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Mark Zuckerberg Life and Lessons

Ramya GovindRaj

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Technology genius and philanthropist Mark Zuckerberg recently donated almost 500 million dollars to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI,) selling close to 685,000 shares in the last three days of February. The Chief Executive Officer of Facebook is one of the billionaires who pledged to give away 99% of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

The founder and creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has become one of the most influential people in the world, revolutionizing the way people communicate. Named as one among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world by Time magazine, Zuckerberg became a billionaire at the age of 23 as a result of Facebook’s success. What started off in a dorm room in Harvard, today is the most used social networking site that made the world a smaller place.

Born in White Plains, New York on May 14, 1984, Mark Zuckerberg first developed an interest in computer programming when he was 12 years old. He is also a talented fencer and excelled in literature when he was in school. He created an early version of the music software Pandora in high school, named Synapse. In 2002 he enrolled at Harvard University and by his sophomore year became famous around campus as the go to software developer. The rest, as they say, is history.

Zuckerberg’s journey from developing a website just for the students of Harvard to dropping out of college and moving the company to Palo Alto, California has been a roller coaster ride. There are numerous lessons aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from Mark Zuckerberg.

Go big or go home
Nothing in life comes easily or on a silver platter. Hard work, dedication and devotion are the keys to success. Zuckerberg’s decision to drop out of college and move to California to pursue his dreams shows his dedication to his dream and his passion towards his work. It is OK to start small but be prepared to sacrifice anything to go big.

Trust yourself
Despite facing multiple lawsuits and multiple offers for a takeover, Zuckerberg held on to Facebook and his dream. Never doubt your abilities and stay relentlessly focused on your goal. Keep your head in the game, stick to your instincts and believe in what you are doing.

Do not let criticism get you down
For every one person willing to try something new, there will be ten critics telling them why they are wrong. Despite the negative criticism, stay focused on what you want to do in life. Most people will not be able to see the idea like you do or your vision for the end product.

Try new things
Unless and until you try it, you will not know if it does or does not work. Facebook is known for trying new features, scrapping out ones that do not succeed and trying something else. Make change a regular part of your company and keep upgrading your products.

Be unstoppable
Potholes are a part of the entrepreneurial journey. Do not let one small setback stop you from taking over the world. Facebook has been accused of spreading fake news, insensitivity and much more. However, Zuckerberg persevered and worked relentlessly to make his idea work even though there was always a risk factor involved.

If you’re still not inspired, watch this motivational speech by the man himself.

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Emerging Startup Stories

Inshorts: From A Facebook Page To A Rs.600 Crores Company!

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News insights from across the globe on one platform in just 60 words which is crisp and quick, is this not interesting and easy to go through for most of us? Categories like national, business, sports, technology and what not are displayed on Inshorts. The very famous Inshorts which started off as News In Shorts is a content discovery platform provider for both Android and iOS users.

So, how exactly did the idea of InShorts come to life? Like many other Facebook pages, Inshorts started off with the purpose of sharing information about the latest news. It was difficult to become popular by doing just the basic things. The founders of this interesting app came up with the idea of presenting news within 60 words and bang! This very simple yet unique idea changed the fortune of the masterminds behind this company.

The brainchilds of Inshorts includes Azhar Iqubal, Deepit Purkayastha and Anunay Arnav who back then decided to start off the firm during their last semester at IIT Delhi.

In an interview Azhar Iqubal said It was really easy to set up. Unlike other startups where it takes months to get off the ground, we were up and running in 3 days flat. The premise was deceptively simple they would provide their fans with snappy, 60 word updates of happenings around them.

It was initially available only in English, but they have recently launched in Hindi and based on its success, the app will soon launch in regional languages as well. During their college days, the three buddies observed that not many loved the idea of consuming news every day and came up with the idea of launching a news “in shorts.” Azhar along with his mates created a facebook page and in just a little span of time, they received an enormous interaction to the tune of more than 1,00,000 fans. Within a few months of the launch, the app fetched more than 10,000 downloads. Within a year, these entrepreneurs entered into the Forbes’ 30 under 30 lists, bagged the award for the Best Innovation App by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). Founded in 2013, this app now has more than 3 million downloads. The next step was obvious and the masterminds developed an app. By mid 2015, they had hit a 1 million users mark. Is that not huge?

To recreate the unique experience of reading a 60 words snippet, the news features an image as a card on the mobile screen. If readers would like to read the entire story, they can do so by following the link to a publisher’s website within the app. By the end of 2015, the ecommerce giant Flipkart showed keen interest in the idea of Inshorts and invested $ 4 millions. At the same time, Tiger Global Investors also invested a whopping  $ 20 million dollars.

Inshorts generate around 140 stories a day. The user interface is simple yet attractive, the user just have to swipe to go through the latest news and happenings around the world. The app will soon incorporate multimedia like videos, infographics, podcasts, blogs and others.

 

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Entrepreneur Stories

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

Life Lessons From The Tech Geek, Evan Spiegel!

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Evan Thomas Spiegel aka Evan Spiegel is the CEO and Co founder of the most popular mobile application Snapchat. This tech geek is loved by everyone for bringing up the most incredibly used photo sharing app. The smart and savvy tech entrepreneur rebelled against the archived timelines of the other social media platforms to allow users to communicate at the moment through temporary pictures, video and text. As of now, there are 100 million active users sharing 9,000 snaps per second. Huge, right? Evan shot to fame after pioneering the idea of self deleting pictures on Snapchat. Evan Spiegel is someone the young generation looks up to for inspiration. With an estimated net worth of $ 2.1 billion, 26 year old Spiegel is the youngest billionaire in the world.

Here are 5 life lessons to learn from Evan Spiegel!

1. Dare to be unique

Do not be like everyone else. Dare to be unique and showcase your thing with confidence! The talented lad Evan said to have faith in yourself. Know that you will be capable of all the growth expected of you and that you expect of yourself. Having faith in oneself and letting things happen makes you stand out from the crowd. If you have an idea that is unique and different, do not be afraid to showcase it!

As an entrepreneur, you need to believe in yourself and make things happen with passion and dedication!

2. Follow your heart

Evan Spiegel spoke at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business where he was the chief guest. Spiegel called out students to follow their heart and intuitions. He encouraged the people present at the event to listen to their heart and follow that instead of relying on someone else’s advice. If you have an idea, go follow it! Put your soul and heart into it to make it happen and see the stars following your path!

3. It’s not about the Degree

A degree doesn’t matter as long as you are passionate about something that could be implemented with immense dedication. Spiegel came up with the idea of Snapchat while working on a class project as a student, at Stanford in 2010. He initially named it Picaboo. With two of his fraternity brothers, Spiegel left the college in 2012 to develop Snapchat before he completed his degree and the rest we know is history! Evan unique Spiegel explained he too had participated in his class’ graduation ceremony, despite not receiving his degree. He even wore the cap and gown and walked onto the stage.

4. Learn from your mistakes

The inception of Snapchat took place with a mistake. Yes, we are not kidding! Snapchat was also thought up in a college dorm room. The idea came after a conversation with his frat brothers Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy at Stanford University about sexting. There was a confusion made by one of the Snapchat’s co founder Reggie Brown. He had stepped into Spiegel’s room to discuss a photo he wished he didn’t send to someone. Brown had said I wish there was an app to send disappearing photos. Spiegel immediately became animated and called it a million dollar idea. Of course, he wasn’t wrong. We now have the best photo sharing app! Learning from your mistakes and using it as an opportunity to focus on the better is a very important thing! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, learn from them instead.

5. If at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again

It was then that Evan and his colleague developed the idea of Snapchat and started working on its development. They named it Picaboo, which failed to attract any investors’ support. Basically, just because there were some flaws in it. On top of that, the idea that why one would share an image that disappears led to the downfall of the group. Spiegel once said you are going to make a lot of mistakes. I’ve already made a ton of them some of them very publicly and it will feel terrible, but it will be okay. Just apologize as quickly as you can and pray for forgiveness.

At the end of the day if you are passionate about something and work hard for that you will ultimately achieve it.

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