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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 Wolfgang Puck by Evan Carmichael
Today we’re going to take a closer look at how the son of a single mother and a young boy contemplating suicide would start his own company that is worth around $500 million today. This is the story of renowned chef Wolfgang Puck and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from his success.
“Young people want to be famous before they know how to cook, before they know how to treat people, before they know what hospitality means. I stayed in France for seven years and Austria for three, so before I was a chef anywhere I was already cooking for 10 years.” – Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Johann Puck (born January 8, 1949) was born to a hotel chef mother and a butcher father; the art and love of preparing food was in his blood. Puck’s father abandoned his mother just before his birth, leaving Maria Topfschnig as a single mother. In 1956, she remarried to coal-miner Josef Puck, who then adopted Wolfgang, making him Wolfgang Johann Puck. This marriage would result in two younger sisters and a little brother for Puck.
Under the guidance of his mother, who had been dabbling in the professional culinary arts for some time, Puck began cooking pastries. He had made up his mind at an early age that he wanted to follow in his mother’s footsteps and become a professional chef. Instead of following the traditional route of first attending culinary school, however, Puck chose to instead train under an apprenticeship from the age of 14. He was sent on a train to southern Austria to work in a hotel kitchen, but did not find the success he had hoped for. After stepping onto cakes on a bakery floor, he recalls that, “everyone told me I’m good for nothing.” A few days later, the head chef told Puck, “You’d better go home to your mother so she can breastfeed you for another year.” After pondering suicide, Puck chose instead to apprentice at another hotel. It proved to be a wise decision.
Puck decided to move to the United States in 1973 and worked in several restaurants before finding a home at Ma Maison, a failing Hollywood restaurant. There he would bring the restaurant back to prominence and become co-owner. In 1982, Puck launched his first cookbook, Modern French Cooking for the American Kitchen. With the success that followed, and upon meeting his future wife and business partner Barbara Lazaroff who would encourage him to follow his dreams, Puck got the confidence he needed to finally realize one of his lifelong goals; Puck was going to open his own restaurant. With the backing of some investors, he opened Spago and the rest is history.
Action Item #1: Don’t Complicate Things
Action Item #2: Hire Good People
Action Item #3: Never Give Up
Wolfgang Puck has been seen many times by customers, but never in the light Terry Dullum remembers well. One evening he entered one of Puck’s new restaurants in Las Vegas, the Californian Pizza Kitchen at the MGM Grand Hotel. As Dullum tells the story, he walked in and sat down, only to see Puck through the open kitchen. He was surprised to see him there at all, but what surprised him more was Puck came out and took his order, then proceeded to make the pizza he ordered himself.
Dullum stated that he could see Puck toss the dough, put the ingredients on the pizza and then place it in the oven. According to Dullum, he thought maybe this was a dream and said he smiled each time he watched Puck sampling each one of the raw ingredients before he placed them on Dullum’s pizza. Here was a man worth around $500 million, owned a host of restaurants around the country, is the main caterer at the Governor’s Ball for the Academy Awards for the past 18 or so years and is probably the most famous chef in the world, but took the time to make one person a pizza. Dullum states Puck brought out the pizza and it was the best he has ever had.
“I love to make people happy.”
“There is no value with just one restaurant or with one person. The brand has to be bigger than the person.”
“LA is really very interesting. You have a Chinese part, a Japanese part, a Vietnamese part and so on. You have Thai markets. When I started to learn about the city, I said, ‘You know, maybe our menu should represent the cultural heritage of LA.”
Disobedient Thinking: Welby Ings
Welby Ings is an award winning designer, filmmaker and playwright, with his short film ‘Boy’ short listed for the 2006 Academy Awards. An elected Fellow of the British Royal Society of Arts and consultant to many international organisations on issues of creativity and learning, Welby is now a Professor in Design at Auckland University of Technology. Having taught at all levels of the New Zealand education system, he has remained an outspoken critic of dehumanised systems of learning. In 2001 he was awarded the Prime Minister’s inaugural Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.
Invisible Influences of the Mind: Oscar Gonzales
Oscar Gonzales is a member of the Academy of Magical Arts at the Magic Castle and practices mentalism whenever he can. He is also a doctoral student in the Neuroscience Program at UC Riverside. Here he reveals his 17 year journey as a magician.
Park Avenue – Money, Power and The American Dream
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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) presents his take on the gap between rich and poor Americans in Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream. Gibney contends that America’s richest citizens have “rigged the game in their favor,” and created unprecedented inequality in the United States.
Nowhere, Gibney asserts, is this more evident than on Park Avenue in New York. 740 Park in Manhattan is currently home to the highest concentration of billionaires in the country. Across the river, less than five miles away, Park Avenue runs through the South Bronx, home to the poorest congressional district in the United States.
In Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream Gibney states that while income disparity has always existed in the U.S., it has accelerated sharply over the last 40 years. As of 2010, the 400 richest Americans controlled more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the populace — 150 million people. In the film, Gibney explains why he believes upward mobility is increasingly out of reach for the poor.
Information designer Tom Wujec talks through three areas of the brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, connections.He asks: How can we best engage our brains to help us better understand big ideas?
Tom Wujec studies how we share and absorb information. He’s an innovative practitioner of business visualization — using design and technology to help groups solve problems and understand ideas. He is a Fellow at Autodesk.
Why you should listen to him:
Tom Wujec is a Fellow at Autodesk, the makers of design software for engineers, filmmakers, designers. At Autodesk, he has worked on software including SketchBook Pro, PortfolioWall and Maya (which won an Academy Award for its contribution to the film industry). As a Fellow, he helps companies work in the emerging field of business visualization, the art of using images, sketches and infographics to help teams solve complex problems as a group.
Jane Fonda: Life’s third act
Within this generation, an extra 30 years have been added to our life expectancy — and these years aren’t just a footnote or a pathology. In this talk, Jane Fonda asks how we can think about this new phase of our lives.
Jane Fonda has had three extraordinary careers (so far): an Oscar-winning actor, a prominent activist and a best-selling fitness guru.
Why you should listen to her:
Jane Fonda is an actor, author, producer, activist and exercise guru. Outspoken and committed, she supports environmental issues, peace, and female empowerment. She founded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, and established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at the Emory School of Medicine. She cofounded the Women’s Media Center, and sits on the board of V-Day: Until The Violence Stops, a global effort to stop violence against women and girls. She is a former Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund.
Jane’s remarkable screen and stage career includes two Best Actress Oscars, an Emmy, a Tony Award nomination and an Honorary Palme d’Or from the Cannes Film Festival—she is one of only three people to receive this honor. Off stage, she revolutionized the fitness industry in the 1980s with Jane Fonda’s Workout—the all time top-grossing home video. She has written a best-selling memoir, My Life So Far, and Prime Time, a comprehensive guide to living life to the fullest, particularly for boomers.