No matter who you are, someone along the way will doubt you. Here are the stories of five people who were fired who went on to become billionaires.
Net Worth: $10.2 Billion
One of the most famous firings in all of business history was when Steve Jobs was fired by Apple. In 1983, Steve Jobs convinced Pepsi executive John Sculley to run Apple when he famously asked him, ‘Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?’. It wasn’t long before the two were butting heads. On September 17, 1985, after mounting pressure from the board, Jobs was forced to resign from the company he founded. By August of 1997 with sales trailing far behind Microsoft’s, Apple re-hired Jobs, and the rest – as they say – is history.
After graduating from Harvard Business School, Michael Bloomberg took a job at the investment bank Salomon Brothers and stayed there for fifteen years. He eventually made general partner. Then in 1981, when the company merged with the publicly held commodities trading firm, Phibro Corporation, Bloomberg’s position was eliminated. After fifteen years, ten as a general partner, he was let-go. He was offered no severance, but as a partner owned $10 million equity. He used this money to create his own information technology company which developed a computer terminal for bond traders that revolutionized the market. And made himself vast sums of money in the process. To this day, Bloomberg still credits that moment as essential to the creation of his fortune.
Net Worth: $5 Billion ($55 billion today)
When trying to raise money for his first Mickey Mouse cartoon, it is said Walt Disney’s loan was rejected by over 300 banks. This was only the latest in a long line of rejections. In 1919, fresh out of the service, and unemployed, an eighteen-year-old Disney moved to Kansas City to work at the Kansas City Star newspaper as an artist. The arrangement was short-lived, and less than one year in, the newspaper’s editor fired Disney because he, ‘Lacked imagination and had no good ideas.’ Needless to say, Disney went on to create one of the most imaginative brands ever seen. According to Forbes, today the Walt Disney Company is worth over $178 billion.
Born into severe poverty, and to an unwed, teenage mother in the segregated deep south in 1954, few people have overcome more than to earn their success than, Oprah Winfrey. After receiving a scholarship to Tennessee State University and graduating with a degree in communications, Oprah set out with the goal of becoming the next, Barbara Walters. In 1974 at the age of 19, Oprah became Nashville’s first African American female news anchor. Two years later in 1976, she was recruited to co-anchoring the nightly news in Baltimore on, WJZ. It was a dream come true. And it wouldn’t last. Soon after accepting the job, Oprah was let-go for being ‘dull and stiff’ on air. Rather than let her go completely, the station allowed her to host one of their failing talk shows. She blossomed. Today, she’s one of the most successful female entrepreneurs ever.
In 1977, as a broke recent-grad living in Texas, Mark Cuban took a job selling PC software. He received a salary of $18,000, plus commission. Roughly nine months in, Cuban had the opportunity to make a $15,000 sales. It meant $1,500 of commission. The amount was huge for him at the time. He called his CEO with the great news and when he informed the CEO that he was going to pick up the check, the CEO told him not to make the sale. Cuban surmised his boss would change his tone when he arrived back with the check, so he went and made the sale anyway. When he returned to the office, Cuban was terminated on the spot. The reason given, was he didn’t listen. Cuban said it was that moment that was the determining factor in his business life – and when he decided to start his own company. He vowed then, never to work for anyone else, ever again. He hasn’t. And things turned out pretty okay for him.