Please enjoy 3 stories of super-performers, but before they were household names.
Jan Koum , the founder of Whatsapp.
Koum was born in Ukraine to a home with no running water. The country was under the Iron Curtain at the time, and young Koum lived the real horror of Orwellian 1984 famine and thought control. When Koum turned 16, his mother took him to the United States. They both left the Communist regime and ended up in a small apartment in Mountain View, California.
The family of two struggled on welfare and used food stamps to survive.
Jan Koum taught himself about computers and coding during high school. He would buy handbooks from local stores only to return them when he finished reading because he couldn't afford to keep the books.
After barely graduating, Koum enrolled in San Jose State University and had many gigs at big corporations like Erns&Young and Yahoo. His behavior leads to a court restraining order against him. The order was granted after a civil harassment claim from his ex-girlfriend.
“I have many retreats and things I wish I could go back and change, but I have also worked hard and tried to improve myself.” — Jan Koum
After leaving Yahoo, Jan applied for the position at Facebook. Ironically, Facebook rejected Kuoms application.
The guy was unemployed and aimless. And out of despair, he came to an idea to let people see status updates on their phones, creating what we today know as WhatsApp.
Koum incorporated the company on his birthday, February 24, in 2009.
The app witnessed astonishing organic growth, and Facebook later purchased the app for a whopping 19 billion dollars. Jan Koum's net worth is $10 billion, according to Forbes. And WhatsApp is widely spread across the world, helping people communicate with ease.
Howard Schultz , the chairman of Starbucks
“I feel so strongly that the reason I’m here is I dreamed big dreams. I dreamed the kind of dreams that other people said would not be possible.” Howard Schultz
In his autobiography “Pour Your Heart Into It,” the Chairman of Starbucks shared his experience of the ruthless life in the projects. In 1961, the whole family was left with no income because his father broke an ankle working as a truck driver.
Watching his father lying on the couch with his leg in a cast, Schultz decided to do create a different life. Schultz played football in high school and managed to secure an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University. He became the first college graduate in his family.
After finishing school, Shultz's first job was in sales at Xerox, where he was supposed to cold-call and pitch word processors. Then he took another job in sales at Hammarplast, a houseware business.
Shultz first encountered Starbucks while still working at Xerox.
“I believe life is a series of near misses, A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all, it’s seizing the day and accepting the responsibility of your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see and pursuing that vision.” — Howard Schultz
Schultz invests a whole year of his time in persuading the heads of Starbucks to hire him as the head of marketing. Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker refused his pitch three times. Finally, once accepted to the company, Schultz wasn't happy there either. The founders ignored his ideas because coffee was a niche product at the time, appealing only to a certain audience.
His fate changed when the company sent him to an international housewares exhibition in Milan. Shultz had an epiphany when he saw the Italian espresso tradition and the personal relationship Italians have with coffee.
Shultz came back to America, beaming with new ideas. He wanted to bring more Italian tradition to Starbucks. The founders felt differently. Schultz quit and then decided to leave Starbucks to start his own coffee company Il Giornale.
The new company caught on quickly. Eventually, Il Giornale bought Starbucks, and Schultz became the CEO of Starbucks Corporation and one of the wealthiest people on the planet.
His net worth is $4.3 billion, according to Forbes.
Colonel Sanders , the founder of KFC.
Sanders was born in 1890 in Henryville, Indiana.
His father died when he was six years old, leaving Sanders to take care of his siblings. Sanders dropped out of school and left home to work on a farm. At 16, he faked his age and enlisted in the United States Army, from where he was honorably discharged a year later. Soon after, he started working as a railroad laborer.
Sanders had a short fuse, and his temper would get the best of him. He lost his job over fistfights and verbal conflicts at work. Sanders also tried to study law, but law schools in America wanted no piece of a young hooligan from Indiana.
Eventually, Sanders moved back with his mother and got a job selling life insurance, which he lost the same year.
He founded a ferry boat company that didn’t catch on. He also tried to cash that company to start the lamp manufacturing company. Unfortunately, he was run over by competitor selling a better version of his lamp.
Sanders started selling chicken at the gas station when he was well into his forties. Following his story, Sander's original chicken business ended in a deadly shootout with a competitior. Luckily, Sanders was the one to survive.
Years later, Sanders bought a motel, which burned to the ground along with his restaurant. Despite countless failed businesses, Sanders was determined to succeed, and he purchased another motel, which didn't last a year.
“I was sixty-six years old. I still had to make a living. I looked at my social security check of 105 dollars and decided to use that to try to franchise my chicken.” — Colonel Sanders
After World War II, Sanders tried to sell his fried chicken recipe. He was rejected 1009 times before anyone took a second look at his Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sanders pursued the franchise across the country and slowly opened one KFC restaurant after another.
Eventually, KFC became a brand, and he cashed out with a hack for 2 million dollars that served as retirement money.
Sanders lived to see his restaurant become a global success. Today, 24,000 KFC restaurants serve fried chicken in 145 countries across the world.
You have to get out of bed and fight to your last breath to achieve success.