Undoubtedly, the most successful entrepreneurs started from a brilliant idea. However, as Fortune Magazine highlights, having an idea is not enough since setting it up can be a hard task to fulfill. John A. Byrne is a contributor to Fortune Magazine, and made the list of the 12 most successful entrepreneurs of recent times. It is an interesting list which highlights the entrepreneurs that have made the best contributions to the current business culture and that are responsible for major changes in the business world. Aspects such as the social and economic impact generated by the entrepreneur, his vision of changing the world, his ability to inspire employees and other entrepreneurs, and the innovation and performance of his business over time were taken into account for the ranking made by Byrne.
Although the ranking is quite complete, here we bring only the top 5 most outstanding entrepreneurs nowadays.
5. Larry Page & Sergey Brin, Google
They are the creators of the search engine that revolutionized the entire world. Some people even say that the history is divided in 2: before and after Google. It is for many the door to Internet, the access to a world of knowledge and information. Moreover, thanks to the development of multiple products ranging from web applications and business tools to software and mobile connectivity, it is currently one of the companies defining the future of the Internet and the world. These two young men have created a whole business philosophy in their company which is oriented towards innovation and harnessing the potential of each member of the staff. Perhaps this is why Google profits are surprising.
4. Jeff Bezos, Amazon
In 1992, he came up with an idea that would revolutionize purchases over the Internet while he was senior vice president for The New York hedge fund D. E. Shaw. He wanted to create a company that would sell books online, and even though his boss was not encouraging at all, a couple of years later he founded amazon.com; one of the pioneer companies in e-commerce. It took him more than 6 months to report his first quarterly profit but he was guided by his vision and passion. Patience and perseverance have made of Amazon an important and lasting company. Bezos recommends to take some time alone at the end of each quarter in order to get away from the hectic business life; just avoid distractions of the office like phones ringing. He says that this period of time can help you be more creative. He actually devotes a lot of time surfing the Internet searching for what hobbyists and hackers are doing so that he can be aware of what is in the forefront.
3. Fred Smith, FedEx
He was the founder of FedEx, one of the largest companies of logistics in the world. Fred Smith served in the war of Vietnam twice; first as a rifle platoon leader of US Marines and later as an air controller. Thanks to these formative experiences, he developed his entrepreneurial skills as he witnessed the impressive logistical efforts that had to be done by the army to effectively mobilize such an amount of troops and supplies. He has brought along with him the discipline, training and leadership he got from the Navy. He has stated that, since he first started FedEx Corp. years ago, he has always been guided by the leadership principles he learned in the US Marine Corps during his service. One of the keys to business success for Fred Smith is to rely on top-level managers as they are the leaders of the ‘troop’.
2. Bill Gates, Microsoft
He is one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs of all times because his revolutionary mind led him to change the world. First, he ushered in the personal computer revolution. Now, he is addressing two difficult challenges: global health and public education, as an admirable philanthropist. He is the president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which acts as a headhunting company; it focuses on hiring really smart people and have them work in small groups to solve big problems. Somebody once asked him what the best business decision he had made was, and Gates answered that probably the first of the list would be the time when he decided to go into business with Paul Allen and, next, when he hired Steve Ballmer, a friend of his, to be his successor as CEO of Microsoft. He stated that it was important to have someone you totally trusted, who was fully committed, and that shared your vision, but also someone who had a slightly different set of skills and that acted as a kind of control over you.
1 . Steve Jobs, Apple
Although it has been said that he had a petty, arrogant and even abusive attitude towards people who worked for him, he has also been considered the quintessential entrepreneur of our generation because of his brilliant, visionary and inspiring nature. One of the most controversial aspects of this entrepreneur was his opinion about market research and focus groups which he considered unnecessary to invent a product and rather limiting for creativity. He stated that it was not the consumers’ job to know what they want because if they’ve never seen anything similar to what you offer, it would be difficult for them to tell you what they want then. Another important skill of Steve Jobs was to “follow his intuition”; he used it to detect emerging technologies and to define Apple’s direction. Despite his death in 2011, Apple continues to be a successful company thanks to Job’s contributions and hard work.