Just like our history’s empires, businesses rise and fall as the times change. Likewise, some remain at the top for ages, while others fizzle out within a couple of years. The key to long-term sustained success is through great leadership. A great business leader can motivate others, have a clear vision others can believe in, and can lead innovation within an organization. When companies have great leaders taking the reins, investors, consumers, and employees are all going to want to buy in. In this article, we discuss seven business leaders who completely changed the world we live in today.
1. Elon Musk
Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1971. In his early 20s, he came to the United States, where he studied Economics and Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. Shortly after he graduated in 1997, he co-founded X.com, which would later become PayPal. In 2001, eBay bought PayPal. Musk was the largest stakeholder in the company at the time, with stocks worth over 1.5 billion. And today, PayPal is one of the largest online payment platforms on the planet.
In the same year he sold PayPal, Musk founded SpaceX, with the mission to get to Mars and make space travel more affordable. And in 2003, Musk founded Tesla Motors, with the core focus to become the first mass-producers of electric vehicles. SpaceX’s signature Falcon 9 Rocket has already begun missions for the company. As for Tesla, the company currently stands as the most well-known electric vehicle brand in the world. If Elon Musk has proved anything, it is that he has the knowledge and vision to push the boundaries of modern technology.
2. Bill Gates
A Harvard dropout, Bill Gates is best known for being the founder of Microsoft, which currently stands as the largest PC software corporation in the world. PC is easily one of the most recognizable computer and laptop brands. Since he founded Microsoft, Bill Gates has consistently ranked near the top of the list of the world’s wealthiest people and was even the richest man on the planet for quite some time. In his later years, Bill Gates has transitioned away from his business to pursue philanthropic endeavours. He and his wife co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where they are both working tirelessly to provide sanitation and clean water to third-world countries. And upon his death, Bill Gates wishes to donate the vast majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes.
3. Jeff Bezos
Formally the person to take Bill Gates spot as the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos is best known for being the founder of the international mega-corporation Amazon. Although Amazon is currently the largest company in the world today, the company has incredibly humble beginnings. In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in his garage. What started as a simple online bookstore quickly morphed into an eCommerce powerhouse. Today, Amazon ships to over 50 countries and distributes millions of unique products every day. Although the company started small, Jeff Bezos had the vision and passion to revolution the eCommerce industry and grow his business into the largest corporation on the planet.
4. Larry Page and Sergey Brin
It is only appropriate to list the next two on our list in tandem. While PhD students at Stanford University, both men were working on something that has probably had a more profound impact on society than any other person on our list. In 1998, they launched Google, a rather rudimentary search engine that would soon change the entire internet landscape. As the search engine grew, it became more powerful and accurate. Pretty soon, “just Google it” became a common phrase, as people knew they could find practically anything through the search engine. Today, Google has over 3.5 billion searches every day. To put that number into perspective, Google accounts for over 92% of all searches conducted on the internet. Both Brin and Page had incredible intuition to understand the true power of what they were creating, and how it would completely research the internet and society.
5. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, who is best known as the founder of Apple, is considered one of the most influential entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders who changed the world through his technology. Now, he did not necessarily invent the wheel. However, he surely reinvented it by making the computer more exciting and accessible than ever before. During his tenure at Apple, he revolutionized three industries: mobile phones, personal computing, and music. However, even more profoundly, he changed the way we read, play, listen to music, work, and live. Apple’s smart devices changed the game and set the stage for the mobile boom we experienced in the 2000s. And today, Apple remains a premier factor in the electronic and technology industry.
6. Travis Kalanick
Travis Kalanick is best known as the founder of Uber. He founded the company in 2009. Before Uber, the best way to hail a ride was through a taxi cab service. However, through Uber, you could hail nearby drivers from the convenience of your smartphone. Uber transformed the way individuals travelled from place to place. And shortly after, other technology companies emerged that offered the same service, such as Lyft. Today, Uber is the leader in the personal travel services, putting a substantial strain on the taxicab industry. Kalannick’s service proves once again that people prefer the convenience of technology over traditional and outdated methods.
7. Warren Buffet
Considered the “Oracle of Ohama,” Buffet is one of the most successful business investors of all time. He is best known as the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational holding company that handles billions of dollars worth of stocks every year. Buffett’s uncanny intuition of the financial market produced astounding amounts of wealth for him and his colleagues. Buffett consistently ranks near the top of the wealthiest people in the world list. Likewise, many top financial holders try to emulate Buffett’s expertise and approach to stocks and trading, as he is considered the all-time best in the field. Interestingly, like Bill Gates, Buffett has pledged to donate the vast majority of his wealth after his death.