- Sometimes it’s hard to picture what business leaders were like before they became successful.
- We dug up old photos of famous business executives, to give a taste of who they once were.
- Tesla founder Elon Musk once chose to live off a dollar a day, just eating hot dogs and oranges, to see if he could stomach life as an entrepreneur. Twitter boss Jack Dorsey was obsessed with emergency service vehicle dispatch as a kid meanwhile.
- Scroll down to read early stories of these famous business executives.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
Young Jeff Bezos
When Jeff Bezos was 16 years old in 1980, he got a summer job frying up burgers at McDonald’s.
The experience was Bezos’ first hands-on brush with retail,according to Wired, and he spent the summer “studying the company’s automation improvements,” like beeps and signals for when to “scramble his eggs, flip his burgers, and pull his fries out of the boiling vat.”
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
Young Mark Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg, who launched Facebook when he was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard, showed his talents in internet technology at a young age.
At 12 years old, he set up his first network, ZuckNet, where messages and files could be shared between the house and his father’s dental office, according to The New Yorker.
Source: The New Yorker
Tim Cook, Apple CEO
Young Tim Cook
Tim Cook once complained his high school chemistry teacher was a slacker, Cook’s hometown newspaper, the Mobile Press-Register wrote.
Cook, and Teresa Prochaska Huntsman, who together got the two highest grades in their Class of 1978, went to their counselor, asking to be placed in a tougher class over concerns that they weren’t “learning enough” from their chemistry teacher, the report said.
Source: Mobile Press-Register
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO
Young Elon Musk
Musk chose to live off a dollar a day as a teenager, just eating hotdogs and oranges, he told astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in an episode of Tyson’s StarTalk Radio podcast in 2015.
It wasn’t the result of poverty or some charitable movement, but an experiment to see if he had what it takes to lead a life as an entrepreneur, he said.
Sergey Brin, Google co-founder; Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO of Google parent Alphabet
Young Sergey Brin and Larry Page
Google founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin didn’t like each other when they first met.
Page met Brin in 1995 when he visited Stanford for a tour of its campus as a prospective student for its doctoral program in computer science. Brin was a volunteer guide for first-year students at that time.
“Sergey is pretty social; he likes meeting people,” Page told Wired in 2005. “I thought he was pretty obnoxious. He had really strong opinions about things, and I guess I did, too.”
“By some accounts, they disagreed about nearly everything during that first meeting, but by the following year they struck a partnership,” Google wrote on its website.
Source: Google website, Wired
Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM
Young Ginni Rometty
Rometty had a difficult childhood. Her father left her family when she was young. Being the eldest of four children, she also had to take on the role of matriarch often when her mother was out working late nights.
“I learned from my mum: Do not let someone else redefine you,” Rometty told CNBC in 2017.
“My mum really, without a college degree, went back to school [and] showed us, ‘Hey, this is not going to end like that, and every one of you are going to have a chance.'”
She said she applied that lesson to her company to make IBM stand out amid competition and always keep up with the latest trends in tech.
Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO
Young Jamie Dimon
Dimon’s siblings describe him as an extremely confident individual who goes after what he wants, and say his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in early as he was already selling greeting cards at the age of six, according to MoneyInc.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO
Young Satya Nadella
Nadella had been at Microsoft for around a year when he pitched developers on using Excel with Microsoft Visual Basic to make new work apps for the Windows NT operating system at DevCast, a satellite-broadcast telethon event held by Microsoft.
Source: Business Insider
Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO
Young Jack Dorsey
Dorsey was obsessed with emergency service vehicle dispatch as a kid. He once told the CBS program “60 Minutes” that he was fascinated with the voices on the police scanner.
“They’re always talking about where they’re going, what they’re doing and where they currently are and that is where the idea for Twitter came,” Dorsey said.
Brian Moynihan, Bank of America CEO
Young Brian Moynihan
Brian Moynihan flirted with football his freshman year at Brown before switching to rugby. He said his leadership on the field has transferred to his leadership at Bank of America in an interview with The Brown Daily Herald in 2010.
“The lessons of leadership do transfer – how to motivate people, how to try to get people to do more than a team can do apart,” he said
“You can only win in rugby if you play as a team. I mean, every person has to carry the ball, every person has to tackle, every person has to pass the ball, so you have to work as a team.”
Source: The Brown Daily Herald
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO
Young Sheryl Sandberg
At Harvard, Sandberg co-founded a group called Women in Economics and Government. The group supported women to pursue careers that were stereotypically “male” at the time like governance and economics, according to The New Yorker.
Source: The New Yorker
Jack Ma, Alibaba cofounder and executive chairman
Young Jack Ma
Jack Ma grew up poor in communist China, failed his university-entrance exam twice, and was rejected from dozens of jobs, including one at KFC.
He had no experience with computers or coding, but he was captivated by the internet when he used it for the first time during a trip to the US in 1995. Ma’s first online search was “beer,” but he was surprised to find that no Chinese beers turned up in the results. It was then that he decided to found an internet company for China.
Source: Business Insider
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