from Self Employed.com, enhanced by Peter/CXO, Wiz4biz 4/13
What’s the Criteria? the Best are those who not only created a great business, but changed business and/or the world in the process.
No. 10: Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com: If the essence of entrepreneurship is the willingness to take a risk with money to make money, then Bezos has it. While working on Wall Street in the early 90s, Bezos discovered that Internet usage was growing at an amazing 2,600% per year, he quit his cushy corporate gig, drove west to Seattle, started Amazon.com in his garage, and in the process, not only invented online shopping, but essentially, what the Internet would become.
No. 9: Juan Trippe, Pan Am: If the world has gone from, large to small, then one of the founding fathers of that trend must be Trippe, the founder of the defunct Pan American airways. Trippe made airline travel affordable to the masses, and thus changed how we all travel. As he said, “In one fell swoop, we have shrunken the earth.”
No. 8: Walt Disney: Despite early failures, including losing the rights to his first animated character (Waldo the Rabbit), and filing for bankruptcy, Walt Disney kept at it, eventually creating one of the great multi-disciplinary entertainment companies in history.
No. 7: Sam Walton, Wal-Mart: The inventor of the Big Box retail concept, Walton was an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. He started by seeing a need and filling it – opening stores in rural areas, that not only needed what he sold, but which were less expensive to run. He passed savings along to customers, and it can easily be said that his progeny include Costco, Home Depot & Ikea.
No. 6: Asa Candler, Coca Cola: No, He didn’t invent Coca-Cola (pharmacist John Pemberton did), but he did come up with the idea to premix it, bottle it, and sell it. But maybe even more importantly, Candler was the marketing genius behind the creation of the Coca-Cola brand, and that has changed how we all think about business – #1 recognized brand in the world.
No. 5: John D. Rockefeller, Standard Oil: was so successful, controlling almost 90% of America’s refined oil by the 1890s, that he not only became the first billionaire, but his company was spilt into 38 separate companies by the Supreme Court, two of which went on to become Exxon & Mobil.
No. 4: Amadeo P. Giannini, Bank of America: Prior to Giannini, banking was the domain of businesses and rich folk only. His Bank of Italy became the Bank of America, and in the process, he invented modern individual banking, along with such innovations as bank branches, home mortgages, & car loans.
No. 3: Bill Gates, Microsoft: had a Vision that someday, everyone would have a personal computer on their desk, seemed the stuff of science fiction when he articulated it in the 70s. But it turns out that that vision became one of the greatest transformative events in the history of business and he has a high % of all SW.
No. 2: Ray Kroc, McDonald’s: Essentially, “the assembly line” has created the Top 2 entrepreneurs on my list. Ray Kroc was almost 50 when he saw the McDonald’s brothers’ hamburger stand in Southern California. Not only did Kroc create assembly line food, and not only did he create the largest chain of restaurants in the world (serving more than 50 million people daily), and not only did he invent franchising, but he also changed the way the world eats (for better or worse) your opinion.
No. 1: Henry Ford, Ford Motors: Like many entrepreneurs on this list, Henry Ford saw big failure before he found big success; his first two car companies went out of business. But his idea that everyone should be able to afford one of his cars led him to invent the assembly line. He also doubled the daily wage, so that his own employees could afford his car, and in the process, Ford essentially helped create the American middle class, and our fully independent personal transportation.
Comment: You may disagree with who is included or their position, so please leave a comment if you do.