Ed and I discussed four legendary individuals in our second installment of Entrepreneur Heaven: Steve Jobs, Thomas Watson, Sr., Charles Revson, and Mary Kay Ash. We also answered a listener question.
Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
In 1975, Jobs sold his VW microbus and Wozniak his scientific calculator, raised $1300.
Steve Jobs 7 Principles of innovation
- Do what you love
- Put a dent in the universe
- Kick-start your brain (creativity = connection)
- Sell dreams, not products
- Say no to 1,000 things—I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do
- Create insanely great experiences
- Master the message—story telling (“You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog shit for frosting”)
- "Customers don’t innovate; they iterate."
- “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
- Apple Store NYC (opened 2001): Sales: $4,032/sq. ft vs. Tiffany’s $2600.
- Retail consultant David Goldstein: “I give them two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake.”
- “Commentary: Sorry, Steve: Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work,” BusinessWeek, May 21, 2001
- Made sense on spreadsheet; but emotional experiences are not well captured on Excel spreadsheets.
- Jobs benchmarked Four Seasons hotel for the store! Genius bar, concierge, etc.
- Stanford University, “You’ve Got to Find What You Love” June 14, 2005
- Oral History Interview with Steve Jobs, Smithsonian Institution, April 20, 1995
Thomas Watson (1874-1956)
See Richard S. Tedlow’s book, Giants of Enterprise: Seven Business Innovators and the Empires They Built.
Also, The Book of Entrepreneurs’ Wisdom: Classic Writings by Legendary Entrepreneurs, edited by Peter Krass.
Charles Revson (1906-1975)
“The reason women by cosmetics is because they buy hope.”
Born Somerville, MA in 1906, father was a cigar roller.
No formal education, tough childhood, parents both Russian-born Jews (Revson = rabbi’s son).
With brother Joseph and Charles Lachman, formed Revlon, March 1, 1932 (Charles was 25)
Used to recall products based on just a complaint or two.
Did not want to compete on price, and he knew his company was not efficient!
Fashion accessory, not a beauty aid (selling turn of a head, touch of class).
Different shades for different outfits, moods, occasions.
Great admirer of GM—brand for each purpose and purse.
Fire and Ice: incredibly successful advertising campaign.
Mary Kay Ash (1918-2001)
Mary Kay Ash authored three books:
1 May 2015
I've been listening to you guys for a few months now. I came across Ron Baker's work in a workshop I did called "Law Firms of the Future". I Realised now that the facilitator has ripped off most of the content, but it was valuable. I've tried introducing a version of value billing to my law firm. I bought it as a sole practice 2 years ago. I now have one employee solicitor who has complete autonomy (except that I pay his professional indemnity insurance, so he won't really have full responsibility for his mistakes). What I really hope is that Ron is wrong when he says that economy of scale doesn't apply to a law firm. I hope it applies up to a point, say maybe 5 to 10 solicitors, which I hope to have? I'm still struggling with the old fashioned business model for law firms though, and am trying to think of a way to introduce some subscription service or retainer system for the ordinary mum and dad client. Love to hear a brief comment on this in one of your Free Rider Fridays.
Jacqui: There is a difference between leverage and economies of scale. I think at the level you are shooting for (5-10 employees), leverage can add to profitability.
For a study of this very issue, albeit done on accounting firms, check out this wonderful whitepaper by our friend Ric Payne: The Performance Characteristics of Accounting Firms that are Sending Their Owners Home with at Least $1 Million.