List of Entrepreneurs

Top Entrepreneurs

Focus has a list of the “Top Entrepreneurs of the Last 100 Years”, which features Andrew Carnegie, Oprah Winfrey (one of our Famous Entrepreneurs), Thomas Edison (one of Elon Musk‘s heroes), Estee Lauder, Ray Kroc, Bill Gates, Conrad Hilton Sr., Steve Jobs (one of our Serial Entrepreneurs), Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Michael Dell, Sam Walton, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Walt Disney, Pierre Omidyar, and Ralph Lauren.

Of these great entrepreneurs, themes emerge: work together, perseverance, design, success, action, customers, surround yourself with good people.  These entrepreneurs did all of these things.  Above all they did something – and they didn’t quit. What can we learn from that? When we feel like quitting and we are all alone.  Keep going, surround yourself with others like you, persevere, work together, and your actions will achieve success.

Famous Entrepreneurs

Walt Disney – An influential innovator and entrepreneur in the mid 20th century, Disney is the man behind the Magic Kingdom, not to mention the hundreds of animated cartoons, countless feature films and endless toys that bear his name.

Oprah Winfrey -an American television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was once the world’s only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield – lifelong friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield completed a correspondence course on ice cream making from Pennsylvania State University’s Creamery in 1977 and a year later formed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Burlington, Vermont.  In 1988, the pair won the title of U.S. Small Business Persons Of The Year, awarded by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Richard Branson – a British industrialist, best known for his Virgin Group of over 400 companies. What started as a mail-order record business turned into Virgin Records, which was sold to EMI in 1992, giving Branson the capital to build Virgin Airways.

Simon Cowell – Best known as the obnoxious judge on the hit TV show American Idol whose cynical comments sent contestants running out the door in tears, but what most don’t know is that his work didn’t start there and most definitely won’t end there. His list of achievements is long and includes being a successful record producer and executive for the BMG UK record company to gathering wannabe entrepreneurs on his show, American Inventor.

Michael Dell – both Chairman and CEO of Dell computers, Dell started the road to success out of his University of Texas dorm room in with just $1000 and an idea in 1984. Dell now sells directly to the customer so to avoid middleman mark-ups.

Henry Ford – Founder of Ford Motor Company and manufacturing assembly line innovator, Ford was not the inventor of the automobile, but his innovations in assembly-line techniques and the introduction of standardized interchangeable parts contributed to making the United States a nation of motorists and produced the first mass-production vehicle manufacturing plant.

Bill Gates – Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates is perhaps the most famous entrepreneur of this era. He had the vision to predict the evolving importance of the personal computer. This allowed him to top Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s wealthiest individuals, with a 2006 estimated net worth of $50 billion.

Howard Hughes – once the most talked-about entrepreneur in the world – legendary for both his bold business tactics and his outlandish personal life. The recent popular movie “The Aviator” has prompted a new interest in this fascinating entrepreneur.

Wayne Huizenga – the only person in history to have founded three Fortune 500 companies, and six NYSE-traded companies. Huizenga is founder of the third largest U.S. waste disposal company, Republic Industries; the global leader in video entertainment, Blockbuster Entertainment; and the country’s first and world’s largest publicly-traded automotive dealership, AutoNation. He’s also currently the owner of the Miami Dolphins football team.

Ingvar Kamprad – IKEA Founder and one of the wealthiest man in the world, Kamprad still flys coach, takes the subway to work, and drives a ten-year-old Volvo. What started as a person-to-person business selling everything from pens to picture frames has grown to over 200 stores in 31 countries, employing over 75,000 people and generating over 12 billion in annual sales.

Donald Trump – Billionaire real estate tycoon and host of the apprentice, Trump has a long list of accomplishments and assets in real estate development, hospitality and entertainment. He was the outspoken star and producer of “The Apprentice” making him one of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs. With his rollercoaster track record, he demonstrates one of the most important entrepreneurial traits: the ability to stand back up when you fall down.

Microsoft Debuts First Seinfeld Ad to Poor Reviews

There was high expectations for Jerry when he was picked by Crispin Porter + Bogusky to headline Microsoft’s $300 million dollar ad campaign this year. Last night during the NFL season opening, the first Microsoft ad debuted. Immediately it was copied from DVRs to Youtube and people began to comment – mostly negatively. I have found the negativity has come from a difference in expectation. Those who expected to see an ad that looked like the PC vs. Mac ads were disappointed. Those who thought the ad would have some mention of Vista or its benefits to mankind were also disappointed. And even still some who thought the ad would be at least funny were disappointed. This was not the point of the ad.

So what was the point of the ad? It was the first episode in a new type of sitcom, call it an advertising campaign with an overarching story line, an ad opera. What does an initial episode of any show do, be it LOST or All in the Family? It sets up the characters, defines the rules of the show, and sets a tone. This ad fit that mold to the T.

Character Setup: We see Bill Gates in a bargain shoe store. This is ironic since Bill is one of the richest men on the planet. Next Jerry Seinfeld walks up and discovers this irony and is compelled to find out more. He isn’t friends with Bill before this, but knows who he is, as most of us do. In the same way, Bill knows Jerry, but is not friends with him before this encounter.

Rules of the Show: Jerry respects Bill, but he’s not afraid to guide him and make suggestions. Bill is willing to accept these suggestions, but is still keeping his goals close to his vest. Its now Jerry’s job to slowly pry out what those goals are from Bill. He allows him to do this by “giving him a sign” so that Bill doesn’t have to break his own personal rules, but still satisfy Jerry’s desire for information – that same desire that sent Jerry into the shoe store in the first place.

Tone: The same running-gag motif (“conquistador”) and seemingly spontaneous interjection of random information (“I shower with my shoes on.”) ala Seinfeld, the television show, set the tone as one of humor – not humor about the differences in PCs and Apples, but in the differences in two millionaires in how they live their life, how they put on their shoes everyday, the same as everyone else ala Curb Your Enthusiasm.