Success stories from rags to riches are always good to read about. It gives us the motivation and hope that one day, we too can achieve the same results. People who defied the odds and are winning in life can be good inspiration that can fuel us. Our CEO Larby Amirouche likes to pay attention to these people as he started small himself. There were some who became very rich but were homeless when they were young. This just shows that you are not stuck with the cards you were dealt with. Below are some of the inspirational stories to brighten up your week:
Did you know that GoPro founder Nick Woodman was selling overpriced necklaces off the coast of California to get additional funds to start his company? Woodman was on a trip in Australia when he figured out that taking videos and pictures of surfers was not going to be easy because photographers can’t get too near. The first GoPro cameras were 3.55mm rebranded cameras which included straps that Nick sold on his Volkswagen Bus. He would later get multiple orders from different clients. At its peak, GoPro as a company was valued at $3 billion.
This next one is a technology buff like our boss Larby Amirouche. Oracle’s founder – Larry Ellison was passed by his biological mother to his aunt and uncle for adoption after he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He would grow up with a middle-class upbringing but estranged from his biological parents. He would later be interested in relational data bank systems and invested $1,200 to start his company. A few more years later, the Oracle Database that we use today would be born. After a few acquisitions of several companies, Oracle would become one of the largest software companies valued at $110 billion.
Ursula Burns is the CEO of Veon, a member of the board of directors for Uber and a former CEO of Xerox. However, her success wasn’t a given. She was raised by a single mother in a low income housing project in New York. Her mother had to work different jobs like ironing and cleaning to support their family. Ursula first joined Xerox in 1980 and did not move up the ranks until 10 years later. Due to her diligence and efforts, she became the CEO of Xerox for 6 years and was instrumental in making the company more profitable. She was the first African American woman to head a company of such stature.
Shaheed used to be a blue collar worker, working as a dishwasher. He started out working in the automotive company; Flex-N-Gate. He started as an employee and ended up becoming the owner when he purchased the company from his previous employers. He grew Flex-N-Gate to be one of the top automotive parts suppliers in the United States. He went on to other business ventures and became the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a NFL team. He is also the owner of Fullham F.C. from the English Football League. Right now, Mr. Khan’s net worth is at $8 billion.
Before founding Forver 21, Do Won Chang worked as a janitor and gas station crew member. As an immigrant, he did not have it easy after arriving in the United States. He had to work multiple manual jobs to save enough money before opening Fashion 21. Chang started his fashion store with only $11,000 which at its peak grew to almost $6 billion dollars. Today, it is one of the biggest fashion chain stores in the whole world.
Little attention is given to Oprah’s business ventures because of her TV successes. Oprah has stakes in the Weight Watchers Inc. and has her own cable channel – Oprah Winfrey Network. She was raised in poverty in the rural state of Mississippi by a teenage single mother. She was raped and molested during her childhood years, and got pregnant when she was only 14. She landed a job in radio when she was still in high school. Like our CEO Larby Amirouche, she based herself in Chicago afterward. She got famous because of her passionate and emotional delivery which led her to become a TV personality. She became a millionaire by 32, and is now one of the richest American women. Dubbed as the “Queen of all Media”, she continues to be one of the most recognizable figures in TV today.
This Ukrainian-American businessman is the founder of WhatsApp. Our boss Larby Amirouche is a fan of this guy. He was born in Ukraine and later moved to California in a small 2-bedroom apartment. He was raised by his mother alone because his father opted not to follow them in the United States. He worked as a cleaner during his teenage years. He was later employed by Yahoo as an engineer and left school to focus on working full-time. He also applied at Facebook but was rejected. A few more years later, he founded Whatsapp which grew in popularity in the early 2010’s. It was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping $19 billion.
There you have it. I hope that these inspirational stories fuels you throughout the week. As Mark Twain quoted – It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.