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Playboy: The Success Story Of Hefner’s Empire

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Do you know about the most read men’s magazine which has been popular for more than four decades? The sales for a single issue of this magazine hit seven million by the early 1970s. Sounds familiar, right? Every other man was holding a copy this magazine back then. Any guesses? We are speaking about the most sold magazine of all times Playboy. Hugh Hefner and his remarkable magazine Playboy solely changed the story of the adult entertainment industry and became a multimillion dollar business endeavour that expanded to incorporate television, web ventures, clubs and more. The magazine was a game changer in the era of ‘70s where people were more conscious of what is being displayed and what’s not.

Playboy’s founding story

Hugh Hefner, the founder of the epic magazine had first shown his interest in publication at an early age. In high school he founded his school’s newspaper taking it as an opportunity, young Hefner illustrated his own comic book, School Daze. Although he had a high IQ of 152, Hefner was never really spirited about school, in general. However, after completing his schooling, Hefner joined the United States Army. Later, he went on to attend classes at the Chicago Art Institute. After two years at the Art Institute, Hefner attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in the year 1950. It was in the year 1952, Hefner started working as a cartoonist for the famous Esquire magazine. While working there, he was turned down for a $ 5 raise, he took it to heart and decided to quit his job at the publication. He went on to venture out on his own and the rest we know is history! In 1953, Hefner founded Playboy magazine using his $ 600 bucks and several thousand more he borrowed including $ 1,000 from his mom.

The rise and fall and rise of Playboy

The first issue of Playboy published in December 1953. The magazine featured nude photos of Marilyn Monroe and sold over 50,000 copies. As we all know, controversial stuff sells fast! Playboy had its strategies right and by the year 1958, the magazine’s annual profit was $ 4 million and Hugh Incredible Hefner had skyrocketed to fame. Over the years, apart from controversial stuff, Playboy’s publication of writers including Ray Bradbury, Ian Fleming, Joseph Heller, Jack Kerouac and Margaret Atwood became famous overnight. Also, Miles Davis was the magazine’s first interview. Other interviews included Fidel Castro, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando and the then presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, who confided that he had committed adultery in his heart. John Lennon before dying had spoken to Playboy in 1980 as well. Playboy became known for its sexually explicit content. By 1970, Hugh Hefner had gone from beginning an entrepreneurial endeavour in his own home to being the founder of a major corporation. The distribution of the magazine was extensively done and copies were selling at rates of seven million copies per month. The year 1972 earned Hefner a twelve million dollar profit.

The magazine’s monthly distribution was reaching new heights. Yes! An enormous 7 million issues were sold in 1971. By that time, nearly one quarter of  American young lads were buying or subscribing every month, according to a source. However, post that, Playboy saw a downfall in the late ‘80s and the franchise was struggling hard to reach out to the people. In the year 1994, Hefner established the Playboy Jazz Film Festival, funded by Playboy. The festival was the first showcase on the West Coast for rare jazz films and was free to the public. The franchise was slowly and steadily gaining its pace. Nevertheless, Hefner’s brainchild was back with a bang in the early 2000s with the release of his reality television show on E!. The program The Girls Next Door portrayed the lives of his three blonde girlfriends at the Playboy Mansion. The series was a super hit and doubled the popularity of Hefner between the years 2005 to 2010.

In the year 2017, Hefner died in Los Angeles at the age of 91. At the time of his death, Hefner’s global brand had an estimated net worth of at least $ 110 million. As of now, Playboy earns most of its money by licensing the bunny brand for a variety of products including liquor, clothing, fragrances, jewellery and bath products.

Cooper Hefner, Hefner’s son and the Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises, said in a statement …my father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights and sexual freedom. He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.

Watch the success story of Playboy here,

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Entrepreneur Stories

The Nokia Story

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Nokia, a mobile manufacturing company with a Finnish origin, was at the top of its game. Their phones were affordable, made for people of all age groups and were easy to use. With so much going for them, it came as a major shocker to see the Company failing so miserably, Here’s taking a look at the rise and fall of Nokia, a company which started off not as an electronics and telecommunications company, but as a paper mill!

The beginning of Nokia

The beginning of Nokia can be traced back to the year 1865. Back then, this Finnish company was into paper making. The first paper mill was a massive success and by 1960, the Company branched out to electronics. From developing a special radio phone for the Army to creating a new range of electronics, Nokia grew steadily and quickly. Over the next few years, the Company kept adapting to change and by the dawn of the 20th century, Nokia started moving away from the pulp industry and created the first ever car phone! Nokia’s foray into the world of mobile phones started when Jorma Nieminen, fondly known as the Father of the Finnish Mobile Industry, decided to change the course of the company.

Jorma created the need of carrying phones outside their house, a thing which wasn’t considered feasible till the idea was presented. The first phone was manufactured at the meager cost of a 100 pounds and over the years, the Company kept adapting to a point where people slowly got convinced they needed a new version every few years.

The growth of Nokia in the world of phones

By the year 1979, Nokia entered a joint partnership with Salora (a leading Scandinavian colour TV manufacturer) to create a radio telephone company called Mobira Oy. Together with Salora, Nokia launched the first ever international cellular system called the Nordic Mobile Telephone network. Creating a link between Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland, this network enabled international conversations and increased communication between people.

Through the years, Nokia acquired not only Salora, but other companies as well, giving the manufacturing company the edge it needed to push toward something bigger and better. The first ever mobile handset by Nokia, called Mobira Cityman 900, was brought to life in the early 1990s. Despite weighing over 800 grams and costing close to $ 5,456, this mobile phone sold like crazy!

The change in Nokia’s strategy

Despite the massive success of the first handheld phone by Nokia, the company saw a lull in its profits. By the 1990s, the Nokia team realised the time had come to change the course of their plan by creating phones which blended with the times. In 1992, the first GSM Nokia phone, called Nokia 1011, was launched and immediately, the Company realised they had made it to the big leagues!

While the 1990s saw the rise of a new series of phones (the most popular one being the Nokia 6100,) the initially years of the next decade saw Nokia branch out into a new world. Making the most of the wireless technology boom at the time, Nokia won people all over the world by promising them an amazing experience. Perhaps the phone which propelled Nokia to the top was the Nokia 7650. Released in the year 2001, this was the first ever phone in the world with a built in camera!

The gradual decline from fame

Within the first few years, Nokia’s profits started sky rocketing and the company kept expanding its services to a whole new place. At its heart, Nokia was always a hardware company and despite all its efforts to stay ahead of the game, it didn’t realise the growing effect the touchscreen phenomenon was having on the rest of the world! To add to the bag of ever growing troubles, faulty batteries made Nokia recall an entire shipment of phones, a move which resulted in a 30 % dip in sales!

Although the 90’s were Nokia’s rise to fame, the year 2007 saw a steep decline in Nokia’s profits. In 2009, the Company posted its first ever quarterly losses. With other companies like Apple and HTC upping their game in the face of competition, Nokia wasn’t sticking to the trends which were being followed by other people at the time.

By 2011, Nokia was struggling to make its presence felt in a market being taken over by other big wigs. The first partnership between Nokia and Microsoft saw the team give the world the Lumia series, a feeble attempt of overpowering the Android and the iOS trend. However, the Lumia series failed take make a mark.

With no other way out, Nokia decided the time had come to sell. In the year 2013, the hardware department of Nokia was acquired by Microsoft, a move which did not help Nokia stay on top of the food chain. However, even though the last few years saw Nokia fall and stumble to regain its foothold, the Company realised the only way to get back on top was to get back into the game again. Focusing on the growing trends of the world and the different strategies being implemented by other phone companies, Nokia is all set to make a grand comeback! 

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The Secret Behind Netflix And Chill

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Back in the late 90’s, Reed Hastings, the man who breathed life into Netflix, realised, the way to get over avoiding late fees for the videos he rented was not by fighting the system, but by creating his own video rental platform. While the idea for Netflix came in 1997, the official website was launched on the 14th of April, 1998. Armed with an idea, 30 employees, an initial investment of $ 10 million and 925 titles to its name, Hastings and his partner, Marc Randolph, gave birth to the official Netflix website.

The beginning

For the first month, Netflix worked with a simple formula: giving people the option to browse through and rent the videos they wanted. Back then, the DVD format was just beginning to be accepted in place of VHS tapes, making it extremely easy for the team to mail videos through the rental service. By 1999, the service became extremely popular and the Netflix team decided to charge people a monthly subscription fee for renting videos!

This was a new path for the Netflix team. Not only were there no late charges, there was also no restriction on the number of DVDs you could rent and there were no shipping fees. This gave people the option to spend more time on the website by browsing through the large catalogue with complete ease! As a result of the consumer specific approach, the primary rival of Netflix, Blockbuster, suffered majorly, giving Netflix the dominance in this field. What could get better?

Unfortunately for Netflix, while their idea was spot on, the format wasn’t quite growing according to the plan for the first few years. Only a small percentage of Netflix’s regular user base had access to DVDs and VHS tapes were still a more preferred form of watching movies. Slowly through the years, as DVDs became more accepted, the online platform recorded its first ever profit ($ 6.5 million in the year 2007.) Soon after, Reed realized, they had to change the way people looked at Netflix and with this in mind, the team came up with a product which would redefine online streaming forever.

The birth of online streaming

By February 2007, Netflix announced the streaming feature, the first ever feature which would let people watch their favourite content on the internet. The introduction of the “Watch Now” button quite literally caused a sensation. With a little over 1,000 titles, the streaming part of Netflix only made up for about one percent of Netflix’s entire video collection.

Through the years, not only did Netflix start acquiring more titles to its name, it also started giving people a new way to watch TV shows. From the moment the “Watch Now” button was introduced, users started onboarding new titles on a daily basis. By 2009, the Twitter world gave us the phrase, “Netflix and Chill,” which, although seemingly to the point and clear, has more than its fair share of hidden innuendos. By 2014, the platform had subscribers from more than 40 countries across the world and with social media being of Netflix’s best used advertising platform, people were hooked to this new phenomenon.

The introduction of original content

Despite Netflix being at the peak of its fame, Hastings was far from being satisfied. He didn’t want to be known for sponging off existing titles, but wanted to be known for the original movies present on Netflix’s website. Introducing the concept of binge watching, the first ever series produced by Netflix was called Lilyhammer. However, this Norwegian show first premiered on the Norwegian channel NRK1 in January 2012 and in North America, on Netflix, in February 2012. This show was cancelled after its third season.

Unlike other platforms, Netflix didn’t make you wait for an entire week for one episode. It had no advertisements during the episode and it let people watch for free for the first three months. Things just kept getting better and better for the brand!

In 2013, Netflix changed the way people viewed content by privatizing the user base. By enabling the option of having individual profiles, Netflix now gave people the option of curating videos according to their preferences. While original content was one way Netflix used to market itself on a large scale, Netflix also realised that bringing to life cancelled shows was a good way to its original content. Take for example, shows like Arrested Development and Brooklyn Nine Nine. Both were immensely popular shows and when they were cancelled, they sent everyone into a tizzy. Netflix played the role of the guardian angel here and with a single swoop, renewed everyone’s hope for a better tomorrow! With shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, House of Cards, Luke Cage and Narcos, Netflix is the producer of some of the most popular shows in the world!

Netflix and social media

While most brand liked keeping a neutral tonality on social media, Netflix decided to do the opposite. By finding a unique voice for themselves, Netflix realised the best way to make a mark on the social media world was by being unabashedly true to the tone of your brand. In fact, their strategy worked so well, the posts made by this platform is among the best performed posts on the internet.

#Daredevil season 2. All night, every night. See you in a few hours. pic.twitter.com/O1fdynSrLa

— Netflix US (@netflix) March 18, 2016

While numbers may affect your social media game, Netflix created its social media strategy by taking into account the quality of its content, not the quantity. By using relevant posts, witty comments and listening to what people are saying on the internet, Netflix used social media to its complete advantage.

A brilliant marketing strategy, an eye for detail and clear plan to create something really unique, Netflix is today available in over 190 countries and is producing more regional content than any other competitor. Despite taking more than one hit, Netflix more than proved its superiority in the streaming world!  

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Autobiographies By Entrepreneurs You Should Read For Inspiration

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There are times in life when you get so bogged down by the pressures of the world, you can’t think beyond the fog. At times like these, it’s the entrepreneurs you have idolized all your life who inspire you to do the unexpected. Every great man at the top of the food chain, at some point or other, faced downfall. When you feel like you are completely down and out, reading autobiographies by those who made it big in the world help in finding the much needed silver lining. Here is our list of books you should definitely read when you need the push to do better!

1. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (Richard Branson)

Richard Branson, known best for founding the extremely famous Virgin Atlantic, is perhaps one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world right now. Not only did he found one of the most widely used airlines, he also created a host of other businesses (Virgin Cola, Virgin Records and V2.) While his life may seem picture perfect right now, Branson went through his fair share of ups and downs. In his autobiography, Branson gets completely candid and talks about how, despite his advisors telling him not to start so many businesses, he adopted the “Oh screw it, let’s do it” policy. A tell all about the journey of his life to the top, Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun & Made A Fortune Doing Business My Way is a definite must read!

2. Made In America (Sam Walton)

Sam Walton, one of the co founders of Walmart, built the largest retail store in the United States from scratch through sheer hard work and effort. In his book Made In America, Walton talks about how he barely had any seed money, an idea and the dream to create something people all over the world could use. With only one store in Arkansas, Walton and his partner (John Huey,) worked through their mistakes with commendable ease and brought to life a retail store which quite literally changed the way people shopped!

3. Built From Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew the Home Depot from Nothing to $ 30 Billion (Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank)

From being fired, to building a billion dollar worth company, Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus have quite an inspiring story to tell. In their book Built From Scratch, Bernie and Arthur map out their entire journey and talk about how being fired from your job is never a bad thing. The book also gives you the hope that even if something goes miserably wrong, you can always work on what you want to recreate your dream. Built with grit and determination, the story of how Home Depot came to be is one everyone will relate to even now!

4. Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time (Howard Schultz)

A lot can happen over a cup of coffee, especially if you pour your heart into it. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks (the largest coffee store in the world,) quite literally put all he had into creating this massive empire. In his inspiring book Pour Your Heart Into It, Schultz talks about he cracked the code to perfection: providing great customer service! This particular autobiography is a must read because not only does it outline Schultz’s recipe for success, it also talks about how the man faced his failures and all the techniques he learnt while making it to the top!

5The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company (David Packard)

Friends from Stanford, Bill Hewlett and David Packard created HP when they realised there was a severe need for personal computers. A car garage doubled up as their office space and armed only with an idea, the duo gave life to one of the most sought after computers in the world today. The HP Way by David Packard talks about their journey from a garage, to how a coin toss decided the name of their company.

6. Direct From Dell: Michael Dell

Michael Dell, the founder of Dell, started his entrepreneurial journey in his dorm room, with seed money of less than $ 1,000. Dell grew from just selling computers, to manufacturing and distributing them. Today, it is one of the largest computer manufacturers in the world. In his book Direct From Dell, Michael Dell talks about what he learned during his journey and about how he overcame some of the toughest difficulties while growing.

The top tens didn’t become the great people they are today because they got lucky. They put in a lot of time, effort and energy into making their dreams come true. If you think we missed out on any other inspiring autobiographies, comment and let us know!

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