Many successful companies were born in people’s dorm rooms, garages, and basements. So what is it about success start-off in basements, garages, and bedrooms? Possibly nothing.
Perhaps it is just normal for new or young entrepreneurs with big ideas and little money to spend, to just start from where they are and what they have. Not just wisdom, but prudence that comes out of constraints, and determination that some expenses (including a proper office space) should be out of the question in the early stages of building a business.
Amazon Online Book Store – Jeff Bezos (Home Garage)
Amazon began as an online book store in Jeff Bezos’ home garage. In 1994, Jeff Bezos decided to take advantage of the internet’s potential. He quit his New York hedge fund job and drove to Bellevue, Washington, where he rented a house.
Bezos spent a year programming the site which initially sold books out of his garage, and in July 1995, success start-off for Jeff and Amazon.com went live.
In a 1998 interview , Bezos said, “I know why people move out of garages. It’s not because they ran out of room. It’s because they ran out of electric power. They have so many computers in the garage that circuit breakers kept flipping … we couldn’t plug in a vacuum cleaner, or a hair dryer anymore in the house.”
“It’s not where you start but where you finish that counts.”Zig Ziglar
Facebook Idea – Mark Zuckerberg’s (Harvard Freshman Dorm Room)
Mark Zuckerberg created a website called Facemash in 2003 while studying at Harvard. The site let students judge other people’s levels of attractiveness, but was quickly taken down after two days.
Keeping the momentum going, a year later, Zuckerberg and his friends Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes created The Facebook. Thereafter, success start-off and the social networking site quickly spread to colleges across the country.
In the years since, Facebook has come under attack over privacy concerns. While testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Commerce Committee during the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, Zuckerberg often cited his humble roots, explaining , “The history of how we got here is we started off in my dorm room with not a lot of resources.”
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”Albert Einstein
Microsoft – Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Albuquerque Garage)
In 1975 , the pair started Micro-Soft, for microprocessors and software, to develop an operating software for the Altair 8800, an early personal computer.
On a visit back to Albuquerque, Gates said, “There’s no better symbol for the entrepreneur than the humble garage. Of course … we founded our company in a garage to preserve the pile of money I got from my parents, but I assume other people do it because they’re poor.”
“Things are never quite as scary, when you have a best friend”Bill Watterson
Google – Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Susan Wojcicki’s Garage)
According to a Business Insider profile of Susan Wojcicki, in 1998, Wojcicki and her husband, Dennis Troper, bought a four-bedroom home in Menlo Park, California, and rented the garage out to two Stanford doctoral students to help pay their mortgage.
The students happened to be Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were working on their new company, Google. Wojcicki eventually became the 16th employee at Google, which later moved to an office space in 1999.
In 2019, Page and Brin stepped down from the company, writing, “We could not have imagined, back in 1998 when we moved our servers from a dorm room to a garage, the journey that would follow.”
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people”Steve Jobs
Apple – Steve Jobs (Parents’ Garage)
Back in 1976, Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage in Silicon Valley played a role in the early stages of Apple. However, Jobs and his co-founder, Steve Wozniak, quickly outgrew the space, Wozniak told Bloomberg Businessweek.
According to a Washington Post article, Wozniak has dubbed the idea that Apple was “founded” in a garage “a bit of a myth,” but he also admitted that the garage is part of the company’s story.
In 2014, he told Businessweek, “The garage represents us better than anything else, but we did no designs there. We would drive the finished products to the garage, make them work and then we’d drive them down to the store that paid us cash.”
The garage, from where success start-off for Jobs, is attached to his childhood home in Los Altos, California, and has since been designated as a historic site .
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”Theodore Roosevelt
Walt Disney – Walt Disney (Uncle’s Backyard Garage)
In 1922, Walt Disney created “Alice in Cartoonland,” which were seven-minute bits combining animation and live-action. But Disney was cheated by a New York film distributor and eventually had to move to Hollywood to find other work in the movie industry.
In Hollywood, Disney lived with his uncle and set up shop in his garage drawing cartoons. According to Encyclopedia Britannica , after hearing that his “Alice” cartoon was still popular, Disney and his brother Roy purchased a $200 used camera and set up Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. From there they created the entire “Alice Comedies” series and success start-off for them.
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure”Colin Powell
Under Armour – Kevin Plank (Grandmother’s Basement)
According to a Business Insider profile of Under Armour, In 1996 , Kevin Plank founded the company with the goal of creating athletic wear that was able to wick away sweat and be worn as a base layer for intense activity.
At the time, Plank was living in his grandmother’s townhouse in Georgetown, where he used the basement as his office.
Today, Under Armour is valued at about $4 billion .
In an interview with The Washington Post , Plank said, “I remember the guys from the NFL called me up one day and they said, ‘Kevin, we’re going to be in D.C. today, we want to come by the office and see you,’ which had me looking around Grandma’s house thinking ‘Oh my gosh, don’t do that.'”
“Quitting employment is the best decision I ever made in my adult life. There is a lot of contentment in building your own empire. It is step at a time but with so much satisfaction as you climb the growth staircase.”Noellah Musundi
Spanx – Sara Blakely (Her Apartment In Georgia)
Sara Blakely was working as a door-to-door fax machine salesperson when she came up with the idea for Spanx. While wearing open-toe shoes, she decided to cut the feet off of a pair of pantyhose and realized she was on to something.
As explained in a story by Forbes , Blakely spent two years carefully researching and preparing for the launch of Spanx while also working a full-time job. She then went to a pitch meeting and convinced Neiman Marcus to give her product a chance. Using Neiman Marcus as leverage, Blakely was then able to also convince Bloomingdale’s, Saks and Bergdorf Goodman to give Spanx a shot.
But even then, she had no corporate space. She’d package and ship the Spanx orders from home with the help of her boyfriend , and took phone calls from her bathtub or bed, according to the Forbes article.
According to Forbes, as of June 2019, Blakely had a net worth of $1 billion.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”Arthur Ashe
Tumblr – David Karp (Childhood Bedroom)
In 2007, David Karp founded Tumblr, the micro-blogging and social-networking site. At the time, Karp was working from his bedroom in his mother’s small apartment in New York. According to The Guardian , on the night the site went live, it gained 75,000 users.
In an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune about Karp’s love for computers, Karp’s mom said, “David would come running through the apartment saying, ‘Mom! Mom! There’s this and this and this!’ And I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about. Because it was a whole other language.”
The Washington Post reported that in 2013, Tumblr sold to Yahoo for $1.1 billion. But in 2019, WordPress bought the blogging site for a rumored mere $3 million.
“If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to help build theirs”Tony Gaskin
Dell – Michael Dell (University of Texas Dorm Room/Garage)
In 1984, most computers were mailed in separate parts, with consumers expected to assemble them themselves. Michael Dell wanted to sell custom-built computers designed for individual company’s specific needs.
The original company name was PC’s Limited , which he started in his college dorm room at UT Austin. Needing more space, Dell moved to his nearby garage, eventually dropping out of college to pursue Dell full time and his success start-off after.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”Zig Ziglar
Harley Davidson Motorcycle – William Harley (Wooden Shed)
In 1901 , William S. Harley drew a blueprint for an engine that could fit inside a bicycle. In 1903 , William and his brother Arthur built the first Harley Davidson motorcycle in a 10-by-15-foot wooden shed.
The shed’s door had “Harley Davidson Motor Company” written on it.
Today, Harley Davidson is valued at about $2.8 billion. In 2019, there were an estimated 1,569 dealerships around the world.
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed”Theodore Roosevelt
Yankee Candle – Mike Kittredge (Family’s Kitchen)
In 1969, the then 16-year-old Mike Kittredge melted crayons and canning wax to make his mother a candle for Christmas in a milk carton.
A neighbor was also interested, eventually inspiring Kittredge to design and craft the candles in his family’s kitchen, where the company known now as Yankee Candle was eventually born. That was from where his success start-off.
Today, Yankee Candle has over 475 company-owned retail stores nationwide.
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you”Mother Teresa
Hewlett Packard – Bill Hewlett and David Packard (One-car Garage)
After bonding on a camping trip, Bill Hewlett and David Packard began renting a garage in Palo Alto and working there part-time. In 1938, the duo created Hewlett-Packard’s first product , the resistance-capacitance audio oscillator, which was used to test sound equipment.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”Mahatma Gandhi
Mattel – Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler (Garage)
In 1944 , Matt Matson, a skilled craftsman, was working out of his garage in Southern California when Elliot Handler asked if he could build some of his picture frame ideas. Handler’s wife Ruth then took the samples and sold them for $3,000 at a local photography studio.
In October of 1944, after the frames were a huge success, Matson and Handler decided to combine their last names, and Mattel was born.
While building frames in the garage, Handler also made dollhouse furniture out of the leftover wood from the picture frames. The furniture became a huge success and the company eventually pivoted towards making toys. The pivot paid off, their success start-off and as today Mattel is valued at about $3 billion.
“Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical”Howard Schultz
Empires From Sand Castles Or Side Hustles – Get The Passion Out
For example, Steve Jobs was working at Atari, while building the Apple I. In 1976, Steve Jobs was working the night shift at Atari, and Steve Wozniak was an engineer at HP. In their spare time, they worked on building a computer in a garage, which became known as Apple I. They made the machine using Atari parts and presented it to Jobs’ boss, who eventually declined to invest.
Major social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, started as side projects. Retail companies like Yankee Candle and Under Armour also began as passion projects.
Where is your garage? What do you have in your hand? When are you starting? Today is the tomorrow you should not regret. Success start-off now.
Myfwl/Work Life Feed has adapted the write up for our readers. Click here to view the original write up at www.africa.businessinsider.com