Sergy Brin

Russian American entrepreneur, Sergey Brin, with his partner Larry Page, changed the course of the world wide web’s development.

Brin was born in Moscow to a Jewish family, and moved to the United States at age 6 to evade the anti-sentiment that flourished in the Russian community. His father, Mikhail Brin is a mathematician that teaches at the University of Maryland. Brin’s mother, Eugenia Brin is also a mathematician- but has extended specialties in civil engineering and works at NASA. On his ninth birthday, Brin was given a Commodore64 as his father could see young Brin’s interest in computing at a young age.

It was during his studies for a Ph.D. when he and Larry Page focused their efforts on BackRub, later to be called the more familiar PageRank in a rented garage. Their efforts were costly but were given provisions to continue the project from their family, and later by Stanford. Interesting is Page and Brin were not fond of each other during their first encounter at Stanford. However, they soon found they both had interest in retrieving information from large data sets.

The pair authored a paper: “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.” The paper is now the tenth most accessed scientific paper at Stanford.
“As we go forward, I hope we’re going to continue to use technology to make really big differences in how people live and work,” Brin said.

Brin and Page took leave from Stanford University, focusing their efforts on Google, forming it as a company: Google Inc. in 1998. The popularity of the company grew rapidly and they were forced to purchase better equipment and larger facilities in Mountain View, California. Google became publicly traded in 2004, quickly rising from $85.00 a share to over $100.00 in its first trading day. It now continues to grow beyond $410.00 a share today.

Sam Walton

Sam Walton was born in 1918 the depression era. Living on a farm they owned until 1923 when they realized they could not make enough profits. The start to many of Sam’s accomplishments came into focus when he was in 8th grade and became the youngest Eagle scout in state history.

Sam was a good athlete, even though he was not great in class work outside of sports he still made it to the honor role with lots of hard work. He played sports in high school. He later attended the University of Missouri. He worked vary hard to stay in college.

Sam worked in DuPont at JcPenny’s than resigned to await being drafted into the Army. While waiting he met his future wife who lived in Claremore. They met, and a year later was married. The next year they had their first child. Over the next few years few years they had a few more children until they had a girl in 1949.

After Sam Walton got out of the Army he borrowed money from his father-in-law and used money he saved to open a store. Using his head Sam purchased another store before finalizing his sale to his landlord. He made a large profit from his other store. After the sale finalized him and his family moved. He than opened another store 20 miles south of Bentonville named like the other Walton 5&10 although it was not with the Ben Franklin franchise. He hired a gentleman to run the second store but did not neglect it at all.

Sam opened several more stores over the years. He had 16 different stores based on his ideas. These ideas developed into Walmart. Walmart opened in 1962 becoming the number one retailer. Because of Walmart more than 600,000people have jobs. Walmart is running according to Sam’s beliefs.

Walmart’s knack for convenience shopping at an affordable price has made it a highly productive business. Sam was the kind of man who cared about easing spending for consumers and this surely aided in his success.

He has done a great deal with his life. He worked with three main people on his business. He worked with his brother, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. To tell you a few of Sam’s values there is hometown identity, each person is warmly greeted, a high school senor gets greeted with a collage scholarship from each Wal-mart, the worker decide where to donate to, and the prices are low.

Roman Abramovich

Abramovich’s life started out very difficult.  His mother passed away when he was 18 months old and his father was killed in a construction accident when Abramovich was at the age of 4.  He was raised by 2 different uncles and lived in many different Russian orphanages.

Abromovich attended the Industrial Institute before he was drafted into the Soviet Army.  He later earned a correspondence degree from the Moscow State Law Academy. In the late 80’s Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev’s allowed for individual ownership of small businesses. The entrepreneur, Abramovich started 5 companies between 1992 – 1995, all specializing in the oil industry.

Abamovich chose a great industry.  With his partner, Boris Berezovsky, he became majority owners of Sibneft, a major oil company.  During the 90’s Abrmovich also acquired private aluminum holdings and merged them with holdings of Oleg Deripaska to form the world’s second largest aluminum producer, Russian Aluminum.

Abrmovich got into politics in 1979 representing the poor region of Chukorta Autonomous Okrug in the State Durma.  He was elected governor of Chukorta in 2000 and also started the charity Pole of Hope which which sends children to summer camps and sends shipments of food aid to Chukotkan villages.  .Abmovich has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in Chukotka building a college, a hospital, a pre-school, hotels, renovating the local airport and funding new or renovated schools in many towns and villages.  His company, Sibneft, used Chukotka as a tax haven, but also reinvested much of the tax savings in the district

In September 2005, he sold 73% of Sibneft to Gazprom, a company controlled by the Russian government for $13 billion pounds. In May 2006, Abromovich announced plans to purchase 54% of Russia’s biggest Steel producer, Evraz.

Abromavich is a big fan of European football (soccer).  In June 2003, he bought the Chelsa Football club in the United Kingdom.  Abrromavich began a plan to make Chelsa a worldwide brand. He has been pouring million of GBP into the club.  Chelsa announced a loss of GPB 140 million for the year ending June 2005 but the purchase and subsequent investment in the English club, caused problems in Russia.  To remedy the pressure in Russia, Abramovich invested $58 million in CSKA Moscow.

Abromovich is a firm supporter of Jewish causes in both Russia and Israel.  The Abromovich neighborhood in Tel Aviv has received donations for several projects. Other interests include the “Abromovich Navy” which consists of 3 luxury yachts and he is a patron of the Arts, including sponsoring an exhibit of photographs of Uzbekistan by Max Penson.  Abromovich   has acquired homes in the South of France (former home of the exiled Duke of Windsor), a 440 acre estate in West Sussex and a residence in London.

Pierre Omidyar

Pierre was born in Paris, France to Iranian parents. At the age of six his family left Paris and moved to the United States. Throughout high school Pierre developed an interest in computers and in 1988 graduated from Tuft’s University with a degree in Computer Science.

After graduation he worked for Claris a subsidiary of Apple Computer. His expertise during this time was in software development. He, along with three friends, co-founded Ink Development Corp. which later was renamed e-shop. In 1996 the company was sold to Microsoft, but he remained fascinated by the technical challenges of online commerce.

One night, during dinner with his fiancée, she mentioned that she enjoyed collecting and trading Pez candy dispensers. Her sadness was in the lack of availability for trade in their area. This inspired Pierre to create a simple prototype on his personal web page launching an online service called auction web. The business flourished as people began to register trade goods of an unimaginable variety. The site was kept running through a small fee maintained from a sale. As expansion continued Pierre added a feedback form allowing members the ability to rate one another in 1997 the name was changed to eBay and aggressive advertising began.

The company was not only a service of convenience; Pierre showed its members an incredible level of respect. His attitude shone through during a time of service interruption in which Pierre directed company managers to personally call the top 10,000 users apologizing for the inconvenience.

His unique charisma carried over to the development of the Omidyar Network. Originally the site was created as a tool to share news, information, discuss different ideas and viewpoints, collaborate on documents, post announcements, synchronize business calendars, and, in general, keep informed. At birth membership was limited but this soon changed as Pierre recognized the usefulness of its service.

The rules to the site are simple; membership’s open to those who believe in making the world a better place. It’s insisted that each member show respect. Lastly, and most importantly, it is believed that everyone has something to contribute.

It can’t be denied that Pierre’s high quality ethics have greatly contributed to his success. According to Forbes Magazine, Pierre is listed as number 43 in financial worth. There is no doubt that if you factored this accompanied with moral value Pierre Omidyar would be listed within the top ten.

Philip H Knight

Born in Portland Oregon on February 24, 1938, Philip H. Knight would become “the most powerful person in sports.” He is the co-founder and current Chairman of the Board for Nike, Inc.

Phil Knight attended Cleveland High school in Portland Oregon and after graduation, went on to attend the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he earned a journalism degree in 1959. It was at the University of Oregon that Knight found his love for athletics as a middle distance runner in track and field under the tutelage of Coach Bill Bowerman. He received varsity letters in 1957, 1958 and 1959 for track and had achieved a personal best mile of 4:10.

After graduating in 1959, Knight enlisted in the US Army, serving one year active and the following seven as a reservist. During his reserve duty, he attended Stanford Graduate School of Business, to obtain his Master of Business Administration. It was in a business class that Knight discovered he had a passion other than athletics, and that was as an entrepreneur. His instructor, Frank Shallenberger, had assigned him to write a business plan on something he enjoyed and knew about.

That assignment led to the inspiration by Knight to form a company selling shoes to athletes. His paper, titled, “Can Japanese Sports Shoes Do to German Sports Shoes What Japanese Cameras Did to German Cameras?” was directed at answering the question whether a shoe could be designed and manufactured for less with better quality than the current leader in athletic shoes, Adidas.

The paper he wrote inspired him so much that after graduating from Stanford with an MBA in 1962, he actually put his fictitious work into practice by flying to Japan and meeting with executives of Onitsuka Tiger Co, a manufacturer of Adidas knockoffs. He told the Tiger executives he was the head of Blue Ribbon Sports (a fictitious company he created to convince Tiger he was a serious buyer), and that he wanted to distribute their shoes in the United States. Tiger officials agreed to send him samples after Knight convinced them he would place a large order once he was able to show the samples to his partners (also fictitious).

Upon returning to the United States, Knight borrowed $500 from his father to pay for the samples and start up his business. Shortly thereafter he received the samples and immediately sent a few pairs to his former coach Bill Bowerman in hopes that coach Bowerman would buy them and help promote the shoes to his athletes. Bowerman, instead offered to put up $500 and join Knight as a partner in this new venture.

The two new partners officially formed Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964, purchased 200 pairs of shoes from Tiger, and began selling to athletes at Track meets throughout the Oregon and Washington region. Knight’s storefront was his early 1960s Plymouth Valiant. Knight had to maintain his job as an accountant, while selling shoes, however by 1969, he was able to leave his job and begin working full-time for Blue Ribbon Sports.

In 1971, with sales exceeding $3 million, Knight decided to break with Tiger and start designing their own line of shoes named Nike (suggested by a friend, Jeff Johnson, after the Greek winged goddess of victory). Knight commissioned Portland Sate art student Carolyn Davis to create the ‘swoosh’ logo as Bowerman devised the waffle sole for better traction. The new Nike shoe debuted in 1972. Utilizing sports figures to promote his shoes, Knight embarked on an advertising campaign that included the likes of John McEnroe, and later Micheal Jordan.

Sales flourished tremendously and in December, 1981 the company name officially became Nike, Inc. By 1986 Nike sales hit a tremendous $1 billion, becoming the number one selling shoe in the world.

In 2004, Philip Knight stepped down as CEO, and remains as chairman of the board. Utilizing creativity and inspired by his own driving desire to build a better shoe, Philip Knight created from a fictitious ‘paper’ company, a billion dollar Industry and as of 2008 is the 30th richest man in the world with assets of nearly $10 Billion.

Oprah Winfrey

Born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, Oprah Winfrey lived with her grandmother on a farm until she was six years old. From the age of 6 to 13, she lived in Milwaukee with her mother. At 13, claiming abuse, she ran away from her mother’s home. The authorities sent her to a juvenile detention center. Denied admission to the detention center because of overcrowding, Oprah went to live with her father in Nashville. Her father, Vernon Winfrey was a strict disciplinarian instituting a midnight curfew and requiring her to read a book and write a book report each week.

This strict upbringing would later prove to be beneficial in Oprah’s career. At 17, Nashville radio station, WVOL, hired her to read the news on the air. That same year she became Nashville’s Miss Fire Prevention and Miss Black Tennessee. She enrolled at Tennessee State University, majoring in Speech Communications and Performing Arts.

Oprah Winfrey EntrepreneurIn 1973, Oprah became Nashville’s first african-american TV correspondent and the youngest person ever to co-anchor news at WTVF-TV. In 1976, WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland offered her a job to co-anchor the 6 o’clock news. After two years with the station, Oprah began co-hosting WJZ-TV’s ‘People Are Talking’ talk show, while remaining an anchor and reporter.

Oprah soon discovered her talent as a talk show host and in 1984; she relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV’s “AM Chicago,” a faltering morning talk show. Oprah proved her style and within a month AM Chicago became the #1 talk show in the region. Within a year the format was changed from a half-hour to a one hour show, and in September 1985 it was renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

1985 would be the start of Oprah’s rise to become the billion dollar woman as she starred in The Color Purple, which would earn her a Golden Globe and Academy Award for best supporting actress nominations. In 1986, she formed Harpo Productions as the Oprah Winfrey show enters national syndication and she stars in the feature film ‘Native Son’.

In 1987 after a year in syndication, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” received three Daytime Emmy Awards in the categories of Outstanding Host, Outstanding Talk/Service program, and Outstanding Direction. Oprah hosted the 14th annual daytime Emmy awards that year. In 1988, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” received its second consecutive Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Talk/Service Program. Over the next 20 years, the Oprah Winfrey show would receive 40 daytime Emmy’s.

Oprah has in addition received numerous personal awards from a variety of humanitarian to business awards and has been named to Time magazines ‘100 most influential people’ three times. In 1991, Oprah initiates the national child protection act, testifying in front of the US senate judiciary committee to establish a national database of convicted child abusers. President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1993.

In 1995, Oprah online on AOL debuts with ABC, her first venture into the world wide web. In 1996, she launched the Oprah Book Club, promoting authors, and their books through her show. In 1998, she co-founded Oxygen media and the Oxygen Network on cable and satellite. In 1999, Oprah launched, a woman’s lifestyle website, where she also created the world largest book club.

In 2000, she launched ‘O’ magazine and went international in 2002. That same year her Harpo productions creates Dr. Phil, a new daily syndicate talk show, she launches ‘Oprah after the show’ on oxygen network and breaks ground for the Oprah Winfrey leadership academy for girls in West Africa. She also received the Bob Hope Humanitarian award and was an inductee into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.

In 2003, Forbes magazine listed her as the first African-American woman to become a billionaire. She was able to achieve this great wealth through her persistence and diversification of her brand, Oprah.

Today, her show is more popular than ever and airs internationally as well as on XM satellite radio, and via the web through her YouTube channel. Since 2005, her website surpasses 100 million page views per month.

Michael Dell

Born in Houston, Texas Michael married Susan Lieberman and had two children with her. In light of his work he would tell his employee’s his daughter would say “kill the competition”. This was always seen with humor among his business relations.

Dell sent an inquiry for information on obtaining his High-School equivalency diploma at eight years old. This was a clear sign that he was not an average child but one who was ambitious and eager for success. In his younger years, as a delivery boy, he wanted new customers so he gave a two week free trial and made follow-up phone calls after the two week trial was up this made him a sizable income. Even from his dorm room he was profiting.

As a freshman in college he began PC’s unlimited out of a storefront. This made him the youngest CEO in history. PC’s Unlimited had 30 employees and introduced Turbo PC its own model in 1985. His company was soon bringing in thirty million. Dell Computer was birthed from PC’s unlimited in 1987.

Sales reached one hundred fifty-nine million within the first four years. After it’s fifth year, two billion. What made Dell change its strategy was a stock price slump from which a new Dell computer called the Latitude XP Laptop was developed. After the change stocks went from $0.39 to $80.00 a 20,000% increase in shares.

Dell did a lot to make sure he did all he could to maintain the security of his company.  He hired executives with records that were proven. He reorganized and put Mort Topfer in charge of running Dell. One prized incentive of the company is convenience. By calling a toll free number you can request your made-to-order Dell computer within 36 hours.

Most sales of Dell computers are to businesses and enthusiasts instead of first-time users.  A lot of their revenue is gained from Toyota. Dell manufactures computer units it has already sold which saves Dell a lot of costs because it does not need a warehouse to stock already made computers in. Dell surpassed his goal to have a billion-dollar-a-year company enterprise.

“The driving force of computers is Dell Computer”, said Fortune magazine. Internet Week reported that Dell had topped twelve billion in Dell revenues. Michael Dell hopes to exceed being a CEO for years to come. If his past replicates his future there is little doubt that achieving this goal will come easily to him.

Mary Kay Ash

(May 12, 1918–November 22, 2001)
Born Mary Kathlyn Wagner in Harris County, Texas, she graduated from Reagan High school in 1934, within a year she married Ben Rogers. Mary Kay’s career started in direct selling, purportedly she began selling books door to door, and in 1938 she joined the direct selling firm, Stanley Home Products, in Houston, Texas.

Working with Stanley until 1952, at the time of her divorce and with three children, she decided to take a position with World Gift Company in Dallas as a national training director. After her superiors passed her over several times for promotions, she finally decided to leave the company in 1963. Her main dissatisfaction was that her male counterparts received promotions to which she was qualified for, but because she was a woman her superiors declined to give her the same opportunity.

This prompted her to write a book about her experience and hopefully teach women how to succeed in business. Her book, soon became a business plan for what would become the largest direct selling cosmetic company in the world.

Shortly after her resignation from World Gift, and with the assistance of her eldest son, Richard, she used her $5000 savings to invest in a line of beauty cream to which she had purchased the distribution and manufacturing rights. Friday the 13th may seem an unlucky day, however it was on this February day in 1963, that Mary Kay opened the doors to her new business Beauty by Mary Kay. The small office space located in Exchange Park in Dallas was equipped with used furniture, homemade drapes and a single metal shelf from Sears.

Mary Kay had strong beliefs and encouraged her sales force to make “God first, family second and career third.” This sales force grew, and at the first ‘Annual Seminar’ held in 1964, more than 200 members had joined Mary Kay’s organization.

In 1966, it was announced that Mary Kay would reward their top associates with ‘Cinderella gifts’, sticking with her motto of praising people to success and rewarding the hard work of her Independent Beauty Consultants. By 1969 these rewards escalated to the now famous Pink Cadillac, which she awarded to her top 5 sales directors. A tradition that has awarded over 100,000 sales force members the opportunity to drive their very own Mary Kay career car.

In 1978 Mary Kay was awarded the Horatio Alger Distinguished American Citizen Award which is given to distinguished Americans who have succeeded in spite of adversity. In 1979, she was the feature of CBS’s 60 Minutes program, which catapulted the business dramatically. This success gave her time to write her autobiography, ‘Mary Kay’, released in 1981 and selling more than one million copies with weeks.

She followed her first book with two more books, one in 1984, ‘Mary Kay on People Management’, which incidentally is required reading in the business management course at Harvard  Business University. Another in 1995, ‘You Can Have It All’, which became a best seller within days of its August release.

Over the next two decades The Mary Kay Cosmetic company became a force of recognition in the worldwide cosmetics industry and a business opportunity for millions of women seeking independence. Mary Kay has received numerous prestigious awards throughout her career and several posthumously. On November 22, 2001 Mary Kay Ash succumbed in her Dallas home after a long illness brought on by a previous 1996 stroke.

As of 2008, the company founded by a woman with a dream to compete in a man’s world, broke all the records and now exceeds $2.2 Billion in wholesale sales, with more than 1.8 million Independent Beauty Consultants.

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban started off by buying computer items including the National System Integrator that was sold to CompuServe in 1983 called MicroSolutions. The other is a called a website for multimedia and streaming on internet which he sold to Yahoo! in 1999.

Cuban worked with a fellow University student named Todd Wagner. Cuban and Todd worked on many different projects together most of which were successful. They worked on projects like and 2929 entertainment. Through that adventure they bought Landmark Theatres. They brought back a new and improved Star Search on CBS.

Cuban also owned Ice Rocket, a search engine. Cuban partnered with Red Swoosh which delivered high media in video and software.

Distributed by 2929 entertainment was the movie Bubble by Cuban’s production.  Cuban was supposed to have his own radio station but it was never finalized. Cuban is the significant reason the Mavericks have turned around. Cuban has helped the team Cuban also wears maverick memorabilia to the games. In equal amounts Cuban matched charity donations with NBA fines. In the future, Cuban is interested in buying another team, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguin’s.

Liliane Bettencourt

Liliane Bettencourt is the only child of L’Oreal founder, Eugene Schueller. Her mother passed away when she was just five years old. This certainly made conditions difficult for a young and maturing girl but Bettencourt met life with great success with her father’s aide.

In 1957, she inherited the L’Oreal fortune. This, accompanied with her marriage to the French politician Andre Bettencourt gave her notice. However, Liliane is a private individual and has always made an effort to stay out of the public’s focus.

She is the second richest person in France, one of the largest in the world, and not surprisingly, the richest woman. Though modest, she must uphold some esteem for her successes in life.

One of her biggest achievements is in the creation of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. It was a foundation created in her father’s memory. Its mission is to help initiate support and develop projects within the medical, cultural, and humanitarian areas.

It devotes approximately 60% of its budget in support of medical research. It is extremely active in the effort to treat HIV and AIDS. It also provides awards in the medical arena. The Liliane Bettencourt Life Sciences Award is given to a European researcher of at least 45 years in age, who is well known in his field and shows essential promise in his/her research project.

The Young Researchers’ Award awards up to 14 prizes annually to young researchers involved in life sciences. French laboratories also gain reward for their biochemical research if they are selected. Gain is also obtained through ORVACS which focuses on a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. SOLTHIS is also hugely supported for its ongoing efforts in the research of HIV/AIDS.

In areas of culture, the foundation supports talented artist or craftsmen in an attempt to make known works of great quality.  As an expression for her enjoyment in choral music, the Foundation also awards an annual prize for choir singing. An award is also given to a skilled manual craftsman in recognition of his work which most often goes without notice.

In regards to humanitarian efforts, programs are developed to help children, as well as their parents, with reading and other incentives to accommodate them in a productive life. The efforts made here are a significant indicator in the make up of a woman who is hushed in audience regard. Funding for the foundation is contributed by her and family. Any capital made from programs involved in the foundation, are reinvested in the usage of these programs as well as the development of others.

In respect to this woman, who at first glance had seemed to accomplish so little, I can only say that silence is most honorable.