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This chapter is from the book

1.3 There Is No One Narrative

The great engineer and scientist Nikola Tesla, who gave away many of his patents and was often a “loner,” is also a great example of someone using his own unique definition of success. While making money is one way you know that selling that idea is creating value for customers, it is not the only definition of success. There are many ways to spell SUCCESS. This is what we consider successful entrepreneurship and how we often describe a successful entrepreneur. Success is very much in the eye of the beholder and depends on the goals the entrepreneur has set for themselves. We have more to say about both the entrepreneurial mindset and success later in this book.

If you were to name a few successful entrepreneurs today, you are likely to mention Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Martha Stewart, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, and perhaps Henry Ford because you know or even own and use their products. Not all of you will know who Peter Thorwöste, Josiah Wedgwood, Erling Persson, Billy Durant, or Anita Roddick are. However, many of you know or own products from companies for whom these were the founders: FISKARS scissors, Wedgwood china, H&M clothing, General Motors, or the Body Shop cosmetics.

Consider Peter Thorwöste, who founded Fiskars Ironworks in 1649, which today is known as FISKARS, the global company manufacturing not just of the scissors with the orange handles (see Figure 1.1) but also garden tools, ceramics, and boats. Fiskars is today a leading global supplier of branded consumer products for the home, garden, and outdoors. Brands like Fiskars, Iittala, Royal Copenhagen, Rörstrand, Arabia, Buster, and Gerber all belong to the Fiskars brand palette.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1 Fiskars scissors.

Then there is Josiah Wedgwood, an English potter who founded the Wedgwood pottery firm in 1759. This firm’s products are still selling, and the brand Wedgwood china (along with its Waterford Crystal line) is known worldwide for its quality (see Figure 1.2). While writing this book, we learned that Fiskars on May 11, 2015 agreed to acquire the WWRD group. In addition to Wedgwood, other luxury brands in WWRD include Waterford, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, and Rogaška. These brands are now part of this very same Finnish family firm. This is a great reminder of how successful entrepreneurs can create ventures and products that continue to impact business and the lives of consumers several hundred years later.

Figure 1.2

Figure 1.2 Wedgwood pottery.

So is Heinz, today most well-known for its ketchup. Few of us may know that their breakthrough product was pickled horseradish. Their well-known logo ‘57 Varieties’ created in 1896, and was the first electric sign on Manhattan lit in 1900. Recently H. J. Heinz has been purchased from the founding family by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. Then there is the Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company that changed not only manufacturing processes but also the automotive industry. The firm still remains largely in family control through a complex ownership structure.

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