Steve Jobs called up Bill Gates and said, “I’m going to turn this thing around.” Bill always had a soft spot for Apple. We got him into the application software business. The first Microsoft apps were Excel and Word for the Mac. So I called him and said, “I need help.” Apple’s not going to survive that long if we’re at war. I know that. All I need is a commitment that Microsoft will keep developing for the Mac and an investment by Microsoft in Apple so it has a stake in our success.” In August of 1997, Apple and Microsoft decided to put the past behind them and focus on the future. At that year’s Macworld event, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates announced that the two companies had entered into a historic agreement. In addition to agreeing to a broad patent cross-licensing agreement, Microsoft promised to support Microsoft Office for the Mac for 5 years while Apple agreed to make Internet Explorer the default web browser on the Mac.
Sheldon Adelson is worth $35 billion. He is Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands.
Sheldon Adelson knows a thing or two about poverty, having grown up the son of a taxi driver in Dorchester, Mass.
“I came from a very poor family. We were six people, four children and my parents, in one bedroom…and my parents were poor.” Living at the bottom may be one reason Mr. Adelson has been so resilient in his climb back to the top. As Wealth Report readers might recall, Mr. Adelson lost more than 90% of his fortune in 2008 when markets tanked and credit evaporated.
His losses amounted to more than $1,000 a second, or more than $4 million a day. So how did he feel about losing more money at one time than anyone else in history? “So I lost $25 billion,” he said. “I started out with zero.” In other words, no big deal. He also kept his cool as his company teetered on the edge of financial ruin. When many investors were abandoning ship, Mr. Adelson and his family invested $1 billion of their own money. “There is no such thing as fear–not to an entrepreneur. Concern, yes. Fear, no.” Still, Mr. Adelson’s story reminds us how background matters when it comes to building and maintaining wealth. Self-made billionaires often are confident that if they did it once, they can do it again. And having grown up poor, Mr. Adelson also knows what it is like to have nothing. So, he isn’t as fearful of temporary losses.
“An entrepreneur is born with the mentality to take risks, with several important character traits: courage, faith in yourself, and above all, even when you fail, to learn from failure and get up and try again.”
Mark Zuckerberg is among the youngest billionaires in the world. He is only 28 years old and his net worth is $67.8 billion.
His wedding was held in his backyard. The couple was seen eating at an inexpensive restaurant while they were on their honeymoon in Italy.
Zuckerberg reportedly drives an Acura “because it’s safe and not ostentatious.”
If you notice one thing about this young billionaire, it is that he wears the same casual outfit every day. He wears the same gray t-shirt, jeans, and hoodie. GQ has named him “Worst Dressed Man of Silicon Valley.” His entire wardrobe probably costs less than $700, and it probably costs less than $200 a year to keep his wardrobe updated. Considering that the average American family spends around $1,700 a year on clothing, Zuckerberg definitely has the right idea on saving money.
The trappings of wealth have never impressed him. Zuckerberg announced that he would donate 99% of his Facebook shares during his lifetime.
Ingvar Kamprad is the founder of IKEA. His net worth is $23 billion.
Swede Ingvar Kamprad began with two empty hands to become one of the richest people in the world.
The Swedish furniture-maker prefers to live simply. Kamprad is one of the richest people in Europe, but you wouldn’t know it when flying next to him in economy class or eating lunch with him in Ikea’s cafeteria. He calls his employees ‘co-workers’ and encourages everyone to dress informally. He stays in cheap hotels. He drives a 15-year-old Volvo. His home in Switzerland was decorated mostly with inexpensive IKEA furniture.
Ingvar Kamprad still flies economy and often rides the bus. Arriving at a gala event to receive a Businessman Of The Year Award, he was at first refused entry by security because he had come off the bus. The security guard thought that it wasn’t really Mr. Kamprad; rather it was someone who pretended to be him so he could enter the gala since how could a rich man like Ingvar Kamprad ride a bus?
Rather than dining in expensive restaurants, he likes to drop in to one of his stores for a cheap meal of his favorite Swedish meatballs. Kamprad and his wife are often seen eating in inexpensive restaurants and haggling over prices at the market.
He prefers to do his shopping in the local market (always near closing time when vendors are more likely to drop their prices). Dressed in his scruffy coat, one would assume he was just another elderly man living on a tight budget rather than the fifth wealthiest entrepreneur in the world.
That is just how Ingvar Kamprad likes it. He regards luxury not merely as an indulgence but almost as a sin. In his memoir he wrote:
“We don’t need flashy cars, impressive titles, uniforms or other status symbols. We rely on our strength, and our will!”
The Coca-Cola Company only produces a syrup concentrate, which it sells to bottlers throughout the world, who hold Coca-Cola franchises for one or more geographical areas. The bottlers produce the final drink by mixing the syrup with filtered water and sweeteners, and then carbonate it before putting it in cans and bottles, which the bottlers then sell and distribute to retail stores, vending machines, restaurants and food service distributors
The Company operates a worldwide franchise system supplying syrups and concentrates to over 1,200 bottling operations, (there are more than 350 in the US alone!) which thus involves local companies and suppliers in the 200 countries in which Coca-Cola is sold.
The bottling companies distribute the world’s favourite brand using the most sophisticated technology and distribution networks available. The Company supports its international bottler network with sophisticated marketing programmes seeking to guarantee the Company’s brands are available where anyone is seeking refreshment. Coca-Cola’s bottling system is the largest and most widespread production and distribution network in the world.
The Coca-Cola Company isn’t one giant company; it’s a system of small companies. This pattern helps it scale new products, new communications, new equipment, etc. Designing for this pattern is critical; when it wants to scale fast, it can.
Coke’s been in Africa since 1928, but most of the time they couldn’t reach the distant markets, because they had a system that was a lot like in the developed world, which was a large truck rolling down the street. And in Africa, the remote places, it’s hard to find a good road. But Coke noticed something — they noticed that local people were taking the product, buying it in bulk and then reselling it in these hard-to-reach places. And so they took a bit of time to learn about that. And they decided in 1990 that they wanted to start training the local entrepreneurs, giving them small loans. They set them up as what they called micro-distribution centers, and those local entrepreneurs then hire sales people, who go out with bicycles and pushcarts and wheelbarrows to sell the product. There are now some 3,000 of these centers employing about 15,000 people in Africa. In Tanzania and Uganda, they represent 90 percent of Coke’s sales.
Sheldon Adelson’s Father Told Him Never Lie About Anything
In an effort to get the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, Adelson spent money on politicians and lobbyists and planned to invest $650 million of his own money, and more, in a legacy project for Las Vegas. But Davis first tried to cut Adelson out of the NFL deal and then said he was going to use Goldman Sachs to finance the stadium. Then Davis let float a lease agreement proposal that Adelson knew nothing about and did not include him. That was the last straw. One of Adelson’s rules is don’t lie; because one lie causes the person to tell another lie to cover up that lie, and so on. That basic value is why Adelson will not do business with Mark Davis ever again. It’s also why Davis will not be able to get anything done in Las Vegas any more.
Sheldon Adelson is worth $29.7 Billion he is a Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands
His father drove a taxi, and his mother ran a knitting shop.
He began his first business at 12 years old. Tiring of sharing the proceeds of the newspapers he peddled — he bought — and later sold, “the rights” to sell papers on a specific Boston street corner from the youth who had been garnering the larger share of Adelson’s earnings. To accomplish that end, he borrowed $200 from his uncle, who in turn borrowed the money from his credit union, with the requirement that his nephew make principal and interest payments “every Tuesday night at 6 p.m.,” said Adelson. When he needed to borrow again to control a second corner, his uncle praised him for paying his debt and lent him money again.
Well, I’d encourage kids to learn science, to find a way to enjoy it, and experiment. Just the model of the world you get the depth of your understanding, and the opportunities that you’ll have will be fantastic. We need society to be more literate about science and innovation. We need to challenge people and take their innate curiosity, not let it fade away. Even innovation in education, using these tools to let you see the best lecturers or learn about an experiment that you might want to try. So if you’re young today, you’re actually exposed to more things and I envy kids growing up now. They’ll have a chance to solve big problems and they have better learning tools than certainly my generation had.
His advice to young people: Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself.
“I just naturally want to do things that make sense. In my personal life too, I don’t care what other rich people are doing. I don’t want a 405 foot boat just because someone else has a 400 foot boat.”
The sad truth is that our ever-sophisticated advertising industry has conditioned our mind to find happiness from consumption by spending our hard earned money on the possessions that never bring us lasting happiness. We spend our life-energy on those possessions that we seldom use. We worry about making payments for a luxury car that sits in our garage collecting dust only for the right to brag about it in an occasional social gathering. Keeping up with the Joneses is the worst epidemic among those who should never contemplate that notion in the first place. If a man who can possibly buy a nation with his cash never espouses the mantra of “more the better”, I need to learn not to spread my legs beyond the reach of the blanket. We are conditioned to spend money before we earn it. We are sold on the fake happiness of “Buy now, pay later dearly” – It’s nothing more than buying possessions that we cannot afford. Paying for purchases with cash creates awareness towards the impulse buy. I have also started red lining items on the credit card statement that I consider useless spending. All of these efforts have built my awareness towards my impulse purchases. I have been using mantra of – “less is more” to simplify every aspect of my life. It’s a work in progress but the results are astounding.
Bill & Melinda Gates foundation invested in studying the very very good teachers. We have been working with 3,000 teachers in districts across the country on a project called measures of effective teaching.
We took 20,000 hours of teachers’ videos and looked at various measures; what were they doing differently. We’ve created a lot of model districts. We had observers, their peers,evaluators, watch videos of teachers in the classroom and write how they did, observing, giving feedback.
For example, did they ask their students challenging questions: Did they find multiple ways to explain an idea. We also had students fill out surveys with questions like, does your teacher know when the class understands a lesson? Do you learn to correct your mistakes?
The results were very good. What we found is very exciting. First the teachers who did well on these observations had far better student outcomes. So it tells us we’re asking the right questions. Second, teachers in the program told us that these videos and these surveys from the students were very helpful diagnostic tools, because they pointed to specific places where they can improve.
If we could get it adopted currently and scale it up it would start to move the the dropout rate and the math and reading achievements.
In designing his products, whether the clothes or house wares, Lauren says he always strives for one thing: consistency. “What matters the most to me are clothes that are consistent and accessible,” he says. “When I look at the people I’ve admired over the years, the ultimate stars like Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Astaire, the ones who last the longest are the ones whose style has a consistency, whose naturalness is part of their excitement.”
The challenge of remaining consistent is one that Lauren believes plagues much of the fashion industry. “When you think of the blur of all the brands that are out there, the ones you believe in and the ones you remember, like Chanel and Armani, are the ones that stand for something,” he says. “Fashion is about establishing an image that consumers can adapt to their own individuality. And it’s an image that can change, that can evolve. It doesn’t reinvent itself every two years.”
After viewing his first polo match in New York, Lauren was inspired to quit his job as a clerk at Brooks Brothers and start his own company. He had no experience, and only a high school diploma and a few business classes on his résumé, but he won over Bloomingdale’s with his brazen attitude. Within one year, the designer sold $500,000 worth of ties at the department store. There is never a “right time.” If you have an idea, go for it and shock everyone with results.
Ralph’s first big break was with Bloomingdale’s—the hottest store around at the time.
They said they loved his neckties, but they wanted to take his name off the label and replace it with the Bloomingdale’s name. He said, no way, left the deal on the table and walked away.
Six months later, Bloomingdale’s came back. Turns out they DID want his neckties AND they’d keep his name on them!
Ralph Lauren’s real name is Ralph Lifshitz. He is an American fashion designer, whose net worth is $5.5 billion.
Ralph Lauren was not born into privilege. He was born in the Bronx, New York City, to Jewish immigrants.
At the age of 12, he worked after school to fund his extravagant taste in clothing and was known for selling hand-made ties to his fellow students at school – little did he know this would become the driving force of his entrepreneurial success.
It had taken him two decades to progress from his first low paid job as a glove salesman to multi-millionaire status.
The Coca-Cola bottle, called the “contour bottle” within the company, was created by bottle designer Earl R. Dean. In 1915, The Coca-Cola Company launched a competition among its bottle suppliers to create a new bottle for their beverage that would distinguish it from other beverage bottles, “a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was.”
Today, the contour Coca-Cola bottle is one of the most recognized packages on the planet…”even in the dark!”.
The Coca Cola take real-time data use it to measure progress, and immediately feed it back into the product. They tap into local entrepreneurial talent, and they do incredible marketing.
They have this very continuous feedback loop. They learn something, they put it back into the product, they put it back into the market. They have a whole team called “Knowledge and Insight.” It’s a lot like other consumer companies. So if you’re running Namibia for Coca-Cola, and you have a 107 constituencies, you know where every can versus bottle of Sprite, Fanta or Coke was sold, whether it was a corner store, a supermarket or a pushcart. So if sales start to drop,then the person can identify the problem and address the issue.
The toughest feedback to hear, is the feedback you need the most.
You get better by listening to your toughest critics. Your greatest source of growth can come from the people that will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. Bill says, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
I read a lot of biographies of great people trying to think what was it that gave them their special opportunities. Once you start reading a lot then you learn about inventors and scientists and leaders. So that’s what got me on the path of being a learner and loving science.
Oprah: How have you instilled that integrity in your children, who were raised with every material thing anyone could want?
Ralph: We just passed on our values by how we lived. My kids also knew our parents, and both sets were very humble. My kids and I had a very normal life. My work is my work and, yes, they were exposed to things other kids weren’t, but they know what my wife and I value—we’ve always had the right value system about what’s important in terms of family and people. That has nothing to do with being rich or poor. I could have less and essentially be the same person. Having success at an early age gave me more of a sense of what’s important in life rather than always driving to make it. I loved what I did, and my satisfaction came from my own sense of stretching. I was fulfilled inside as opposed to needing outside fulfillment. Now, did I want good things that I’d never had? Yes. Did I have dreams about living this kind of life? Sure. Most everyone has those dreams—a nice house, a pool. That’s part of the American thrust. Did I give up my family in order to have it? No. Did I jump to another group because they were going to make me bigger? Never. I have always been who I am.
Tony Hsieh is a CEO of Zappos. His net worth is $840 million.
After selling a company to Microsoft for $265 million, Tony Hsieh could have retired in luxury. Instead, he has invested $350 million of his own money into his online business.
And by all accounts his lifestyle hasn’t changed since his early days in business.
“Money is just a way for Tony to get to his endgame,” said Zappos investor. “Money just doesn’t matter to him. If he only had a million dollars left, he’d spend $999,999 to make business work. He would be just as happy with a dollar in the bank and being around people he cares about and care about him.”
You can enjoy the moment, but you have to keep things going—and you can’t be a one-trick pony.” You’re only as good as your latest success. Appreciate your accomplishments, but always strive to improve.
In investments, we are now measuring the profit per quarter and soon we will come to a point where we measure it per month, week and then soon we will measure the profit and loss margin of the company per minutes.
But these ideas are ridiculous and are not as accurate way to evaluate business. When i invest, I invest in long term.
I was holding entrepreneur exchange at Babson College of Business School in Boston. I asked an audience of 300 students: “How many do you think about entrepreneurship?” Everybody raise the hand. Then I asked them, “ How many of you were or want to be in the entrepreneur business for money?
Nobody’s ever guessed how many people raise their hand. I’ll tell you, one. That is the answer to the question “what is the reason, why people want to be entrepreneurial? My answer, it is the sense of achievement, not the money.
Another value-based commitment, he said, is to charity. He learned this value from his father, a Boston cab driver, who, though living in deprivation, kept a box on the family’s kitchen table where, said the father, “I am putting money for the poor people. Listen, son, you have to do this,” Adelson quoted his father, “because there are always people who are poorer than you are.”
The third component of Coke’s success is marketing. Ultimately, Coke’s success depends on one crucial fact and that is that people want a Coca-Cola. Now the reason these micro-entrepreneurs can sell or make a profit is they have to sell every single bottle in their pushcart or their wheelbarrow. So, they rely on Coca-Cola in terms of its marketing, and what’s the secret to their marketing? Well, it’s aspirational. It is associated that product with a kind of life that people want to live. So even though it’s a global company, they take a very local approach. Coke’s global campaign slogan is “Open Happiness.” But they localize it. And they don’t just guess what makes people happy; they go to places like Latin America and they realize that happiness there is associated with family life. And in South Africa, they associate happiness with seriti or community respect.
Take action. Execute. The problem isn’t a shortage of ideas, it’s execution. Lots of people have ideas. There is an overload of ideas. The real gap is bringing ideas to market in a way that matters. The secret sauce is ruthless prioritization of the ideas that make the most impact.
Don’t go it alone. You’re better when you’ve got the right people around you. Bill Gates built a culture of the best and brightest and was good at convincing his friends, such as Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer to join him on his adventures. By surrounding himself with smart people, Bill was able to scale. He also had a sounding board for ideas. More importantly, ideas could get better from the combined smarts and perspectives. Bill also knows how to complement his strengths by having the right people around that make up for his weaknesses.
Bill and Melinda Gates are trying, just like the rest of us, to ensure their three children think about others. That’s why the über-rich couple make sure their trio set aside a portion of their allowance for charity.
She’s similarly rigorous about her home life. Her kids save a third of their allowance and designate a charity they’d like to give it to. As further incentive, their parents double the amount.
Bill Gates is a guy with all the money in the world, yet he showed up to work every day to change the world. He’s not a seeker of fame or a seeker of fortune, although he has both.
He has given some $28 billion to charity over the past five or six years. Rather than just retire and play with his money, he focuses his time, energy, and resources on making a better world through innovative approaches.
Jim Walton is the son of the Wal-Mart Founder Sam Walton. His net worth is $35.5 billion.
He is the youngest among the siblings. Despite the fact that Jim came from a very wealthy family, he followed the simple ways of living of his father.
The youngest and most private of the Walton siblings, Jim still resides in Bentonville, Ark., where he runs the family’s personal wealth management company from the upstairs office of “a plain old brick building” in downtown Bentonville. He drives a 15-year-old Dodge Dakota.
I think scientists and inventors are particularly important because many of them faced long odds. They had to see the world in a new way. In fact, if we think why is our lifestyle so much better, whether it’s food or medicine or transportation, it’s because of these great innovations.
My friend, Paul Allen, and I wanted, the personal computer we dreamed about having and then that we were able to shape so that eventually billions of people could benefit from it.
One of the most pronounced qualities of Gates is his discerning passion for lifelong learning.
After landing billionaire lists several times, it would be easy for Gates to become prideful or think he knows it all. But he looks to improve on his communication and public speaking skills. Gates is also known for his wisdom in seeking counsel from others. He often speaks of how much he has learned from Warren Buffett. Gates once commented that Buffett has a “brilliant way of looking at the world” . Like a sponge, Gates tries to soak in lessons learned from his mentor in order to become a better leader.
Warren Buffett is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is well-known for being one of the most influential and richest people in the world. His net worth is $75.6 billion
Despite Warren Buffett being the second richest man in the world, he seems to possess the wise virtue of simplicity, something which is very rare in these days of materialism and complex living.
He doesn’t spend on gadgets or electronics and doesn’t even carry a mobile phone. He doesn’t even own a yacht and says that, “Most toys are just a pain in the neck.”
Buffett is also known for being generous to various charitable institutions. He has given billions of dollars to different foundations.
Warren Buffett still lives in the Omaha, Nebraska, home he bought for $31,500 more than 50 years ago. He bought a house he could afford, and has called it one of his best investments because, “my family and I gained 52 years of terrific memories with more to come.”
He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world’s largest private jet company.
When he got married, rather than a lavish affair, it was a brief afternoon wedding at his house in Omaha.
Oprah: I saw an interview you did when you were about 26, and you said, “I always wanted to be special.”
Ralph: And I still do.
Oprah: Unless you’re set apart.
Ralph: Well I don’t want to be a zero. I want to say something, to do something, to have a voice.
Oprah: There’s this wonderful line in East of Eden where Steinbeck writes: “Will liked to live so that no one could find fault with him, and to do that he had to live as nearly like other people as possible.” That struck me because it made me realize that if you’re going to be extraordinary, then you can’t be like most other people.
Ralph: Yes. And yet I’ve seen a lot of bad people become successful. You don’t want anything they have because they’ve sold their souls.
Oprah: I feel you have a connection with people, just as I have a connection with my audience.
Ralph: Yes, I’ve always said that. Sometimes when I walk into one of my own stores, I look at the display and say, “This looks so good—I want to buy it.” Yet other times I walk in and the displays and mannequins will be all wrong, and I don’t want to buy anything. When a customer walks into a store, she’s looking for inspiration. So I’m tuned in to people, and I care about what they need and who they are. Where do they go on vacation? Who are their families? What do they value?
I’ve lived through dreaming and not having, and I’ve lived through having. The basics are still getting up in the morning and feeling good about yourself—I don’t care how rich you are.
Oprah: After 35 years in the business, how do you continue to create great new items every season?
Ralph: That’s a question I don’t even want to ask myself. I can just feel the vibrations and the pulse of the world out there. And yet I have a sense of my own style. I don’t want to be anyone but myself.
Not long after Bloomingdale’s started selling his neckties, another rack—right next to his—started selling neckties that looked exactly like his. “Oh no,” he thought, “where am I going to go from here?”
But a Bloomingdale’s employee advised him not to worry because his ties were made with love and passion. Love & passion trump the competition!
Whether it was his children, the interns working at his company, or the customers in his stores, Lauren made sure to listen to what the young people were saying about fashion tastes and trends.
In the world of fashion, being comfortable in what you are wearing (both physically and socially) is vital to your success. Ralph Lauren understood that fashion trends come and go. What really lasts is a person’s personal taste and style. In his pursuit of the American Dream, Ralph Lauren never cowered to express his own individuality. He once said, “Personal style is about having a sense of yourself and what you believe in everyday.” He never failed to remain true to his own beliefs and tastes, and he tried to show a piece of himself in his work everyday. We cannot have a vision or a dream if we do not know who we are underneath. Staying in touch with our morals and our values is what keeps our dream in focus, and allows us to persevere in working towards accomplishing it.
Every once and a while, take the time to remind yourself of why you are doing what you’re doing, whether that’s trying to start a business, get a college degree. Keeping your goals in line with your beliefs will make chasing them much more enjoyable.
His mother was disappointed in him for not becoming a rabbi. Bloomingdales rejected him for being too daring in his designs. In his early years, it seems as if no one was on side with Lauren. But he did not care. He stood his ground, followed his passion, and designed how he wanted to design. That was how he made a name for himself.
After running a dozen or so business I realized that the only way to succeed is to do things differently then the way it was done. And what i learned is that if you do things differently, success will follow you like a shadow and you won’t get rid of it.
So that’s what i did. People doubted me because they didn’t do what i would do. It’s a matter of finding out what is it that industry does and identifying the opportunity to how to do it differently and then being enough of a risk taker to actually do it differently. People doubted me because nobody thought of doing it the way i did. They were satisfied with the status quo and I’m never satisfied with the status quo.
I look at every business and ask: How long can this last? How can I identify the status quo and change it?
Don’t be satisfied with status quo. Have guts to approach things differently.