4 Biggest Blunders of the Top 4 Entrepreneurs in the World
[toc]In business, everyone is entitled to his or her own mistakes, but what about a major mistake that could cost a billion dollars?
It could come to a surprise to learn that the most successful entrepreneurs of our times have made major mistakes and one significant blunder amounted to 45 billion in dollars.
Let’s understand what these epic blunders are all about and eventually pick up some good points that could benefit your businesses or interest.
No. 1 Steve Jobs Losing Power over Apple
Steve Jobs is probably one of the greatest innovators of all times. As we all know he founded Apple and innovative products were born under his creativity including the iPod, iPhone and iPad which are all been part of modern living in this digital age. Although he was reluctant to take full charge of his company his leadership as the company’s CEO, Apple reached the pinnacle between the periods of 1997 until 2011. Well his doubts led to a decision to seek someone to run his company and this by far is the biggest mistake in the history of entrepreneurship. This major fault kept Jobs off his company rendered powerless over his own empire.
Steve Jobs Wrong Moves
Jobs and Wozniak ironically both Steve- created Apple from scratch and due to indecisiveness Steve Jobs hired Mike Markkula in 1977. Being a pioneering entrepreneur himself Markkula invested huge amount of money and expertise that capitalized this business. This was the start of Jobs losing grip on his own company. By 1983 Jobs is seeking full control of his company and Markkula finally left the company by this time he is ready to take charge. BUT- eventually the board of directors of his own company did not approved of him to lead this immensely growing corporation. Rendered useless and powerless Steve Jobs then agreed with the board to get John Sculley a pirated CEO of Pepsi Cola this started the drastic shift in power between these two high strung men. Eventually, Jobs was sacked out from Apple in 1985.
The truth of the matter through Steve Jobs’ clear vision Apple succeeded in spite of the myriad failures he had to endure and by the 90’s string of strong competitors appear in the like of Microsoft represented by Bill Gates.
The lesson is: Although Steve Jobs was not the perfect and expert CEO to handle Apple but eventually he believed in his product and envisioned something big for Apple thus making him the best person to completely handle his own company not anyone else.
Now apply the lesson from this huge blunder if you really want your new business to succeed and if you feel that you need to step aside by admitting that someone else is much capable of handling your company then don’t be afraid to do so. BUT you must be wary on up to what extent of power you are willing to give up taking careful not be betrayed or undermine by anyone.
“I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year…. It’s very character-building”-Steve Jobs.
Worth Mentioning: Apple sold some stocks way back in 1980 and Jobs got a staggering 7.5M dollars. When he stepped out of Apple he sold his shares and left only one just to get a company’s annual report as stock holder. Low and behold Jobs sold stocks are worth $600 a piece which totaled to over 45 billion dollars in 2012 which is very close to the net worth of the richest man in the planet Carlos Slim at $49 billion.
No.2 Bill Gate Snobbish Attitudes on Search Engines
Bill Gates is the genius behind Microsoft Company founded in 1975. This software company pioneered a software interface by introducing Windows 1.0 in 1985 and by 1995 his vision paved the way to millions of people around the globe by bringing the Windows ’95 which came with the user interface Internet Explorer or IE. Later came 2005 and the battle for search engines predicted a multi-billion dollar projected industry and it was very clear the Gates ignored this great opportunity. In 1998 Microsoft brought to the world MSN Search just about at the same time that two geniuses in the persons of Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google. MSN Search all throughout has loss any battle to Google’s innovative approach which was fast phased and efficiently delivered pertinent results. After all these, things are getting bigger for Google, Microsoft just watched by and did not even bothered to come up with a matching search engine. Bill and his Microsoft were very focused on outsmarting Netscape in the browser war.
An Opportunity Missed
It is no doubt that Bill Gates had missed the potential to earn big in 2002 when Google already amassed a revenue of 348M dollars. The following year Google was earning almost thrice as they had last year to a whooping 962M dollars- then by this time that Microsoft finally stepped into the plate and created a search engine now called Bing that could have been the top choice.
Eventually in 2006 Microsoft launched Windows Live Search but it turned out that Google is a tough competitor. Gates rebranded this long named search engine and changed it to Bing. Creating this new search engine had cost 2.5B dollars and to think it only captured a tiny chunk of the market.
What can we learn from Bill’s mistake? Gates and his Microsoft could gain so much if only they come with the idea and eventually materialized it. Considering the company’s leverage back in 1998 they could have moved forward and made a good search engine that would beat any second placer.
It could be attributed that Bill Gates was focused on the success of his software business and never had a foresight of the potential of Internet Explorer. Life goes on and nothing is permanent and it is very true to businesses as well. Everything is subjected to change and growth or success should not be limited. Take each opportunity to be innovative and always think ahead of the competition.
Noteworthy: The Monopoly Game that Gates Played: Gates wanted to simply dominate the web scenario and bundled Internet Explorer with Windows OS- this earned him a lawsuit complaining that he is monopolizing the industry. It was recommended the Gates made two separate divisions for Windows and Internet Explorer but Gates appealed and eventually was given a go signal to carry on with its operations.
No.3 Larry Page and Social Networking Opportunity
Google ever since was on top of its game through Larry Page and Sergey Brin innovative ideas became the top search Google in 1998. They gained massive revenue and later made several expansions through added services like Google Maps, Gmail and You Tube.
Just like Bill Gates, Larry Page had no foresight to dominate the World Wide Web and missed a juicy opportunity to revolutionize the web through social networking. The irony is that Page had already envisioned this but never took action.
Friendster and Google
Google planned to buy the popular social networking site Friendster back in 2003 and offered 30M dollars but Friendster snubbed this offer. This could be the best time to innovate and come up with another better social networking site and start developing Google’s own version of Friendster. Timing is indeed crucial. It was only by 2010 that Google came up with their own social networking site called Google Buzz but was later sacked for much better and now enter Google Plus which is merely surviving the social network rat race.
Just imagine if Page and his team over at Google who already thought about the idea of a social networking site and eventually went proactive about it for sure there will be a million or so users of their very own Friendster way back in 2004. If this is the case then there is no way the Facebook can compete with it. Funny thing is it is now Google who had once a great vision but what they can do for now is dream about it.
Although Larry Page had an initiative to buy Friendster but after the offer was declined he eventually succumbed to the idea and simply does nothing about it to materialize Google’s potential on social network site.
Moral lesson of this story: Don’t let a golden opportunity be just an idea. Once you have some creative innovation that you feel will turn out big then go ahead and capitalize on it. Be proactive and be the leader not the follower. Remember as the saying goes “opportunity knocks only once” but when the door is closed you always open up several windows to let newer opportunities come in.
Another blunder: Google Wave wrong timing. This time Larry Page was very quick in releasing its editing application but it was all too soon and not yet suitable to the current flow of the industry back then. Another waste of time, money and energy for Google.
No.4 Self Portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook
As we all know Mark is the mind and the face behind the greatest social networking site today- Facebook. His vision turned Facebook into a reality and it took a hell of lot of brainstorming just to develop it into realization. But what Mark Zuckerberg lacks is charisma he was never portrayed as a guy with a pleasing personality. He is perceived as arrogant and sometimes tactless. And it came to anyone’s surprise that he chose his own image to represent his own company.
The controversial statement “I just killed a pig and a goat” made by Facebook CEO Zuckerberg had led to an array of negative feedback all over the media world. He is portraying himself in a way that does not conform to the norms of this society. He even went on posting this statement on his own FB wall last May of 2011- again for what? Barbaric, savage what have you- people thought negatively about him because of this blatant statement. Many animal advocates found this rather offensive. But Zuckerberg said he only kill animals for food- with what his bare hands? Criticism and harsh remarks circulated against him since then.
But what can we say; Facebook still remains the top choice for social netizens to get in touch with their friends around the world. He may lack or score zero when it comes to PR but the truth remains his vision went on and catapult Facebook with millions of users worldwide.
What wisdom can we gain from this? Zuckerberg is working on his charisma by having improved PR. And for the very obvious reasons Facebook is going much stronger in spite of his shortcomings. People just love using FB since this is the best way to connect online.
The only drawback is – if Zuckerberg had the charisma of Steve Jobs then Facebook would have better brand image. The famous social portal would earn more trust and respect in this industry.
If you have a growing company certain task are better delegated to other people- you can’t run a company on a one man show policy. Know your strengths and weaknesses and work according to your means.
Beacon from Facebook: Battle Cry for Privacy
There are so many issues in term of privacy over at Facebook that made many users irritated and disgusted. One of the earliest booboos of Facebook under Mark’s orchestration is the Beacon. This app was launched in 2007 and an ad system that sends out data back to Facebook. It is like a tracking device- analyzing the behavior of Facebook users wherein online activities are automatically posted and this resulted into another classic class action suit. Beacon was abolished in 2009.
The Analysis: Connected Strings of Errors that Succeed for Others
Steve Job’s greatest mistake paved way for Bill Gates to conquer the computer world industry. While Bill Gates’ blunder gave room for Larry Page to pioneer the search engine business of course Larry Page also committed major mistake that Mark Zuckerberg took advantage and innovate the internet social scene by giving the best social network which is now called Facebook.
YOU: Watch and learn from these enterprising moguls or any big time entrepreneur. Understand their behavior and see their weakest link. Identify where they fail and from there you might have a much bigger idea that can capitalize on other’s mishap. These top entrepreneurs may open opportunities for others to venture into and it could be you.
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Sources for images: Flickr