David Ogilvy (1911 – 1999) was an advertising tycoon, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, and known as the father of advertising. Trained at the Gallup research organisation, he attributed the success of his campaigns to meticulous research into consumer habits.
His best-selling book ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man’ is one of the most popular and famous books on advertising, and there is a strong suspicion that Ogilvy is the inspiration for the suave creative director ‘Don Draper’ in the TV series ‘Mad Men.’read more »
Helmut Krone (1925 – 1996) was a pioneer of modern advertising. He spent over 30 years at the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach where he was the art director for the popular 1960s campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle, which featured a large unadorned photo of the car with the tiny word ‘Lemon’ underneath it. He was also responsible for the series of ‘When you’re only No. 2, you try harder’ advertisements for Avis, and the creation of Juan Valdez, who personified Colombian coffee. His work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. Krone’s ‘Think Small’ advertisement for Volkswagen was voted the best campaign of all time in Advertising Age’s 1999 ‘The Century of Advertising issue.’
Krone was born in Yorkville, on the upper east side of Manhattan, which was at that time a German neighborhood. He attended Public School 77 in Queens before enrolling at the School of Industrial Art, where he hoped to become a product designer. When he was 21, he took his first step towards advertising, working with designer Robert Greenwell doing freelance advertisements for magazines. He followed naval service in World War II with postwar classes with Alexey Brodovitch and stints at ‘Esquire’ and ‘Sudler & Hennessey.’ Then, at the age of 29, he began to work for Doyle Dane Bernbach.
Colonel Tom Parker (1909 – 1997), born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk, was a Dutch-born American entertainment impresario known best as the manager of Elvis Presley. Parker’s management of Presley defined the role of masterminding talent management, which involved every facet of his life and was seen as central to the success of Presley’s career.
‘The Colonel’ displayed a ruthless devotion to his own financial gain rather than his client’s interests and took more than the traditional 10 to 15 percent of his earnings (reaching up to 50 percent by the end of Presley’s life). Presley said of Parker: ‘I don’t think I’d have ever been very big if it wasn’t for him. He’s a very smart man.’ For many years Parker falsely claimed to have been US-born, but it eventually emerged that he was born in Breda in the Netherlands.read more »
Elon Musk (b. 1971) is a Canadian-American designer, business magnate and inventor. He is currently the CEO & CTO of SpaceX, a space transport company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, and CEO & Chief Product Architect of Silicon Valley carmaker Tesla Motors. He co-founded SpaceX in 2002 and e-commerce pioneer PayPal in 1998, and joined Tesla in 2004.read more »
Nathan Myhrvold (b. 1959), formerly Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, is co-founder and 40% owner of Intellectual Ventures, a patent portfolio holding company.
Myhrvold, usually with coinventors, holds 17 U.S. patents assigned to Microsoft and has applied for more than 500 patents. In addition, Myhrvold and coinventors hold 115 U.S. patents assigned mostly to The Invention Science Fund I, LLC.read more »
Charlie Munger (b. 1924) is an American business magnate, lawyer, investor, and philanthropist. He is Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, the diversified investment corporation chaired by Warren Buffett; in that capacity, Buffett describes Munger as ‘my partner.’ Munger served as chairman of Wesco Financial Corporation from 1984 through 2011 (Wesco was approximately 80%-owned by Berkshire-Hathaway during that time). He is also the chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation, based in Los Angeles, and a director of Costco Wholesale Corporation.read more »
Kim Dotcom, real name Kim Schmitz (b. 1974) is a German-Finnish businessman who rose to prominence during the dot-com bubble and was convicted of insider trading and embezzlement in its aftermath. He is the founder of Megaupload and its associated websites. He legally changed his surname to Dotcom in 2005. in 2012, the New Zealand Police placed him in custody in response to US charges of criminal copyright infringement in relation to his Megaupload Web site.
Dotcom has spoken out against his negative portrayal in the media, claiming to be a reformed character and a legitimate businessman who has been unfairly demonized by United States authorities and industry trade groups such as the RIAA and MPAA. He contends that the services offered by his Megaupload site were not significantly different from those of comparable services such as Rapidshare or YouTube, and he has just been used as a scapegoat because of his hacker past.read more »
Enzo Ferrari (1898 – 1988) was an Italian race car driver and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari car manufacturer.
He was often referred to as ‘il Commendatore.’ Ferrari’s management style was autocratic and he was known to pit driver against driver in the hope of improving performance. He did not often get close to his drivers. Enzo Ferrari spent a reserved life, and rarely granted interviews.read more »
Malcolm McLaren (1946 – 2010) was an English performer, impresario, self-publicist and manager of the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls. As a solo artist, McLaren had an innovative career that helped introduce hip hop to the United Kingdom.
About his contribution to music, McLaren has said about himself: ‘I have been called many things: a charlatan, a con man, or, most flatteringly, the culprit responsible for turning British popular culture into nothing more than a cheap marketing gimmick. This is my chance to prove that these accusations are true.’read more »
Sidney Frank (1919 – 2006) was an American businessman who became a billionaire through his promotion of Grey Goose vodka and Jägermeister. He attended Brown University, but left because he could only afford one year of tuition. He later made enormous gifts to the university to ensure that no student would ever be forced to leave Brown because of inability to pay tuition. During World War II, Frank worked for Pratt and Whitney as an aircraft engine mechanic in the South Pacific.
Frank’s first wife, Louise Rosenstiel, was the daughter of Lewis Rosenstiel, founder of Schenley Industries, one of the largest American distiller and spirit importers. Frank joined Schenley after his marriage and rose to the company presidency, but was forced out in a family dispute in 1970. In 1973 his wife died and he started his own company, Sidney Frank Importing Company, where he served as chairman and chief executive officer. The company is based in New Rochelle, New York where Frank lived part of the year (he had a home in Rancho Santa Fe, California as well).read more »
Carlos Slim (b. 1940) is a Mexican businessman, and the richest person in the world, worth more than US$60 billion. He owns the Mexican phone company Telmex, which provides a telephone service to most Mexicans. After graduating, Slim expanded on his father’s ownings of real estate in Mexico City. By age 26, he was worth $40 million. During the 1980s and 1990s, Slim bought several companies that were bankrupt or being privatized. Slim owns about 7% of the New York Times.
The Mexican magnate’s growing fortune has caused a controversy because it has been amassed in a developing country where per capita income does not surpass $14,500 a year, and nearly 17% of the population lives in poverty. Critics claim that Slim is a monopolist, pointing to Telmex’s control of 90% of the Mexican landline telephone market. Slim’s wealth is the equivalent of roughly 5% of Mexico’s annual economic output. Telmex, of which 49.1% is owned by Slim and his family, charges among the highest usage fees in the world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.read more »
Rudolf Dassler (1898 – 1974) was the German founder of the sportswear company PUMA and the older brother of Adidas founder, Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler. The brothers were partners in a shoe company Adi started, Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). Rudi joined in 1924, however the brothers became rivals following World War II and started their own companies in 1948. Initially calling the new company ‘Ruda,’ it was soon changed to its present name of Puma. Puma is the word for cougar in German as well as other languages. Under his direction, Puma remained a small provincial company. Only under the direction of his son, Armin Dassler, did it become the worldwide known company it remains today.
With the rise of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, both Dassler brothers joined the Nazi Party, with Rudolf reputed as being the more ardent National Socialist. Rudolf was drafted, and later captured, while Adi stayed behind to produce boots for the Wehrmacht (Nazi military). During the war, a growing rift between the pair reached a breaking point after an Allied bomb attack in 1943 when Adi and his wife climbed into a bomb shelter that Rudolf and his family were already in: ‘The dirty bastards are back again,’ Adi said, apparently referring to the Allied war planes, but Rudolf was convinced his brother meant him and his family. Rudolf, upon his capture by American troops, was suspected of being a member of the SS, information supposedly supplied by none other than his brother Adi.