The 8 Most Daring Entrepreneurs: Amazon’s CEO, the Chairman of Starbucks, Uber’s CBO, the Director of “Wonder Woman” and more
Let’s introduce eight especially noteworthy entrepreneurs from the list of the 50 most daring entrepreneurs chosen by Entrepreneur, an entrepreneurial information site . These eight individuals are ingenious, inspiring and unafraid of risks. From international celebrities such as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Space X CEO Elon Musk and Howard Schultz of Starbucks, to Nicholas Horbaczewski, the CEO who launched the drone racing league, JP Morgan Chase CMO and CCO Kristin Lemkau, all of them possess amazing leadership skills and the ability to make the impossible possible.
“Do not be afraid of failure and continue to move forward”, “emphasize connections with consumers” and “always absorb new knowledge and experiences” are the common business philosophies of these individuals. It is clear that innovative ideas that anticipate market demand through positive and enthusiastic approaches hold the keys to a successful business.
It is also interesting to note that out of the 50 people chosen, roughly 20 of them are businesswomen.
Jeff Bezos (Founder and CEO of Amazon) – Ranked first in the world’s billionaire rankings
Bezos, who surpassed Bill Gates to become No. 1 in the ranks of the world’s billionaires, has a current net worth of $94.9 billion (data from Forbes Magazine, November 2017). Amazon (formerly known as Cadabra.com), was born inside a garage in Seattle in 1994, and grew to become an online bookstore currently achieving sales of $135.9 billion worldwide (data from Statista, 2016).
Through Amazon, Bezos has changed the world’s consumer market completely while remaining enthusiastic about diversifying his business with acquisitions such as the private space development company Blue Origin (founded in 2000), the Washington Post (acquired in 2013) and the Whole Foods Market (acquired in 2017).
Bezos’ revealed his philosophy for success at the Los Angeles summit: “Never multitask”, “be resourceful and resilient”, “take risks and don’t have regrets” and “approach problems with ‘child-like’ curiosity” (from the Daily Mail).
Comments such as “meet the right partner” were also mentioned as important issues and show the realistic mind-set and personality he possesses.
How is he as the leader of an organization? Hearing from former Amazon employees who also chose the path of the entrepreneur after having learned from Bezos during their time working under him provided some insights into this.
Bezos teachings included “prioritizing customers over income”, to “forget the input and focus on output” and to “be a leader, not just a decider”. These are the important points that Bezos sticks to firmly when nurturing future leaders.
Elon Musk- Tesla, the founder and CEO of Space X and the creator of the predecessor of PayPal
Elon Musk is a young entrepreneur who can stand in the same ranks as Bezos. He is a staunch IT minded person who taught himself computer programming at the age of 10 and wrote the code for the video game “Blaster” at the age of 12.
This code was not used in the official game, but was later purchased by the IT magazine PC and Office Technology for $500 and became available to the public as freeware (http://blastar-1984.appspot.com/).
An ordinary person could never recreate Musk’s career. He dropped out of the prestigious Stanford University after a few days and sold Zip 2, an online content publishing software company he launched with his brother in 1992 to Compaq.
In 1999, he established PayPal’s predecessor, X.com and co-founded Space X in 2003. Around the same time he was in the process of launching Tesla. He set up a solar power station company, Solar City, in 2006, and is currently in the process of creating hyperloop transportation technology. His endeavors are bewildering.
His tenacity can also be seen through the 4-year battle that developed between Solar City and NV Energy, which is run by the renowned investor Warren Buffett, over Nevada’s solar power station. Unfortunately Mr. Buffett won the battle when he got the Public Authority of the State of Nevada on his side. Here is some advice from Musk for entrepreneurs seeking success: “Work 80 to 100 hours a week”, “challenge new things that have yet to be done”, “intrigue great people” and “invest in new possibilities with the profits you acquire”.
According to Musk you should respond to current situations with sensitivity while working longer than others to achieve your dreams. In addition to financial support, it is important to connect with powerful companies and investors when building a business network. Aiming for new heights as opposed to stirring over profits can open up a new future. Musk’s net assets amount to $19.7 billion (data from Forbes magazine, November 2017).
Howard Schultz (Chairman and CEO of Starbucks) – From Xerox to Starbucks
Schultz was responsible for sparking the flames of worldwide coffee chain Starbucks, but he was not the one who established the company. Schultz’s achievement was in orchestrating the expansion of the coffee chain from 4 stores at the time of his employment in 1982, to 24,000 stores in 70 countries and regions around the world.
Schultz grew up in a military household with the support of his veteran father. He attended Northern Michigan University on an athletic scholarship for football, and accepted a job at Starbucks despite his employment at Xerox after graduation.
In 1985, he operated an independent espresso bar on his own and 2 years later purchased Starbucks for $4 million. This marked a turning point for Shultz. He created a strategy that offered its own brand of experience to consumers and carefully incorporated different cultural elements into his sales strategies according to the different regions at which the stores were located.
In addition, all positions including roles such as a barista, manager or store manager, which were previously considered to be employee positions, were now regarded as “Starbucks partners”, which resulted in the successful creation of a fair working environment.
After retiring as CEO in April 2017, reports have emerged from time to time that he will be a future presidential candidate of the United States, however Shultz has not confirmed nor denied them. Shultz’s net assets amount to $2.8 billion (data from Forbes Magazine, November 2017).
John Idol (Chairman and CEO of Michael Kors)- Experience as a director at Donna Karan
In 2003, John Idol, who served as a director for the luxury brand “Donna Karan International”, bought out Michael Kors for $100 million. At that time, it only had over $20 million in annual revenue.
He launched the image of “a luxury brand that was affordable for anyone” into the foreground of the industry and propelled Michael Kors to become a popular international brand that was quickly supported by a wide range of people.
However, sales have declined in recent years, possibly due to company’s working class image. While Idol has closed 100 outlets due to this decline, he is setting out in a new direction and concentrating on more glamorous brands. In July of this year, he bought the high-end shoe brand, Jimmy Choo for $ 1.2 billion. Furthermore, he is aiming for the formation of a luxury brand conglomerate.
Could this be the return of the “luxury brand that is affordable for anyone” image, especially for the target market of millennials in the Asian region? Idol was also chosen as the fashion industry leader in “BoF 500”.
Nicholas Horbaczewski (founder and CEO of the Drone Racing League) – Broadcasting to sponsors such as the Air Force
Horbaczewski, who discovered the possibilities in the future of “Drone Racing-Drone Race”, founded the Drone Racing League in 2015.
From the drive to “create the next-generation sports from technology”, Stefan Ross, president of the global real estate development firm The Related Companies invested a total of 32 million dollars into drone racing.
The fact that Horbaczewski’s strategy relies not only on the framework of the sport but also on the incorporation of media and businesses as indispensable tools for providing it to the public is the factor that makes him stand out from other rival CEOs.
This year’s league will be broadcasted in 87 countries and regions around the world and is being sponsored by various groups including Amazon, Allianz and the US Air Force.
Bozoma Saint John (Uber CBO) The restoration of Uber’s fallen brand image
Bozoma is an amateur marketing officer who was raised in Kenya. She has had experience working at Apple and Pepsi and is currently trying to rebuild Uber’s image as Chief Branding officer. Uber’s image has been damaged by scandals, such as sexual harassment claims and the illegal use of data by executives.
She began her career Spike Lee’s Spike DDB, an advertising agency operated by Lee. Lee is a film director and is known for his dazzling films like “Do the Right Thing (1989)”.
At Pepsi’s music, entertainment and marketing department, she succeeded in signing Beyonce who had at the time just begun her solo career. She was also responsible for the marketing of Apple Music and iTunes at Apple’s international consumer marketing department.
She has an 8-year-old daughter and an intriguing philosophy on life, having said things like “live today like there is no tomorrow” and “I am going to be great today.”
Patty Jenkins (film director)- The huge success of “Wonder Woman”
Film director Patty Jenkins surprised everyone when she took the low-budget movie “Wonder Woman (2017)” and turned it into a $400 million success. Despite its low budget, the movie ended up having Hollywood level production despite an actual budget of $150 million.
Jenkins, who gained worldwide attention for her success had actually only had experience producing one feature film before Wonder Woman. She worked on the 2003 film “Monster (2003)” starring Cristina Ricci and Charlize Theron for which Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
The fact that Jenkins was a woman is said to have had a big factor in the film’s success. The media reported on this frequently before its release, which may have had a considerable effect on the films publicity.
Jenkins is a hard working individual and has been quoted as saying: “I want greatness, to me, aiming for greatness in a day might mean you work 20% harder, but you make that day worth it 10 times over” (From TIME). Jenkins has officially announced the production of a sequel to “Wonder Woman”.
Kristin Lemkau CMO and CCO- Getting results by staying off of hate sites.
Lemkau graduated from the private Institution Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and from 1998 on, she began her employment at JP Morgan Chase where she demonstrated her ability in marketing and communication. She took the office of CCO (Chief Communications Officer) in 2010 and has served as CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) since 2014.
The problems that many of her peer companies faced involved hate sites (sites dealing with antisocial content). To counter this, Lemkau reduced the number of advertisements displayed on the web from 400,000 sites at a time to 5000. The decision was made with the idea that it is “better to reduce advertising than to tarnish the brands image on a malicious site.”
Surprisingly, despite the fact that the amount of advertisement decreased to an 80th of the previous number of adverts, the number of views did not change significantly. In other words, Lemkau’s bold and intelligent decision resulted in optimal benefits for the company.
She has two elder brothers, one is a manager in the investment banking department of Goldman Sachs, and the other is the vice president of Private Wealth Management. This adds more proof of her Wall Street pedigree.