Monthly Archives: October 2014

Salim Ali 1896 – 1987

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Salim Ali  1896 – 1987    Salim Ali  1896 – 1987

India: World Famous Ornitholgist

Sálim Moizuddin Abdul Ali (12 November 1896 – 20 June 1987) was an Indian ornithologist and naturalist. Sometimes referred to as the “birdman of India”, Salim Ali was among the first Indians to conduct systematic bird surveys across India and his bird books helped develop ornithology. He became the key figure behind the Bombay Natural History Society after 1947 and used his personal influence to garner government support for the organisation, create the Bharatpur bird sanctuary (Keoladeo National Park) and prevent the destruction of what is now the Silent Valley National Park. He was awarded India’s second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan in 1976.

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W.K. Kellogg 1860-1951

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Will_Keith_Kellogg_       W.K. Kellogg 1860-1951

Before it graced American breakfast tables, W.K. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal was served as a fiber- rich health food at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a holistic healing facility in western Michigan. While Kellogg created the first toasted wheat flake cereal, his entrepreneurial strength lay in his marketing and advertising prowess. Despite copycat cereals popping up in the marketplace (C.W. Post launched his own cereal company after staying at the sanitarium), Kellogg differentiated his product with a clever slogan: “Beware of imitations. None Genuine Without This Signature, W.K. Kellogg.”

Quote: “Don’t let anybody copy your process.” (Referring to C. W. Post)

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Walt Disney 1901-1966

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Walt_Disney_1946      Walt Disney 1901-1966

Walter Elias “Walt” Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American business magnate, cartoonist, filmmaker, philanthropist, and voice actor. As a prominent figure within the American animation industry and throughout the world, he is regarded as a cultural icon, known for his influence and contributions to entertainment during the 20th century. As a Hollywood business mogul, he and his brother Roy O. Disney co-founded The Walt Disney Company.

As an animator and entrepreneur, Disney was particularly noted as a filmmaker and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. He and his staff created various fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Disney himself was the original voice for Mickey. During his lifetime, he received four honorary Academy Awards and won 22 Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations, including a record of four in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual in history. Disney also won seven Emmy Awards and gave his name to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the U.S., as well as the international resorts, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

He died on December 15, 1966, from lung cancer in Burbank, California. He left behind a vast legacy, including numerous animated shorts and feature films produced during his lifetime; the company, parks, and animation studio that bear his name; and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

Quote: “All dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

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William Becker 1921-2007 Paul Greene 1914-1994

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William Becker 1921-2007 Paul Greene 1914-1994

William Becker 1921-2007

Paul Greene 1914-1994

They weren’t the first to create no-frills lodging, but William Becker and Paul Greene reinvented the budget hotel in 1962 when they opened their first Motel 6 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Their predecessors, Best Western and Holiday Inn, wanted to sidestep the proletarian image of “motor” or “highway hotels” and build more-upscale properties. But Becker and Greene were low-cost housing developers who, during their own family road trips, recognized the need for affordable family lodging with uniform price and uniform quality. The price? Six dollars a night, no matter the location.

William Walter Becker (May 18, 1921 – April 2, 2007) was an American hotelier. He is best known for creating the Motel 6 concept of inexpensive motel rooms.

Born in Pasadena, California, he was working as a house painter in Santa Barbara, California when he took a trip in 1960. The price and quality of the motel rooms were substandard, and he contacted a building contractor friend named Paul Green about building low-cost hotels. The first Motel 6 opened in Santa Barbara in 1962 and offered rooms for $6. They sold the chain of 180 motels in 1968 for $14 million.

He then bought a cattle ranch in 1970 and in 1980 started the Stockmen’s Bank, which was purchased in 2007 by National Bank of Arizona.

Becker died of an heart attack at his ranch outside Kingman, Arizona.

Quote: “Simple accommodations needed by travelers with families may cause a revolution in the west, and we feel it has a great future.” (William Becker)

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William S. Harley 1880-1943 Arthur Davidson 1881-1950

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William S. Harley     Arthur Davidson

William S. Harley 1880-1943   Arthur Davidson 1881-1950

William S. Harley was 21 in 1901 when he drew up plans for an engine to fit onto a bicycle. He and friend Arthur Davidson worked for two years on that 7.07-cubic-inch engine, along with Davidson’s brothers Walter and William, only to find the engine wasn’t powerful to get the bike over the hills in their native Milwaukee. But that didn’t deter them. By 1904, they had a working bike; by 1906, a little factory producing 50 motorcycles. Steady growth and innovation followed–as did competition from companies seeking to emulate Harley-Davidson’s success. Harley earned his mechanical engineering degree, while Davidson honed his sales and marketing skills and started a service school to train certified mechanics. Harley-Davidson went into combat in both world wars and was one of just two motorcycle manufacturers to come out of the Great Depression. It’s the only U.S.-made motorcycle today, with $6.14 billion in sales in 2007. Harley enthusiasts also pay for the brand and the attitude (what other brand would someone tattoo on their body); licensing of the logo accounts for about 5 percent of net revenue.

Harley, William S. (29 Dec. 1880-18 Sept. 1943), and Arthur Davidson (11 Feb. 1881-30 Dec. 1950), entrepreneurs and founders of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, were both born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A year apart in age, they were close friends from their earliest youth and grew up living next door to each other on Ninth Street in Milwaukee. Bill Harley, as he was known, was born William Sylvester Harley, the son of William Harley, a railroad engineer who had immigrated from England, and Mary Smith. Bill attended school locally and at the age of fifteen started working for the Meiselbach Manufacturing Company, makers of one of the more expensive bicycles of the period. As a “cycle fitter” he worked in all aspects of their construction. Around 1901 he took a job at the Barth Manufacturing Company, a metal fabricating company, along with his pal Arthur. An earnest and ambitious worker, Bill Harley enrolled in the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1903, the first member of his family to attend college. Financing his studies with a job as a part-time waiter, he took a degree in mechanical engineering, with honors, in 1907. In 1910 he married Anna Caroline Jachthuber; the couple had three children.

Arthur Davidson was the son of William C. Davidson, a Scottish-born carpenter and cabinetmaker employed by the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad, and Margaret Adams McFarlane. He attended the same local schools as Harley until he was fifteen years old. He left the Barth company together with Harley after a short time, and they both took jobs with Pawling and Harnischfeger, a prominent Milwaukee manufacturer of mining equipment; Davidson started as an apprentice patternmaker, and Harley became an apprentice draftsman. During the summer of 1902 Davidson visited his grandmother at her farm in Cambridge, Wisconsin, and there met Ole Evinrude (1877-1934), the Norwegian-born machinist who later invented the first commercially successful outboard motor. As fellow fishing enthusiasts the two worked together on a motor that they hoped would power their rowboat. They briefly ran a small patternmaking company together and remained friends for the rest of Evinrude’s life. Around 1907 Davidson married Clara Beisel; the couple had three children.

Harley and Davidson spent their spare time together fishing, bicycling, and tinkering with machinery in the Davidson family basement. Their most serious project was a “motorized bicycle,” and by 1901 they had drawn up plans for a single-cylinder motorcycle that seemed workable, but they had not been able to assemble one. In 1902 Davidson wrote to his older brother Walter (1876-1942), a machinist working for the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway in Kansas, describing their efforts. On a visit home to Milwaukee to attend a family wedding, Walter joined the two friends in the basement and became so intrigued by the project that he quit his job in Kansas, moved into the family home in Milwaukee, and joined his father and brother William at the railroad company where they worked.

With Bill Harley as the draftsman, Arthur Davidson as the patternmaker, and Walter Davidson as the mechanic, the trio assembled the first functional Harley-Davidson motorcycle in 1903. That year the newly formed Harley-Davidson Motor Company produced three “motor-bicycles.” According to the author Randy Leffingwell, “The bike was named in that order because it had been Bill Harley’s initial idea and he had done most of the prototype testing”. In 1904 the Davidsons’ father showed his faith in their project by building their first factory, a ten-by-fifteen-foot wooden shed behind the family home, and that year the company sold its first Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The next year Walter quit his job with the railroad company and became the company’s first full-time employee.

In 1907 the oldest Davidson brother, William (1870-1937), left his job as a toolmaker at Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad and joined them. That year the Harley-Davidson Motor Company was incorporated; Walter Davidson was made president, Arthur Davidson became secretary and general sales manager, Bill Harley was chief engineer and treasurer, and William A. Davidson served as works manager. In 1936 six sons of the four founders were employed at the plant, and the direction of the company remained consistently in the hands of the two families that had created it until it was sold to American Machine and Foundry in 1969. Arthur Davidson showed the warmth of the relationship between the two families by naming his son Arthur Harley Davidson but declined to include him in the business because “there were too many sons of the founders already working at the factory” .

William S. Harley was an avid and highly skilled racer with a passion for testing new bikes. Of all the partners, he was the most inventive; at his death he held ninety patents in his own name, from a 1910 motorcycle stand to a 1939 motorcycle piston. A shrewd businessman, he oversaw the deals between the company and the U.S. War Department for sales of twenty thousand cycles during World War I and more than ninety thousand during World War II. His youthful devotion to hunting and fishing lasted until his death in Milwaukee, and in his later years he became devoted to wildlife photography and sketching.

Arthur Davidson, a natural salesman, was instrumental in establishing Harley-Davidson dealerships nationally and internationally. An indefatigable worker, he never retired, but from the mid-1940s he devoted an increasing amount of his time and attention to raising prize Guernsey cows on his farm west of Milwaukee. He was also active in philanthropy, supporting the Boy Scouts and a Wisconsin home for the blind. He and his wife died in an auto accident in Waukesha, about twenty miles from Milwaukee.

William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson were models of American entrepreneurship whose iconic product inspired a community of fanatical owners worldwide. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle became an American legend and a symbol of the country’s culture. Both of its original founders were inducted in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

Quote: “life offers few guarantees, but generally the harder and longer you work, the more likely you will succeed.”

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Thomas Alva Edison 1847-1931

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Thomas_Edison        Thomas Alva Edison 1847-1931

He gave us the light bulb, the phonograph, motion picture projector and more than 1,300 other patented inventions, but Thomas Alva Edison is considered one of history’s greatest entrepreneurs for his ability to develop the profit potential of his creations. He was the first professional inventor who used the profits from his creations to fund further research and development, eventually establishing his R&D facility at Menlo Park, N.J.

Quote: “ I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

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Steve Jobs b. 1955

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Steve Jobs     Steve Jobs b. 1955

Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American entrepreneur, marketer, and inventor, who was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he is widely recognized as a charismatic and design-driven pioneer of the personal computer revolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields, transforming “one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies.” Jobs also co-founded and served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, when Disney acquired Pixar. Jobs was among the first to see the commercial potential of Xerox PARC’s mouse-driven graphical user interface, which led to the creation of the Apple Lisa and, a year later, the Macintosh. He also played a role in introducing the LaserWriter, one of the first widely available laser printers, to the market.

After a power struggle with the board of directors in 1985, Jobs left Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets. In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm, which was spun off as Pixar. He was credited in Toy Story (1995) as an executive producer. He served as CEO and majority shareholder until Disney’s purchase of Pixar in 2006. In 1996, after Apple had failed to deliver its operating system, Copland, Gil Amelio turned to NeXT Computer, and the NeXTSTEP platform became the foundation for the Mac OS X. Jobs returned to Apple as an advisor, and took control of the company as an interim CEO. Jobs brought Apple from near bankruptcy to profitability by 1998.

As the new CEO of the company, Jobs oversaw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, and on the services side, the company’s Apple Retail Stores, iTunes Store and the App Store. The success of these products and services provided several years of stable financial returns, and propelled Apple to become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in 2011. The reinvigoration of the company is regarded by many commentators as one of the greatest turnarounds in business history.

In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreas neuroendocrine tumor. Though it was initially treated, he reported a hormone imbalance, underwent a liver transplant in 2009, and appeared progressively thinner as his health declined. On medical leave for most of 2011, Jobs resigned in August that year, and was elected Chairman of the Board. He died of respiratory arrest related to the tumor on October 5, 2011.

Jobs received a number of honors and public recognition for his influence in the technology and music industries. He has been referred to as “legendary”, a “futurist” and a “visionary”, and has been described as the “Father of the Digital Revolution,” a “master of innovation,” “the master evangelist of the digital age” and a “design perfectionist.”

Quote: ” Half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance. Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

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Sam Walton 1918-1992

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SamWalton  Sam Walton 1918-1992

There’s no denying the entrepreneurial significance of Sam Walton’s Wal-Mart on American society. Sure, Wal-Mart has become the punching bag for what’s wrong with American big business, but Walton wasn’t alone when he opened his first discount retail store in 1962. That same year, with the launch of Kmart, Woolco ant Target, the nation moved away from mom-and-pop shops to big box retailers.

Samuel Moore “Sam” Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992) was an American businessman and entrepreneur born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, best known for founding the retailers Walmart and Sam’s Club.

Sam Walton was born to Thomas Gibson Walton and Nancy Lee, in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. There, he lived with his parents on their farm until 1923. Sam’s father decided farming did not generate enough income on which to raise a family and decided to go back to a previous profession of farm mortgaging, working for his brother’s Walton Mortgage Company, which served as an agent for Metropolitan Life Insurance where he repossessed farms during the Great Depression.

He and his family (now with another son, James, born in 1921) moved from Oklahoma to Orlando, Florida. There they moved from one small town to another for several years. While attending eighth grade in Shelbina, Missouri, Sam became the youngest Eagle Scout in the state’s history. In adult life, Walton became a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.

Eventually the family moved to Columbia, Missouri. Growing up during the Great Depression, Walton had numerous chores to help make financial ends meet for his family as was common at the time. He milked the family cow, bottled the surplus, and drove it to customers. Afterwards, he would deliver Columbia Daily Tribune newspapers on a paper route. In addition, he also sold magazine subscriptions. Upon graduating from David H. Hickman High School in Columbia, he was voted “Most Versatile Boy”.

After high school, Walton decided to attend college, hoping to find a better way to help support his family. He attended the University of Missouri as an ROTC cadet. During this time, he worked various odd jobs, including waiting tables in exchange for meals. Also during his time in college, Walton joined the Zeta Phi chapter of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He was also tapped by QEBH, the well-known secret society on campus honoring the top senior men, and the national military honor society Scabbard and Blade. Additionally, Walton served as President of Burall Bible Class, a large class of students from the University of Missouri and Stephens College. Upon graduating in 1940 with a Bachelor’s of Economics, he was voted “permanent president” of the class.

Walton joined J.C. Penney as a management trainee in Des Moines, Iowa three days after graduating from college. This position paid him $75 a month. Walton spent approximately eighteen months with J.C. Penney. He resigned in 1942 in anticipation of being inducted into the military for service in World War II. In the meantime, he worked at a DuPont munitions plant near Tulsa, Oklahoma. Soon afterwards, Walton joined the military in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps, supervising security at aircraft plants and prisoner of war camps. In this position he served at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah. He eventually reached the rank of Captain.

Quote: “Don’t sequester yourself in a tower or create an isolated bubble of yes-people. Get out there and do some of the jobs that bring you into direct contact with your customers and front-line employees.”

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Steve Case b. 1958

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Steve Case     Steve Case b. 1958

Stephen McConnell “Steve” Case (born August 21, 1958) is an American businessman best known as the former chief executive officer and chairman of America Online (AOL). Since his retirement as chairman of AOL Time Warner in 2003, he has gone on to build a variety of new businesses through his investment company Revolution. In addition, he serves as chair of the Case Foundation run by his wife Jean Case. In early 2011, he was selected by President Barack Obama to serve as Chairman of the Startup America Partnership and named to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Steve Case is also a frequent guest on CNBC’s Squawk Box and appeared on August 24, 2011 to discuss his initiatives to spur high growth entrepreneurship and job creation on behalf of the Startup America Partnership and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Case was born and grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, the son of Carol (Holmes) and Daniel Hebard Case.[6] He graduated from the private Punahou School (Class of 1976) and attended Central Union Church.

Case graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1980 with a degree in political science. For the next two years he worked as an assistant brands manager at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1982 he joined Pizza Hut Inc. in Wichita, Kansas, serving as manager of new pizza marketing.

In January 1983, his older brother Dan, an investment banker, introduced him to Bill von Meister, CEO of Control Video Corporation. The company was marketing a service called Game Line for the Atari 2600 video game console that allowed users to download games via a phone line and modem. After that meeting, von Meister hired Case as a marketing consultant. Later that year, the company nearly went bankrupt and one of its investors, Frank Caufield, had his friend Jim Kimsey brought in as a manufacturing consultant. Case later joined the company as a full-time marketing employee.

In 1985 Quantum Computer Services, an online services company was founded by Jim Kimsey from the remnants of Control Video. Kimsey became CEO of the newly renamed Quantum Computer Services and hired Case as vice president of marketing. In 1987 he promoted him again to executive vice president. Kimsey groomed Case to become chairman and CEO when Kimsey retired, and the transition formally took place in 1991 (CEO) and 1995 (chairman).

As part of the changes that gave birth to Quantum, Case changed the company’s strategy, creating an online service called Quantum Link (Q-Link for short) for the Commodore 64 in 1985 with programmer (and AOL co-founder) Marc Seriff. In 1988, Quantum began offering the Apple Link online service for Apple and PC-Link for IBM compatible computers. In 1991 he changed the company name to America Online and merged the Apple and PC services under the AOL name; the new service reached 1 million subscribers by 1994, and Q-Link was terminated October 21 of that year.

AOL pioneered the concept of social media, as its focus from day one was on communication features such as chartrooms, instant messaging and forums. Case believed that the “killer app” was community — people interacting with each other — and that was the driver of much of AOL’s early success. By contrast, competitive services of the time such as Prodigy funded by IBM and Sears, focused on shopping and CompuServe focused on being an information utility. AOL’s strategy was to make online services available and accessible to the mass market by making them affordable, easy to use, useful and fun. At a time when competing services like CompuServe were charging for each minute of access (which varied based on modem speeds and added extra charges for premium services), beginning in 1996, AOL priced its service at $19.95 per month of unlimited use of basic tier services. Within three years, AOL’s user base grew to 10 million, ultimately reaching 26.7 million subscribers at its peak in 2002.

Among many initiatives in the early years of AOL, Case personally championed many innovative online interactive titles and games, including graphical chat environments Habitat (1986) and Club Caribe (1989), the first online interactive fiction series Quantum Link Serial by Tracy Reed (1988), Quantum Space, the first fully automated Play by email game (1989), and the original Dungeons & Dragons title Never winter Nights, the first Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) to depict the adventure with graphics instead of text (1991).

After a decade of quick growth, AOL merged with media giant Time Warner in 2001, creating one of the world’s largest media, entertainment and communications companies. The $164 billion acquisition was completed in January 2001 but quickly ran into trouble as part of the dot-com recession, compounded by accounting scandals. Case announced his resignation as chairman in January 2003, although he remained on the company’s board of directors for almost three more years.

The failure of the AOL-Time Warner merger is the subject of a book by Nina Munk entitled Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Unmaking of AOL Time Warner (2005). A photo of Case and Time Warner’s Jerry Levin embracing at the announcement of the merger appears on the cover.

In 2005, Case wrote in The Washington Post that “It’s now my view that it would be best to ‘undo’ the merger by splitting Time Warner into several independent companies and allowing AOL to set off on its own path.”

 Laura Bush announces a $60 million partnership between the U.S. Government and the Case Foundation at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York on September 20, 2006. With her, from left, are: Raymond Chambers, Chairman, MCJ and Amelier Foundations; former President Bill Clinton; and Jean Case and Steve Case.

Case resigned from the Time-Warner board of directors in October 2005, to spend more time working on Revolution LLC, a holding company he founded in April 2005. He remains (as of December 2005) one of Time-Warner’s largest individual shareholders. He is also chairman of the Case Foundation, which he and his wife Jean Case created in 1997. In 2011, Steve and Jean Case, were honored as Citizens of the Year by the National Conference on Citizenship and interviewed by Stephanie Strom of The New York Times about their record of service and philanthropic endeavors.

Case was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2011, he was appointed as a Citizen Regent of the Smithsonian Institution. Case serves as a co-chair of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center. In May 2014, Case received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Georgetown University.

Investments

Revolution holds majority stakes in several healthcare companies (including Revolution Health Group) and luxury travel firms (including Miraval and luxury destination club Exclusive Resorts, where Case serves as Chairman). In August 2005 it purchased a controlling interest in Flexcar, which merged with Zipcar in November 2007. It was also an early investor in Living Social.

On November 18, 2009 American Express announced plans to purchase Revolution Money, a division of Revolution LLC, for $300 Million.

In 2007 Case along with Ted Leonsis on February 27, 2007 joined in a $5.5-million investment in widget syndication specialist Clear spring Technologies.

Case controls tens of thousands of acres of land in Hawaii, including a controlling interest in Maui Land & Pineapple Company, and Grove Farm, obtained in a highly controversial transaction which led to years of litigation by the farm’s previous owners.

In May 2010 Hello wallet raised $3.6 million in Series A funding from Steve Case and his wife Jean (and Grotech Ventures).

Quote: “You have to get along with people, but you also have to recognize that the strength of a team is different people with different perspective and different personalities.”

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Ross Perot b 1930

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Ross Perot b 1930    Ross Perot b 1930

Henry Ross Perot (born June 27, 1930) is an American businessman best known for being an independent presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996. Perot founded Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in 1962, sold the company to General Motors in 1984, and founded Perot Systems in 1988. Perot Systems was bought by Dell for $3.9 billion in 2009.

With an estimated net worth of about US$3.5 billion in 2012, he is ranked by Forbes as the 134th-richest person in the United States.

Business

After he left the Navy in 1957, Perot became a salesman for International Business Machines. He quickly became a top employee (one year, he fulfilled his annual sales quota in a mere two weeks) and tried to pitch his ideas to supervisors who largely ignored him. He left IBM in 1962 to found Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Dallas, Texas, and courted large corporations for his data processing services. Perot was refused seventy-seven times before he was given his first contract. EDS received lucrative contracts from the U.S. government in the 1960s, computerizing Medicare records. EDS went public in 1968 and the stock price rose from $16 a share to $160 within days. Fortune called Perot the “fastest, richest Texan” in a 1968 cover story. In 1984 General Motors bought controlling interest in EDS for $2.4 billion.

In 1974 Perot gained some press attention for being “the biggest individual loser ever on the New York Stock Exchange” when his EDS shares dropped $450 million in value in a single day in April 1970.

Just prior to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the government of Iran imprisoned two EDS employees in a contract dispute. Perot organized and sponsored their rescue. The rescue team was led by retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Arthur D. “Bull” Simons. When the team was unable to find a way to extract their two prisoners, they decided to wait for a mob of pro-Ayatollah revolutionaries to storm the jail and free all 10,000 inmates, many of whom were political prisoners. The two prisoners then connected with the rescue team, and the team spirited them out of Iran via a risky border crossing into Turkey. The exploit was recounted in a book, On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett, which became a best-seller. In the 1986 miniseries, Perot was portrayed by Richard Crenna.

In 1984 Perot bought a very early copy of the Magna Carta, one of only a few to leave the United Kingdom. It was lent to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where it was displayed alongside the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. In 2007, it was sold by the Perot Foundation, in order to provide “for medical research, for improving public education and for assisting wounded soldiers and their families.” The document sold for US$21.3 million on December 18, 2007, to David Rubenstein, managing director of the Carlyle Group and kept on display at the National Archives.

As Steve Jobs lost the original power struggle at Apple and left to found Next, his angel investor was Perot who invested over 20 million dollars. Perot believed in Jobs and did not want to miss out, as he had with his chance to invest in Bill Gates’ fledgling Microsoft.

In 1988 he founded Perot Systems Corporation, Inc. in Plano, Texas. His son, Ross Perot, Jr., eventually succeeded him as CEO. In September 2009, Perot Systems was acquired by Dell for $3.9 billion.

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