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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pierre Omidyar revolutionized the Internet by creating a site where people, artisans and small businesses could sell their products from anywhere around the world to consumers everywhere. Without him, Ebay would not have been possible. But how did he come up with this idea?

Omidyar has always been fascinated with computers since he was young. He took up Computer Science at Tufts University to further his knowledge about technology, and upon graduation, he worked for a subsidiary of Apple Computer – He was actually one of the developers of the Macintosh. But in 1991, he took his knowledge in computers to create Ink Development Corp. with some of his friends. At this company, he was able to create the prelude to eBay, eShop. After a few years, eShop was sold to Microsoft, but Omidyar still wanted to pursue his interest in online commerce.

Love and business arrived simultaneously in Omidyar’s life. Upon marrying his wife, Pamela Wesley, he was able to create a simple prototype that allowed users to establish an online venue for direct person-to-person auction of items. He launched the online service in 1995 and called it Auction Web. The response of buyers to the items sold on the site astonished Omidyar and pushed him even more to develop the service. When the business exploded, the budding tech entrepreneur realized that he had a potential enterprise.

In 1997, the world’s online market place, eBay, was officially launched. Omidyar advertised his service aggressively and has served as Chairman of the Board since its inception. He was originally the Chief Financial Officer, President and CEO, but later relinquished these positions as the workload increased. A year later, eBay’s worth shot up to $47 million and had more than a million registered users.

Omidyar was just an aspiring programmer who became a billionaire overnight through eBay. His story serves as a reminder to innovators that an idea, once pursued, can become a potential pot of gold.

Rags to riches stories, like that of Darren T. Kimura, never fails to amaze and inspire people.

To say he had to work his way through high school and college is an understatement. Kimura did not only handle one job, he handled three jobs while studying. Exposed to hard work early in life, the entrepreneur developed a strong work ethic. He saw work as part of living and as a means to survive.

After graduating from college, Kimura decided to go into business. But he also realized that he had to start making major changes in his character and personality to be taken seriously in such an austere industry. Off went the surfboard and earrings, and in came a more professional image. He started to act and speak the part, but he still had to walk the walk.

Using credit cards for financing, Kimura started his first business in the oddest of places — the back seat of his car. He called his business Energy Industries, a company focused on efficiency and renewable energy solutions. It may sound like a good idea today, but riding the green wave fourteen years ago was unheard of. It took the budding entrepreneur a lot of persistence and hard work before he finally made it big.

Over time, many commercial and industrial clients saw the efficiency of Kimura’s services — which aim to reduce energy consumption. Finally, Kimura’s hard work paid off as he now earns millions by offering eco-friendly alternatives. The business makes about fifty million dollars per year, but the innovative entrepreneur would like to see it reach the two hundred million dollar mark. From one employee, the company now operates with ninety dedicated workers in offices found across the United States.

His drive is relentless, his innovation unparalleled. With these traits, there is no doubt that Kimura can achieve anything he sets his mind to.

Former talk show host and media mogul, Oprah had a coveted “favorite things” list, where she featured products she felt were noteworthy or that would make a great gift. Most small business owners could only dream of earning a spot on that list, but for Jon Bresler, owner of high-end candle and soap company, Lafco, the honor and recognition did not only come once, but twice.

During Oprah’s final season, Lafco’s House and Home Candle Collection was featured in her list of “ultimate favorite things.” The experience has been a dream-come-true for Bresler, who is formerly a litigation lawyer who moved to Switzerland to work for a pharmaceutical company. The idea for coming up with his own business came after he encountered a Just Lady in 1995 (similar to an Avon Lady), selling aromatherapy oils and candles. In that instance he decided to create his own candle company. Inspired by Europe’s artisanal soap making, he used a design-forward bath and body concept.

Bresler first got lucky back in 2007, when Oprah featured their Claus Porto soaps. After this feature, their sales went astronomical, selling $1 million worth of products in just 30 days. According to the entrepreneur, there were times he wished it didn’t happen because they were seriously unprepared. Some orders were shipped late while others ended up at the wrong mailbox, and Bresler worried that complaints might reach Oprah.

But last year, he received the best news yet when Oprah contacted him yet again for her “ultimate favorite things” list. This time, they were given months to prepare, but they had to do it in secret. They were part of a big surprise for Oprah’s audience, but nobody was even more surprised than Bresler.

From being a stiff lawyer to one of Oprah’s favorites, Bresler and his products will be the subject of talk for many more years to come.

Kevin Rose is said to be one of the most famous men on the internet. As the founder of Digg, he took the back seat and gave the wheel to friend and business partner Jay Adelson, who served as the CEO until last year. Despite working behind the scenes for a long period of time, Rose still managed to rise up to fame. How did he do it?

As a 31-year-old budding Internet-age media mogul, Rose can certainly pull in a crowd. He is the host of an online television show called Diggnation, which is produced by Revision3 – a company he co-founded in 2005. Coincidentally, Revision3 was largely influenced by Digg.com, a popular website which is also another one of Rose’s brainchild.

To say that Rose is a well-known figure in the tech industry is an understatement.

Kevin RoseRose owes most of his popularity to Digg, which is described as a social search engine that provides news and other current information. Its visitors, mostly male, can write their own headline and teasers as they submit links to newsworthy items – may it be from blog postings, newspaper articles, or videos. These stories are posted to the site and put to a vote, and the one with the most number of “diggs” will be granted a prime spot on the homepage. The “digg effect” can bring traffic to the website that posted original content so effectively that others even assert the possibility of a server overload.

The creator of this ingenious site has reaped the benefits of his innovation. Sales from Google ads and a partnership with Federated Media for ad sales all made Kevin Rose a very wealthy man. When Adelson stepped down as the CEO, Rose finally took control of his own company, but recently scaled back on Digg duties to focus his effort in a new direction.

A lot more can be expected from this successful tech entrepreneur in the years to come.

One of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution, Bill Gates is a person familiar to us all. Most people grew up using his innovations that introduced modern man to the digital age, such as computer software and operating systems. As the current chairman, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, Gates has indirectly touched the lives of many people all over the world.

But before we look into his career, let us first look back on how Gates was raised. He was born William Henry Gates III in October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. His father was a prominent lawyer, while his mother was a member of the board of directors First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way. Being raised in an upper middleclass setting gave Gates all the necessary resources he needed to hone his naturally brilliant mind.

Bill Gates

photo credit: Tristan Nitot

Gates took an interest in software programming at the young age of 13. That was during the late 1960s, when the concept of personal computers had yet to become a reality. Gates, however, was a few years away from making this possible.

Right before graduating from Harvard in 1975, Gates decided to leave school to form the company that ultimately changed his life and the world forever. The personal computer market has finally emerged, and Gates saw an opportunity to become part of it. Together with Allen, Gates developed a computer operating system. They sold their software through killer business deals; one of their very first clients was IBM. Eight years after its inception, Microsoft Corporation formally announced Microsoft Windows, the future of operating system.

Gates’ career skyrocketed after that. Today, he is Forbes’ second richest billionaire in America, behind his friend Warren Buffet. He works like no other, taking advantage of the latest innovations in digital work style to increase productivity. Despite his wealth and obviously successful career, Gates remains grounded and ever-supportive to various humanitarian causes.

A business magnate, entrepreneur, investor, innovator and philanthropist, Bill Gates is one of the most noteworthy people across various industries.

As the Vice President of Outsourcing Services for Cameo Corporate Services Limited, a position he has held since 2005, Ashok Bagdy provides strategic oversight and maintains responsibility for the company’s annual budget. Mr. Bagdy possesses a long history of entrepreneurship and business leadership, and he has enhanced the success rate of Cameo by implementing speech recognition (iChart, M-Modal & eScription). More than 75 percent of the company’s volume now involves this technology.

Prior to this role, Ashok Bagdy accepted the position of Director of Business Development with Copytalk, a transcription and digital dictation company based in Sarasota, Florida. In this executive position, Mr. Bagdy helped expand the company by initiating professional relationships with premier transcription firms in the Philippines and in India. His duties at Copytalk included developing the company’s services in the United States and networking with resellers and corporate clients’ senior management.

Ashok Bagdy also served as the Director of Business Development for YouKnowBest.com, a website for which he developed sales and marketing strategies. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Bagdy held professional responsibility for overseeing all business operations, managing risk for customers, and creating a customer base of the best fabric companies in the country. Ashok Bagdy travelled at length to develop a comprehensive catalogue of these fabric companies.

Early in his career, Ashok Bagdy spent two years as a Principal of the Bagdy Group, a role in which he developed new client relationships and helped the company grow its revenue by 100 percent. Much of Ashok Bagdy’s responsibility at the Bagdy Group included new business development and general management. Throughout his career as an executive, whether for startups or large, multinational companies, Ashok Bagdy has provided sound management and development opportunities for his employers.

Ruth Wakefield’s sweet story is a true lesson in ingenuity. After studying to become a dietician and food lecturer, Wakefield and her husband bought an inn between Boston and New Bedford in Massachusetts, which they named the Toll House Inn. She planned the inn’s menus, and baked for its guests. Wakefield was continually altering and improving her recipes, and as a result, her desserts became quite famous throughout New England.

toll house cookies

photo credit: slgckgc

While preparing a batch of her famous Butter Drop Do cookies one day, she realized she was out of baking chocolate. So she substituted a cut-up bar of semisweet chocolate that had been given to her by Andrew Nestle, figuring that the chunks would melt into the batter as the cookies baked. She was surprised to find they didn’t melt when she pulled the cookies from the oven, but the resulting treats were still delicious in their own right. The Toll House chocolate chip cookies soon became very popular throughout the area. The recipe even appeared in a Boston newspaper. Nestle saw an increase in the sale of his semisweet chocolate bars, and eventually introduced semisweet chocolate morsels, making it even easier to bake chocolate chip cookies with his chocolate.

Wakefield and Nestle eventually struck a deal that allowed Nestle to print the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate morsels. In exchange, Wakefield got free chocolate for the rest of her life. If it wasn’t for Wakefield’s resourcefulness and creativity, the world might have missed out on her delicious chocolate chip cookies.