June 15, 2016
The last thirty years have brought some of the wildest advancements in business and technology that the world has ever seen. Many of the largest and most influential companies operating today came from (very) humble beginnings, often a garage in a parent’s house or a college dorm.
Understanding what allowed these companies to become successful and hearing their stories could be the first step to starting your own successful business venture. Based off of a gif series put together by Cove, let’s examine 5 of America’s best corporate Cinderella stories.
When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, he actually did so out of a sense of fear. Bezos feared that he would regret missing out on the “Internet business boom” of the late 90s and early 2000s, so he quit his job on Wall Street and moved to Seattle to found Amazon out of a house he purchased there.
Lesson: Have no regrets about taking on new industries.
With the multitude of media and documentaries surrounding Apple, it seems like everyone knows the story of this technology giant. Founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976, Apple actually began by selling computers as “kits”, not the polished aluminum blocks we see from them today.
Perhaps the most interesting anecdote about Apple’s early days is Ronald Wayne: the third co-founder of Apple sold his 10% stake in the company for just $800 two weeks after its inception – a stake that would be worth more than $54 billion today.
Lesson: Stick to your investments. Do not abandon the possibility of future success for short-term gains today.
Disney is currently the world’s largest entertainment company. While they are known now for their vast theme parks and media properties, Disney started in a small studio in the Disney family’s backyard in 1923. Disney found success by sticking to his original creations Mickey and Minnie mouse, refusing to compromise on their portrayal.
Lesson: Know your customers and serve them relentlessly.
Facebook has long been known for its motto “move fast and break things” (now corporatized as “move fast with stable infrastructure”) – which is just what founder Mark Zuckerberg did in 2004 when he founded Facebook out of his Harvard dorm room. Zuckerberg faced intense scrutiny and opposition from his fellow students and from Harvard, but never stopped moving forward.
Lesson: Innovate ruthlessly. If something does not exist on your path to success, make it yourself.
Big G is the biggest player in online search, and frequently trades off with Apple as the world’s most valuable company. Recently rebranded under parent company Alphabet, Google’s key value is providing many types of services to all kinds of consumers – search, advertising, Gmail, Android, and others.
Lesson: Do not be afraid to achieve growth by offering varied services.
These companies all have unique reasons as to why they were successful. Some focused intently on one product, some offered broad products and services meant to cater to everyone. What they all had in common is that adapting quickly, serving customers well, and building quality products allowed them to move from a basement or garage to the massive headquarters you see above.
Taking these factors into account when running your business and living your life might just help you succeed.
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