what amuses me. It’s totally for myself… I am an extraordinarily lucky person, doing what I love best in the world. I’m sure that I will always be a writer.”
Business Ideas – 3 Business Lessons from the YouTube Founders by Evan Carmichael
Today we are going to look at two men, one from a middle-class family, the other an immigrant from Taiwan. After befriending each other on the job, these two men would join forces to build an online business that would eventually sell for $1.65 billion. This is the story of YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen and the top 3 lessons you can learn from their success.
“It’s about creating new market opportunities. Giving users new ways to be creative…We see our technology as a platform for other things.” – Chad Hurley and Steve Chen
Steve Shih Chen (born August 1978) and Chad Meredith Hurley (born January 1, 1977) joined forces to build YouTube.com, a social video site that sold to Google for a reported $1.65 billion. These two friends met while working together at PayPal.com. They hit it off and would begin spending a lot of time together discussing their business ideas. However, it was not until eBay purchased PayPal for $1.54 billion that they both would decide to follow their dreams.
Upon the sale of PayPal to eBay, both Chen and Hurley would receive large bonuses. They decided to use their money to create their own venture. With Chen’s engineering skills and Hurley’s creativity, they thought they had the right mix to form a company together. They really had no idea about what type of business to create, but felt that together they could create something monumental.
In January 2005, Hurley and Chen attended a friend’s diner party in San Francisco. They had taken a few digital videos of the event and wanted to share them with each other the next day, but could not find a good way to do it. The files were too big to email and posting them online would take hours. With that, Hurley and Chen had their first idea for a sustainable business. Using the money they had received from the PayPal buyout, Chen and Hurley decided to create YouTube, to make uploading and sharing videos online as easy as anyone could want.
Action Item #1: Build an Experience
Action Item #2: Make the Business Unique
Action Item #3: Focus on the Customer
If you focus on your customer they’ll take care of your business success. Get close to them, understand what they really need, and get their feedback on what you can do to be better. Businesses that form around customer problems are more likely to succeed and are more likely to adapt to changes when the economy dips.
From day one of YouTube, Hurley and Chen have reaffirmed their commitment to creating the best possible service for their customers, even where that came at the expense of their revenues. They are not simply compassionate businessmen, out to make people happy instead of making a dollar. Instead, they see user satisfaction as necessary for long-term success. They believe that every successful business must listen to their customers and focus on what the customer’s wants.
According to Chen and Hurley, “If we wanted to, we could instantly turn this into $10 million in revenue per month by running pre-rolls [short video ads] on the videos. But at the same time, we’re going to make sure that whatever revenue model we’ve built is going to be something that’s accepted by the users… We’re not in a hurry. We’re interested in building our community. We’re trying to improve discovery. We’re trying to improve the experience for people on our site.”
After the dinner party that gave Chen and Hurley the business idea for YouTube, they wanted a simpler way to share their videos of the night, so they immediately went to work creating the answer. They witnessed the massive growth of such sites as MySpace and wondered how they could leverage that growth to their advantage. Instead of building their own social networking site, Hurley and Chen wanted to take advantage of those that were already out there.
To that end, they made it easy for members of those sites to embed YouTube videos on their pages. They worked with those companies that were already out there, instead of trying to go against them. By following this strategy, Chen and Hurley found it easier to build upon their idea and their company began to take off.
Business Ideas – How to Go From Nothing to Something like Rupert Murdoch
Today we’re going to take a closer look at how a man turned a small-town newspaper into a media giant and amassed a personal net worth of over $8 billion. This is the story of media mogul and founder of The News Corporation Rupert Murdoch and top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.” – Rupert Murdoch
Action Item #1: Know Your Business
Action Item #2: Do Not Fail
Action Item #3: Build a Team
In January 2012, off the coast of Tobago Cays, five tiny uninhabited islands in the Grenadines there were “a gaggle of billionaires’ yachts” anchored. There is David Geffen on Rising Sun, the world’s biggest yacht. Simon Cowell was on his Slipstream. Philip Green on Lionheart, while elsewhere, Marks & Spenser boss Stuart Rose is staying with Matthew Freud and Elisabeth Murdoch on their yacht. Next to them is Angle Share, James Murdoch’s boat, and nearby is the floating holiday home of Carphone Warehouse boss Charlie Dunstone. Right in the middle is a craft whose precious cargo is Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch stopped by Cowell’s Slipstream on his tender…delivering that morning’s newspapers, published by News International in Britain, America and Australia. They had been reproduced on a printing press installed on Murdoch’s yacht. ‘The world’s most expensive newspaper boy,’ Stuart Rose had quipped, digging for a coin to tip the deliverer.
“You’ve got to look for a gap, where competitors in a market have grown lazy and lost contact with the readers or the viewers.”
“News…communicating news and ideas, I guess.. is my passion. And giving people alternatives so that they have two papers to read and alternative television channels.”
“The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”