A self titled rebel billionaire and the founder of one of the biggest conglomerates in the world, Sir Richard Branson is the owner of 400 companies in 30 countries.
Known for his alternative way of thinking, Richard Branson always challenged himself to go a step further believing that he can not only compete with large enterprises but could also do their job better. All the Virgin businesses operating today are known to work with controversial and subversive artists as well as successful ones. Almost all of the businesses started by Richard Branson challenged the established behemoths in different industries and beat them at their own game. The life story of one of the richest people in the world today is filled with highs and lows and lots of lessons to learn.
Born in Surrey England, Sir Richard Branson started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 16. In 1968, he launched his first business, a magazine by the name Student which was run only by students. While starting a magazine in itself is a great accomplishment, Sir Richard Branson was also dyslexic, who could not read, write or spell well and was often beaten for poor behavior. The publication sold $8,000 worth of advertising in its first edition and the first run of 50,000 copies was disseminated for free. However, Branson covered the cost of publication through advertising later.
Post the success of the Student, at the age of 17, living in a London commune, Branson along with Nik Powell had the idea to start a mail order record company to help fund his magazine efforts. Considering themselves to be a ‘virgin’ to the business, both the young entrepreneurs decided to name the new company Virgin Records. Starting from a London commune, Virgin Group today has an annual revenue of over £19.5 billion. The success of Virgin Records allowed Branson to build a recording studio in 1972 in Oxfordshire, England.
The first ever record produced by Virgin Records was also an instant smash and Mike Oldfield’s single “Tubular Bells” stayed on the UK charts for 247 weeks. In the following years, Branson signed other aspiring musical groups to the label, including the Sex Pistols, The Culture Club, The Rolling Stones and Genesis. Virgin Records grew to become Virgin Music and one of the top six record companies in the world.
But, this was just the tip of the iceberg. By 1984, he decided to expand further and included the Voyager Group travel company to his cap. He added the Virgin Atlantic airline and a series of Virgin Megastores in 1984. But Branson’s iceberg was also hit by the Titanic. In a span of a decade, by 1992, Virgin was suddenly struggling to stay financially afloat.
Despite that, Richard Branson did not lose hope. He launched Virgin Radio in 1993 followed by a second record company V2 in 1996. In 1997, he launched the Virgin Trains which became the most criticised operator on the railways within a year. 1998 saw the birth of the Virgin Mobile. The Virgin Galactic an airline that will operate in space was then launched in 2004. The Virgin Active UK gym chain took shape in 2005. In 2015, the Virgin Voyages was announced which was supposed to be a new cruise line. Virgin cruise ships are set to debut in 2020 and are designed to hold 2,800 guests and a crew of 1,150 people.
Slowly but surely, the Virgin group was a part of 35 countries around the world, with nearly 70,000 employees. The company handles affairs in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, Asia, Europe, South Africa and beyond.
Richard Branson has set new goals for himself every step of the way challenging norms, breaking records and inspiring people to go the extra mile. Knighted for his services to entrepreneurship in 1999, he resides on his private island, the Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, contributing to humanitarian services whenever possible and addressing important issues in the world with the same enthusiasm and vigor.
Rupert Murdoch Unknown Facts
Rupert Murdoch is an Australian born businessman and the founder of News Corp, who turned media into a lucrative business empire. With holdings in The Wall Street Journal, HarperCollins, Fox News and 20th Century Fox, Murdoch is one of the richest people in the world. Here are some unknown facts about the media mogul who is considered the inventor of the modern tabloid.
Unknown facts about Rupert Murdoch
1. As an ambitious 7 year old, Rupert Murdoch would hunt water rats for their skin and manure, which he would then sell for sixpence in his town. He would use his earnings to gamble in school.
2. Murdoch was an excellent cricket player and led his school’s cricket team to National junior finals.
3. His journalism career began with the Adelaide News, which he took over after the death of his father at the age of 22. Rupert Murdoch transformed the failing business into a successful newspaper.
4. He once counter bid for a New Zealand local newspaper, The Dominion, at the spur of the moment during a vacation and ended up winning the bid.
5. He was once declared dead by his own newspaper, The Sun, after digital vigilante groups Anonymous and LulzSec hacked into the newspaper website and published an article, claiming Murdoch died because of drug overdose.
6. He has appeared in two episodes of the hit series The Simpsons and his entrance line was “I’m Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire tyrant, and this is my skybox.”
7. Murdoch has a bad intuition towards social media, which was proven when Myspace, which Murdoch bought for $ 580 million, had to be sold due to its poor performance. He also passed a chance to buy Twitter and warned investors against investing in it.
8. He was awarded a papal honour award, Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great, by John Paul II in January 1998.
9. He once launched world’s first iPad only daily newspaper app, named The Daily. Murdoch invested $ 30 million in building the app. The app eventually shut down as the company started losing money after the launch.
10. He was inducted into the TV Hall of Fame in 2014 for launching Fox Broadcasting Company and changing the television landscape with shows like The Simpsons and The X-Files.
With a career spanning almost 6 decades, Rupert Murdoch saw many failures and controversies, but overcame them all and is now worth $ 21.9 billion.
Women Scientists Turned Entrepreneurs
There are hundreds of innovations and discoveries born in the field of science and engineering every year in universities around the world. However, only a few of them are able to make it into commercial ventures. Today, we will be looking into women who turned their groundbreaking research into successful businesses.
1) Nina Tandon
Nina Tandon is a biomedical engineer and co founded the company Epibone. The main aim of the Company is to develop technology to develop bone reconstruction solution through stem cells. The Company creates bone tissues from a patient’s stem cells and grows them in vitro for use in bone grafts. Tandon serves as the CEO of Epibone and is also an adjunct professor of electrical engineering at the Cooper Union in New York. Tandon was named a TED Fellow in 2011 and a senior TED Fellow in 2012. In 2013, she received an award at the Marie Claire’s Women on Top Awards.
2) Anuradha Acharya
Anuradha Acharya is the founder and CEO of Mapmygenome, a company which focuses on preventive healthcare options through genome sequencing. She also founded another company called Ocimum Biosolutions, a genomics outsourcing company for discovery, development and diagnostics. In 2015, Mapmygenome made news for raising funds worth $ 1.1 million from a group of investors. Acharya was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year award by the magazine Biospectrum in 2008. Her name was included in the 2018 W-power trailblazers by Forbes.
3) Sinead O’Sullivan
An aerospace engineer, Sinead O’Sullivan specialises in space technology and is currently the CEO of Avioptix, a company which captures, stores and analyzes real time data from satellites, drones and ground robotics. Her Company created the first ever platform to crowdsource drone data. Avioptix tailors their insights to the needs of their clients, supporting agriculture, oil and gas, insurance and NGOs.
4) Rana el Kaliouby
Rana el Kaliouby is a computer scientist and the co founder and CEO of Affectivia. Affectivia is an emotion measurement technology company which develops software to recognize human emotions based on facial expressions and physiological responses. As a research scientist at MIT, her initial focus was on ways to improve human-computer interaction, but she quickly realised the possibility of using the technology to improve human to human interaction, especially for those affected by autism. She was inducted into the Women in Engineering Hall of Fame and was mentioned in Forbes’ America’s Top 50 Women in Tech 2018.
These women serve as perfect examples and inspiration for women working in the STEM field to grow their research into a business empire. If we missed mentioning any such women scientists who turned into entrepreneurs, comment and let us know.
Panasonic Founding Story – Journey of Konosuke Matsushita
From starting his journey with an electric light bulb idea to creating a multinational electronics corporation, the rags to riches story of Konosuke Matsushita is truly inspirational. Known as the “God of Management,” the founder of Panasonic was involved in many other business ventures, which, together, gave him a net worth of $ 3 billion.
Matsushita had humble beginnings. Being born to a gambling father, Konosuke Matsushita started working at the age of 9 to support his family. Eventually, he started working for the Osaka Electric Light Company, where he climbed the ladder of success very quickly, without any prior school education. This is the company where he came up with the design of an improved light socket, which was far superior than the bulbs available at the time. After getting rejected by an unenthusiastic boss, Matsushita took it upon himself to sell the light bulbs and started his own company.
At the age of 23, in 1918, he founded the Matsushita Electric Industrial Company and began making light bulbs in his garage, with the support of his wife and 3 assistants. The business was unsuccessful in the early years, but the sales picked up with time. By 1922, his Company, which now had a new factory and 50 employees, started introducing new products every single month, which were far superior than the competitors’. Matsushita’s business strategy was to launch products which were lower in price by 30 % and better in quality by 30 %.
The battery powered bicycle lamp is considered one of Matsushita’s best inventions. Candles and oil lamps were used as bicycle lamps in the 1920s and only lasted a few hours. With a keen eye to identify markets with non serviceable goods, Matsushita quickly realised, developing efficient bicycle lamps would be profitable for the Company. He created oval shaped lamps, which had light bulbs for illumination and ran on battery.
In 1930, when the Company’s sales dropped, Matsushita truly proved his leadership and management skills. He cut the production in half without laying off any employees. He said, “We’ll halve production not by laying off workers, but having them work only half days. We will continue to pay the same wages they are getting now, but there will be no holidays. All employees should do their best to sell inventory.” According to Panasonic, this strategy worked and the company survived.
In 1935, the Company, bearing in mind its various businesses, was incorporated as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. The Company suffered greatly during World War II as Japan lost the War, but was saved due to Matsushita’s amazing skills as a leader. In the post War era, the Company came out with devices like washing machines, rice cookers, air conditioners and the product for which Panasonic is most famous—monochrome televisions (TVs.) The Company also started expanding globally during the 1950s and introduced its first colored TV set in 1960.
After Konosuke Matsushita retired in 1961, his son in law, Masaharu Matsushita, became the president of the Company. Post Konosuke Matsushita’s retirement, the Company was faced with the 1970s oil crisis, but managed to overcome it and only continued to expand its business. Konosuke Matsushita passed away in 1989, but his legacy continues even today.
The 101 year old Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., which changed its name to Panasonic Corporation in 2008, is now one of the top electronics companies in the world.
Panasonic now has over 272,000 employees and at the completion of its 100th year (2018,) it reported an annual revenue of $ 72.32 billion. The Company has been climbing the ladder of success continuously. This was all made possible because of Konosuke Matsushita’s determination to succeed and excellent management skills.
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