Sunday, August 5, 2007




“Being wealthy means having more responsibility too,” Hunter said when giving 1 trillion pound sterling to Africa.

20 years ago, Thomas Blane Hunter had to sleep in the back of his van, between boxes that contain the shoes that he was selling. Tom has to gone through those tough times because he couldn’t rent a room when he was going to many places to sell his products. During those times, he then made a promise to himself that if one day he becomes a millionaire, he will donate 1 trillion pound sterling.

That sincere hope stays in his mind until he becomes a trillionaire. Now it is the right time to fulfill his dream. Tom that got the Sir title from the British Kingdom donates 1 pound sterling to Africa and England through the foundation that he built. That amount of donation was the biggest one in the history of England. According to this man that was born in 1960, fulfilling his promise will make his life more sensible. According to Hunter, what he is doing now is his responsibility. “Being wealthy means having more responsibility too,” Sir Thomas explained.

His road to success is quite a long journey. His effort started in the 1980’s. Tom realized, as a man that was born in New Cumnock, an area of coal mining industry, he has to do something in order to success. With the 5,000 pound sterling that he got from his father and Royal Bank of Scotland, Tom started to sell shoes in the back of his van with the name Sports Division. Tom used his garage as his distributing centre. Tom worked 90 to 100 hours per week. At night, tom still worked. At this hard time, Tom met Marion, she then became his wife. According to Tom, at this time, Sports Division had its toughest moment. Tom had to do marketing on his own and went to many places in Scotland. Tom explained that, at that time, he couldn’t rent a room at the inn so he often had to sleep in the back of his van.

Things soon got better for Tom, his marketing network grew. Tom started to open some stores in many places. In 4 years, the business grew rapidly and he continued to open more stores. In 1990, his profit was 15 million pound sterling. With his persistence, Tom managed to make Sports Division the market leader. In 1998, Tom sold Sports Division to JJB Sports for 250 million pound sterling. He then used the money to established West Coast Company (WCC) on March 2001. WCC then makes him a trillionaire. With WCC, Tom became the biggest shareholder in some companies like USC, Office, D2 and Qube. Tom also became British Home Stores shareholder (8%). Besides that Tom also invested in property.

Annie Lewis from Oxfam praises Tom’s effort in relieving the suffering of the poor. “Tom Hunter is very concerned with the poor in Africa. Oxfam supports his plan to raise fund through his foundation. We hope that his investment will help them,” Lewis said. Tom also donates to the Band Aid, Make Poverty History campaign and the Live 8 concert for poverty.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

John Mackey, Whole Foods Market



“Life is an adventure. We learn and grow from life’s journey, life’s adventure” John Mackey said, about his business’s key of success.

The seed of Mackey’s business started from a vegetarian store in his home garage in 1978. 29 years later, Mackey’s business grows quickly. Now, it branch out into 196 stores in US, Canada and England. Mackey’s incomes are more than 5.6 billion USD with 41,500 employees. His business is worth more than 1 trillion USD. Mackey achieved it all after with his hard working habit.

This man, who dropped out from Texas College, started his business by lending 45,000 USD from his friend and family. With this money, Mackey and his female friend, Renee Lawson Hardy, established the first vegetarian supermarket, not only in Texas, but all over Texas. The supermarket was named Safer Way and was located in his 3 floor home garage. The first floor is the supermarket, the second floor is a healthy restaurant, and the third floor is where Mackey lived. 2 years later, in 1980, Safer Way merged with another store and became Whole Foods Market (WFM). At that time, the store was 500 m2 with 19 employees.

Mackey’s admitted that Whole Foods Market is his highest achievement. “I am sure that the establishment, expansion, and building of WFM are the best achievement that I have ever gained,“ Mackey said with shiny eyes. According to him, his decision to establish a vegetarian supermarket is because he is also a vegetarian. Mackey decided to join the vegetarian community because it is a good place to find a match. It turned out quite true; he met his wife there, who is also a vegetarian, Deborah Morin.

After his supermarket changed name into Whole Foods Market, people started to know and understand the concept that he was offering. Mackey tried introducing people to healthy products. These products don’t use pesticides, dangerous fertilizers, hormones or antibiotics. Mackey guarantees that all of his products are organic products that were carefully selected. People became more familiar with his concept and eventually his income started to rise.

With the customer’s supports, Mackey felt more confidence to fulfill his dream by expanding WFM to other cities. In 1991, Whole Foods Market has branched out in Houston, Dallas, Louisiana, North California and North Carolina. Those expansions are done by building new stores or acquiring existing stores. Soon the business became stronger, and in 1992 Mackey possessed 12 stores and 92 million USD incomes. Mackey then got WFM listed in NASDAQ that year. Since the IPO, Whole Foods Market became more and more aggressive in expanding their business. Soon after that, Whole Foods Market became the market leader in the healthy life style market of the US people.

Mackey said that his success is achieved because he can meet the needs from much kind of people. “I think the biggest problem in building WFM is the philosophy of the business itself. Business that meets the needs of the shareholder and stockholder for the progress of the company,” he said. Because of his success, Mackey has won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. In 2005 WFM is one from the 25 Best Companies to Work For according to Fortune. “I don’t have any idea. I never prepared all this. I started with 1 store, and then opened the second, third, fourth and until now there are 196 stores,” Mackey said.

Jack Ma, Alibaba Group



Despite of his unconvincing look, Jack Ma has an outstanding achievement, building Alibaba group from nothing to something.

Who knows, before 1995, Jack Ma, former English teacher, had never touched a computer. However, now he is a success internet entrepreneur of an e-commerce company that can compete with eBay. Not only is his achievement greater than his appearance, his ambition is also huge. “5 years from now, one from the biggest five internet companies will come from China, and I hope, we will become part of that,” said Ma, 42.

For his expansion plan, Ma that was known as the “Big Boss” in the China internet industry is preparing to get listed on the stock market. Ma hires NM Rothschild consultant, an investment bank, to gather 1 billion USD fund. Even there is no confirmation; Alibaba is currently planning to do initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong or New York, as an alternative. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley predicted the initial offering price for the stock will be the highest one in the history of the China internet industry. If the prediction is right, the Alibaba Company will be worth 4 billion USD.

When eBay expanded to China in 2002, many local e-commerce companies gave up the competition and assumed that there is impossible to penetrate in the China market again. But that thought is not in Ma’s thinking. He still confidence and he even dare to compete with that giant e-commerce company from United States. For him, there is only one thing that eBay doesn’t have, but Ma has as his main weapon. Ma has a very strong business root in China, which is their trust. “In China, the most important now is not the technology, but how we manage to maintain our closure with the customer and how we understand the customer’s needs.“ Ma stated.

Ma’s success story began in 1995. At that time, he established China Pages, the first China internet company. Then, he got an invitation from the Trade Minister to become the head of the China Information and Electronic Department. On March 1999, Ma and his 18 people team published from Ma’s apartment at Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. With this site, Ma wishes to create a facility that can make task easier for low-level and mid-level businesses. After having many rise and tide, Ma starting to show some promising results. Like the challenges that business to business (B2B) internet companies have, the trust from the customers is the key point. With fast learning from the previous mistake and quick solving time of the problem, slowly became big.

Under Ma’s leadership, Alibaba grows fast and got on top on October 2005. At that moment, Alibaba cooperated with Yahoo!. With 1 billion fund, Yahoo! took over 40% of Alibaba, and Ma took over the operation of Yahoo! in China. From there, comes the Alibaba Group. This company consists of global e-commerce virtual site,, Taobao, Yahoo! China search engine, Alipay (online payment) and Alisoft (software house).

From 19 personnel at Ma’s apartment, now Alibaba Group has more than 5,000 employee and millions of customers worldwide. Ma is very proud as a Chinese and can make a great achievement in his homeland, China. “I 100% grew up in China. I learnt English by myself in China, and I never learnt outside of China,” he said. When he was still young, he was willing to bike for 45 minutes every day to a hotel that has many tourists staying in it. He did this so he can practice his English with the tourists.

When running his business, Ma didn’t want to be like the other business man. Ma still holds on to his identity as a Chinese. He was inspired from a China kung-fu novelist, Jin Yong. “Jin Yong books teach me that whatever we want to be a great person, or having a great company, we have to work hard. And to win, we have to think out of the box,” said Ma. Although he grew up in China, it didn’t make Ma became narrow minded and do business in China only, he continues to think globally and help his company to continue grows worldwide. “I don’t consider myself a success business man. If we work hard and quickly learn, I think everybody has the same opportunity for success.” he explained.

Many rewards have been received by Ma on the last 7 years. In 2001, he was chosen by the World Economic Forum as “Young Global Leader”. On 2004, he was chosen as “Business Leader Top 10” according to China Central Television version. Not only that, Fortune magazine includes Ma in the “25 Biggest Businessman in Asia.” Ma is on the 15th spot. Besides in the business world, Ma is also the “50 Most Important Person in the Web.” according to PC World in 2007. Ma believes, if himself, that was once cannot use computer, can becomes the person he is now, then 80% of youth all over the world can follow his path of success. “Believe on your dream and believe in yourself. Chase your dream because you desire it, not because other people told you to,” Ma advices.

Zuckerberg, CEO



He is still 23 but Yahoo! has offer his site for 1 billion USD

If you look at a glance, this young man is not so difference with the rest of the other people. He likes to play guitar, play video game, listens to music and sing. But, however his idea in his head makes him different from the others. In his early ages, he has made a quite achievement.

Not so long ago, Yahoo! has made an offer for Zuckerberg’s company, Yahoo! offered 1 billion USD for This is the biggest offer Zuckerberg has ever encountered. Before this happened, Viacom also offered to buy for 750 million USD. But, Zuckerberg rejected both of these offers. He chose to stay being the CEO of and continues to help it expands.

In his interview with TIME magazine, Zuckerberg said that he wasn’t interested with those offers from the beginning. He stated that the main goal for is not money. That site, said him, is not only used to obtain money, but is also to help the people in the world to communicate freely via internet. “We don’t focus with the final result (money). More than that, we want to continue to expand. That’s why we rejected the offer. We want to advance according to our idealism. We are very sure that our decision is the right one,” Zuckerberg said. is a site from an Information-Technology based company ( Similar to Friendster or MySpace, has become no-boundaries communication medium for its user. Despite of the similarities, does have differences with the others. has several features that make it different from the other. This site has an internal network that allows its user to exchange photo, video, MP3, or other stuff with each other. Beside that, this site also allows its user to explore other user’s computer folder that is currently online, but of course this can only be done with the consent of the other user. Because of this, manages to get many customers. There are more than 30 millions people that have been using That is why Yahoo! and Viacom tried to buy it from Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg success in creating Facebook comes from his hobby to play with computer programs. Zuckerberg said that he started to know computer programs at eight. With the computer that his dad bought, this curly young man tried to make several programs, started from the simple one to the sophisticated one. When he was at his college, Harvard University, he was interested to make a site that can be used as a communication medium for the Harvard students. In the early 2003, with his friend, Adam D’Angelo, Zuckerberg made a site that was named Coursematch. With this site, every Harvard student can see the data about every people that were studying at Harvard.

At the beginning, Zuckerberg promote this site mouth to mouth. In order to make the visitors of this site interested, he included free download songs. This made more and more people visited this site. Over time, there were many requests that demand the site to have more features. In the end of 2003, Coursematch changed its name into This site allowed Harvard students to get to know each other and communicate online. Not only that, with the aim of making it more interesting, came with the data of all the students and alumni of Harvard. Zuckerberg got those data by hacking into the University database. Of course this was illegal, Zuckerberg got into trouble because of this.

The incidence however, made a phenomenal hit. Almost every Harvard students and the alumni visited the site. This momentum is used by Zuckerberg to publish a new site, in 2004. With the help of his friends, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, Zuckerberg managed to complete building the site with more complex and more features in it. So, Facebook then became one of the must visit site for US University students.

Facebook visitors becomes great in quantities, so many companies decided to cooperate and so millions of dollar get into Zuckerberg’s pocket. Slowly but sure, Zuckerberg turned into a young billionaire. Because wanting to focus to Facebook, he decided to resign from the university. Since then, he didn’t go to the college and decided to dedicate his life for Facebook. “I have found my way of life. I now have what I always wanted in my hands. I don’t want to have certificate and then works in a company. I think, working is only for weak people,” he said in his interview with Current Magazine.

Now, the site is currently in trouble. Some of Zuckerberg’s friends, Divya Narendra, Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss claim that Facebook is their idea. They said that Zuckerberg has stolen other people idea. Zuckerberg disagrees with this statement; he also claims that this was his own idea. This case is still being investigated by the Massachusetts law enforcements.

How does Zuckerberg handle business competition even though he is only 23? “We will have a lot of energy if we do the things we love. This makes me never bored and always be able to do the best,” He answered during his interview with TIME magazine in Facebook headquarter, Palo Alto, California.




This Inexpensive laptop that Negroponte comes with will make the children in the poor countries express their creativity.

Through his foundation, One Laptop per Child, Negroponte tries to collaborate with many parties to fulfill his dream. Negroponte is determined to produce an inexpensive laptop for the children in poor countries. Until the end of 2007, 5 million to 10 million laptops will be produced according to the demands from the requesting countries. The laptops, called XO, are produced in Taiwan by the biggest Laptop manufacturer in the world, Quanta. On October 2007, these laptops are sold at 100 USD each and will be distributed freely by the poor countries government in Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Republic of Dominica, Greece, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Tunisia and Uruguay.

“We desired that the children can build something, create music, communicate with other children and do exploration,” said Negroponte with shiny eyes. These laptops come with webcams and can be used for chatting as well as doing phone call because they are also equipped with wireless connections and microphones. According to Negroponte, even the production costs are significantly reduced, it doesn’t mean that the laptops are unreliable. More than that, Negroponte explained, the laptops are exclusively designed for the children in the poor countries that have education facilities drawback. The laptops are also waterproof and shock proof so it can be used in extreme places like the desert of Libya or the mountain of Peru. Furthermore, the laptops can use sunbeam as its power.

Negroponte admitted that he doesn’t want to be half-done in designing the laptop. He wants XO can be used in the most extreme places. He wants the laptop can be used by the children even they doesn’t have a classroom and they have to use it in an open space. If that happen, the children will still be able to use the laptops, because the monitors are designed specifically for sunlight so they can still be read. The laptops also have gone through several endurance tests. “We have conducted tests by dropping it from 6 or 7 feet height. This computer has the equipments that my laptop and your laptop don’t have,” Negroponte believed.

Using 1 Giga byte of memory and open source software, this laptop is very convenient to be used. Moreover, Negroponte stated that this laptop can endure very high temperature. Testers have put the laptop in an oven at 50 Celsius and the laptop can still operate normally. For more assurance, Negroponte and his team have conducted tests in Nigeria and Brazil.

From the beginning, Negroponte realizes that he can’t do this on his own, so he tried to cooperate with many parties to design, fund, and produce those laptops. As the result, 800 parts and components of XO comes from many supplier and manufacturer like processor manufacturer, AMD. Gustavo Arenas from AMD show full supports for Negroponte. “This was the moment we have been waiting for. We are very confident with the mission and vision of OLPC so this plan finally becomes reality, not only it is working but it is also satisfying,“ he stated. Besides the support from AMD, Negroponte also managed to get support from Brightstar Corporation, eBay, Google, Marvell, News Corporation, SES Global, Nortel Networks, Red Hat, and Intel. Each of those companies has contributed 2 million USD to OLPC.

In making his dream, Negroponte not only has got support, but also critics. Critics say that Negroponte’s idea is too foolish. They said that poor countries need sanitation, water and healthy care more than laptops. “This is an education project, not a laptop project” Negroponte replied. Negroponte statement was agreed by Kofi Annan. Annan said that the project was an expression of global solidarity that Negroponte has. “It will open a new perception for the children’s education,” Annan affirmed.

Negroponte admitted that, until now, the production cost range from 135 USD to 176 USD, not 100 USD like expected before. Negroponte explained, those cost may vary according to the price of the components in the market, but in 2008 the production cost will be 100 USD, according to the original plan.

Negroponte has been quite famous in architecture and computer field. Negroponte is the founder and the leader of Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. He grew up in New York and graduated from Le Rosey (Swiss) and Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut in 1961. Negroponte then got his master title in architecture at MIT and graduated in 1966. After he graduated, he teaches at MIT and also being a professor at Yale, Michigan and University of California, Berkeley. His interest in human and computer interaction showed up when he was involved in MIT’s Architecture Machine Group. This group was founded by Negroponte in 1967. As a researcher, Negroponte often wrote his research on Wired Magazine, a magazine that he found in 1992. From the year 1993-1998, he acted a columnist on that magazine, on the column ‘Move bits, not atoms’. Negroponte ideas soon become a best seller book like his book ‘Being Digital’ (1995). That book contains his prediction about ways to make an interactive world. This idea became the main reason when he established OLPC in 2002.