From zero to hero

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Feel inspired to succeed even through adversity. These successful tech entrepreneurs didn’t let their failures prevent them from longer term vocational success.

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Steve Jobs

Start: Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 to sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer.

Fail: Following a power struggle, Jobs was forced out from Apple in 1985. He also failed with NeXT Computer Company and the Apple Lisa computer.

Success: When Jobs returned to Apple, he led the business to become the most profitable company in the US. In his famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, Jobs said “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

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Jack Andraka

Start: At 15, he had a crazy idea. He would create a diagnostic test for Pancreatic Cancer that was better than the tests developed by scientists, research labs and billion dollar pharmaceutical companies. Jack wrote a proposal to develop a better test.

Fail: 199 research labs rejected him.

Success: The 200th research lab — at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — accepted him. At the lab Jack Andraka developed a Pancreatic Cancer test 100 times better and 26,000 times less expensive than the current test. Jack’s invention will save tens of thousands of lives.

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James Dyson

Start: In the late 1970s, frustrated with his Hoover Junior’s diminishing performance, Dyson had the idea of using cyclonic separation to create a vacuum cleaner that would not lose suction as it picked up dirt rather than the dust being collected & clogged inside a bag.

Fail: Dyson created 5,126 prototypes that failed and even had to setup his own manufacturing facility, because other manufacturers wouldn’t produce his vacuum.

Success: Now he has the bestselling vacuum in the world. According to The Sunday Times, in 2013 his net worth was £3 billion.

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Arianna Huffington

Start: Arianna’s early career began in 1973 with her successful selling book ‘The Female Woman’ attacking the Women’s Liberation movement in general.

Fail: Her second book was rejected by 36 publishers and she has since been accused of plagiarism for subsequent books.

Success: Arianna acknowledges that without failure it is potentially not possible to achieve success. “You can recognise very often that out of these projects that may not have succeeded themselves that other successes are built.” She is now the author of 13 books as well as the President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group.

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Nick Woodman

Start: After school, Woodman founded two start-ups,  EmpowerAll.com & Funbug. both failed. one being Funbug, was backed with $3.9 million from investors.

Fail: Neither of these initial ventures succeeded, however, Funbug had been injected with a $3.9 million investment, thus lost a rather spectacular amount of money.

Success: Woodman’s devastation at these failures led to him taking an extended surfing holiday where he decided that he needed a practical camera to use whilst participating in activities; thus began the creation of the GoPro camera giving Nick an estimated net worth of close to $5 billion. Woodman has often cited his fear of failure as a catalyst for his success stating, “When I got out of college, I gave myself till I was 30 to invent a product. If I couldn’t do it by then, I would just get a real job. And that fear – the fear of a real job – motivated me to be an entrepreneur.” (source: Nick Woodman quotes at BrainyQuote.com)

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