Monday, 21 January 2013

The Sprite of Enterprise

Throughout modern business, so many-many people have achieved colossal (often Giga) achievements without so-much as a University Degree; sometimes without much education; sometimes from humble lineage; and often little financial capital to invest at the outset!

Can you think of any???... There is an abundance of examples. Here is a short roll of people, out of a non-exhaustive catalogue.

  • For starters, the obvious protagonists: Richard Branson (who left school with very little credentials, and got himself a criminal record for tax evasion at age 17) founder/owner of Virgin Group, with a capital worth of $22-Billion in 2012. Then there’s Lord Alan Sugar (who left school to sell TV Aerials and Yo-Yos); he is now 800-million quid better off. And of course Bill Gates (who flunked out of Harvard University) founded Micro-Soft and became one of the wealthiest chaps on the planet.
  • What about the 2 boys who went to a tough comprehensive high school in Liverpool, England. Who were often chucked out their Music class for being disruptive; and then dismally failed their final Music exam? Well, Paul McCartney and George Harrison have done/did rather well, have they not?
  • There was a small girl who had a very hard time at school. Daughter to a tough market stallholder and laundrywoman, who both died quite young. The Daughter after her parent’s death spent years in a deprived orphanage. Only, she went on to become a pioneering designer and icon to the world of fashion. Gabrielle Bonheur ‘Coco’ Chanel, founder of the famous fashion brand ‘Chanel,’ had extraordinary influence on vogue.

  • He started in a mail-room for a music publishing company. He has since been an Artist and Repertoire (A&R) executive for Sony BMG in the UK, and a television producer and judge for major television talent contests including American Idol. Simon Cowell is on his way to becoming a Billionaire!

  • With $1,000, dedication and desire, he dropped out of college at age 19 to start PCs Limited, later named Dell inc. Dell became the most profitable PC manufacturer in the world. In 1996, The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation offered a $50 million grant to The University of Texas at Austin to be used for children’s health and education in the city.

  • Having dropped out of high school at 16, his s career and accomplishments are astounding. The most influential animator, Walt Disney holds the record for the most awards and nominations. Disney’s imagination included cartoons and theme parks. The Walt Disney Company now has annual revenue of $30 billion.

  • As a young 20 year old housewife with no business experience, Debbi Fields started Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery. With a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, this young woman became the most successful cookie company in the USA.

  • At 16 he left home to apprentice as a machinist. He later started a Small Motor Company to manufacture cars. Henry Ford’s first major success, the Model T, allowed Ford to open a large factory and later start the archetype production assembly line, revolutionalising the auto-making industry.

For a mix of reasons, education and lineage were not the deciding factors for these people. Clearly talent, drive and self-discipline were important. But more, an unshakable single mindedness to do something original, valuable and extraordinary is the underlying factor.

Clearly a GigaEntrepreneur’s personality is different by definition. In turn, habits and traits are atypical by default. But they can also be constructed by design. ‘Make up your mind!’ Because until YOU the entrepreneur or YOU the corporate CEO make up YOUR mind at least in some proportion to the case examples above, your imagined great stride forward will not happen; let alone the dream of GigaInnovation.
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