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Stephen Hawking And Life Lessons To Learn From Him

Smruthi Kishore

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As the world mourns the loss of one of the most pioneering men, Stephen Hawking, in the tech and science world, we take a moment to remember all the great things he has done. Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also called Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS,) a rare health condition which promised to cut his life short, Professor Hawking offered more to this world than just an Oscar winning movie. While we mourn the loss of perhaps one of the greatest scientists, creators and thinkers of this world, here are a few things we could learn from this man.

1. Curiosity does not kill the cat 

Why did Hawking reach such great heights, you ask? Because he never stopped asking questions. “I am just a child who has never grown up. I still keep asking these ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Occasionally, I find an answer.” Not everything is impossible and once you realise that, the world is your oyster.

2. Knowledge is best used when shared 

Information, when kept inside, is of no use to anyone. Why else would Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time, be so popular despite its extremely complicated premise? Funny fact, Hawking’s publisher told him readership would be cut in half for every equation in the book, so Hawking included only one: E = mc².

3, Time is the most precious thing 

For someone whose life expectancy was supposed to be only 24 years, Hawking worked hard to make sure every minute of his life was used to create something great. Despite being impaired in more ways than one, Professor Hawking proved time and again that life can give us great things if one is brave enough dream and believe.

4. Never be idle. 

There is always something that needs to be completed. Find what you like and make it your driving force, your passion. When you enjoy doing something, it is no longer work. Don’t just keep the hands busy, keep the mind active as well. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. An active mind also helps to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. So stay busy and the world never ceases to be amazing.

5. Principles make a person strong 

Your principles are your driving force in life. Without them, you are an empty shell rather than being a complete person. Stick by them and your life will always be meaningful.

6. Always think of the future

The doctors concluded he had only 2 years to live after diagnosing with ALS, however, Professor Hawking believed in the future and never gave up on his dreams. Regardless of being confined to a wheelchair, he is still considered to be one of the brightest minds in the field of science and technology who broke through many barriers and conducted ground breaking research.

7. Aggression is our worst enemy 

Professor Hawking has said aggression is a person’s worst enemy. “The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression.” He noted that the act of aggression may have had its advantages in surviving the “caveman days,” but it now poses a threat to humanity. According to Hawking, empathy works a long way in establishing lasting relationships.

8. Humour is important 

Despite being plagued with so many disorders through his life, Hawking never gave up on humour. In fact, he has made jokes on his appearances in various television shows such as The Simpsons, Futurama, Stargate Atlantis and The Fairly Oddparents and Star Trek. 

9. Have superheroes as idols 

Everyone has real life idols. Professor Hawking taught us that real life idols are boring and that you should have superheroes as your role models. Hawking’s idol is none other than Superman, because, as he puts it, “Superman is my hero because he can do whatever I cannot do.

10. Never give up

If there is one last take away from Stephen Hawking’s illustrious life, it is to never, ever stop trying. Give up and nothing seems possible in life. If he had given up right when he was diagnosed, then the world would have truly lost one of the greatest revolutionaries.

Gone but never forgotten, Stephen Hawking’s demise will leave a vacuum in the field of science. But his research throughout the years has given physicists and cosmologists of today a path forward.

 

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Entrepreneur Stories

Walt Disney: A Journey Into The World Where Dreams Come True

Smruthi Kishore

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Have you ever had dreams, but not the courage to turn the dreams into magical reality? Have you ever had a desire so strong, but not the drive to turn this into something beautiful? Had Walt Disney been like you or me, we would most definitely not have the glorious world of Disney today.

Walt Disney’s early life 

Walt Disney’s early childhood was nowhere close to being as rosy and colourful as the movies he made later on in life. Born in Chicago to Elias Charles Disney and Flora Call Disney, Walt’s childhood was interrupted when the family had to move to Missouri first and then Kansas. With barely any money to spare, the Disney brothers had to work several odd jobs to make ends meet, a task which left them with little to no time for school.

The big change to Walt’s life came in the form of the Great War. A patriot by birth, Walt immediately joined the army, but was rejected because he was only a mere boy of 16. However, he finally became a part of the army by driving an ambulance bus! Through his time in the war, he realised his true passion lay in the magical world of theater, acting and drawing!

Walt Disney and the beginning of his career 

The war had a great impact on Walt’s life. So great that the first caricatures he drew were of political figures, a feat which was clearly not a good idea! One of Walt’s brothers, Roy, was the first man who introduced him to the world of cartoons, mystery and beauty! In July 1923, Walt sold his camera, his creations and his hard work and moved to Hollywood. Once he reached, he moved in with his uncle Robert Disney and set out to look for a job. Unfortunately, no one believed in Walt’s dreams of becoming a director and as a result, every studio turned him down!

The first seeds for Disney were sown when Walt, Roy and Ub Iwerks (an artist) came together to form the first version of Disney. Called the Disney Brothers’ Studio, this company became home to the many creations for which Walt became famous. It was only after multiple rejections that Walt decided to turn to animation. The first success for Walt came in the form of a series called Alice Comedies, or what is now popularly known as Alice In Wonderland. The massive success of the Alice series resulted in the creation of a new project called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and from then onward, there was absolutely no looking back for Walt!

The creation of Mickey Mouse 

Despite the massive success of Oswald, Walt was not happy. He needed a character that was sympathetic, personal and full of potential. An idea was slowly brewing in this creative man’s head and slowly, after months of contemplation, the character of Mickey Mouse came to be! This particular character had a live voice, a back story and a dream with which everyone could relate. With such a specific idea for Mickey Mouse, Walt could not find a specific voice to fit this character. Despite several auditions, no one made the right impact and after several failed attempts, the creator decided to voice the character himself! Did you know that when Walt first came up with the idea of Mickey Mouse, he wanted to name him Mortimer Mouse? How weird was that?

In the year 1932, Walt discovered a new invention in the form of technicolour while working on a project called Flowers and Trees (a part of the Silly Symphony series.) With the brilliant idea of reshooting the project with this technology, Walt created the first ever successful animated series for Disney! Nothing could stop Walt after this success and post that, his touch was like the mythical Midas touch!

At the age of 62, Walt had amassed over 31 Academy Awards and was famous for creating not only amazing cartoons, but also for making brilliant feature films. When he passed away on the 15th of December, 1966, the world fell silent. Having lost a wondrous and extremely talented man, Walt’s death was a loss not many could bear with. One of the reasons his legacy still lives on is because it was a story of success, hard work, patience and perseverance. What is your favourite Disney story? Comment and let us know!

 

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Vijay Mallya’s And Kingfisher’s Rise And Fall From Success

Smruthi Kishore

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Vijay Mallya, the self titled King of Good Times, saw nothing but wealth and opulence the moment he took over from Papa Mallya. When Junior Mallya inherited the Kingfisher empire at 28 years old, little did he know that the company was going to be valued at a whopping Rs. 350 crores (a heck of a lot of money at the time.) He had the throne, he had the money and he had the looks. All he needed now was to create a name for himself and voila! The business was set to take off like never before!

The creation of Kingfisher Airlines 

Kingfisher’s history dates all the way back to Papa Mallya’s life. Mirroring the principles of the Grinch, Papa Mallya counted his money down to every last paisa. When he passed away at the not so ripe age of 56, Mallya’s family business was an umbrella to a hoard of businesses that included industries like liquor, beer, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, paints and agriculture. When Junior Mallya took over the reigns, he took over very little from Papa Mallya (except for the money of course.)

Back then, Rs. 350 crores was almost equivalent to  three times its current value, leaving the young Mallya with money and no real spending direction. The man behind Kingfisher very soon realised the money lay with the distilleries and brewery business. His first step as CEO was as flamboyant as him: to change the colours of the Kingfisher logo from black and white to extravagant colours. Slowly moving towards the skies, Mallya started the Kingfisher Airlines and even acquired his very own cricket team (which Indian man worth his salt has never harboured that particular dream?)

The dream turns sour 

However, despite all his acquisitions, Junior Mallya slowly saw his dream turn into a horrible nightmare. Kingfisher Airlines was not doing as well as he wanted it to and people were starting to notice. For several years after its launch, Kingfisher Airlines continued to function normally, despite never breaking even or even earning profits. Despite the airlines never doing well, KFA received investment on a daily basis. Mallya’s endearing charm got him the much needed investors. Moving from one banker to another, Mallya ensured the valuation of KFA grew to a whopping Rs. 4,100 crores. While the bankers kept lending KFA money they did not really have means of paying back, Mallya’s debt kept rising with each day.

Trouble started brewing when the bankers finally opened their eyes to the problem KFA was slowly turning into. Months after its over the top launch, customers started complaining about the poor quality of the service. From the on ground staff to the crew on board, no one seemed to really care about the airlines they were working for. Management intervention was minimal, flight timings overlapped the competitors schedules, the frills overran the need, cost control was not enforced and maintenance repairs were excruciatingly high. All in all, Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) pushed itself toward a very obvious downfall.

When our very ignorant money lenders finally opened their eyes, KFA’s total debt was valued at a solid Rs. 9,041 crores! Looking back, people soon realised one of the major reasons for KFA’s downfall was glamour, the airline’s primary USP. Now living in debt, sin and poverty (according to the rich man anyway,) Mallya breeds the tale of every heir who squandered his father’s hard gotten wealth. Despite its quick fall to failure, KFA’s story was quite a cautionary tale, letting people know there was much more to success than just having access to money!

 

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Howard Schultz Founding Story

Smruthi Kishore

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Born in the housing sector of Brooklyn, New York, Howard Schultz never dreamt of becoming the founder of one of the largest coffee chains in the world. Growing up, Schultz lived a life where people were used to being poor, with lack of money being a constant nagging issue! With three kids, the parents worked two jobs each to make ends meet, scraping their savings on a daily basis. This would have been Schultz’s life on a daily basis, if his father had not broken his foot. The day that happened was the day the family realized their income was reduced by half. With no savings in hand, Howard and his parents experienced poverty like never before.

The day he watched his father lie on the couch, with a cast and defeated completely, was the day Howard made the decision to change his life. At the age of 7, a young Schultz made the choice of taking his life into his hands. At school, he worked and played hard, a decision which helped him earn an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University. After graduation, his first job was working in the sales training program at Xerox, where he learned how to cold call ad pitch word processors. A few years down the line, he took a job at a housewares business owned by a Swedish company called Perstop! With the previous experience he had, Schultz grew quickly and became the Vice President of the company in a few months! Despite reaching success early in life, something seemed to be missing for Schultz.

A couple of months after being the Vice President, he realized the one thing lacking for him in this job was passion. Schultz first came across a Starbucks when he was walking around, looking for his dreams to come true. Back when Schultz came across the very first coffee shop, the franchise had only four stores in operation. When he met the then owners of Starbucks, Howard realized there was a lot of potential in these coffee shops. However, joining Starbucks meant moving across the country with a pay cut and for Howard that was a huge move to make. Schultz’s future and Starbuck’s future changed when the management sent him to Milan for an international housewares event.

When he saw the way espressos were served in Italy, Schutz realized the way the future of Starbucks could change was by serving coffee the Italian way! Balwin and Bowker, however, did not appreciate Schultz’s idea and said no to the proposal. Soon after, in the year 1985, Schultz opened his own coffee chain, II Giornale (Italian for daily.) Two years later, Schultz’s coffee chain did so well, they had enough money to take over Starbucks! In 1987, II Giornale went and did the impossible by buying over Starbucks. Schultz became the Chief Operating Officer and the rest, as they say, is history! With a valuation of over $ 80 million and 25,000 stores across 65 countries, Starbucks has definitely changed the way people drink coffee!

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