YouTube is a treasure trove for all sorts of obscure footage. And that includes early footage of all your favourite entrepreneurial titans before they went next-level massive. Who wouldn't want some of that?
There's something humanising about seeing these giants of the business world trying to get their soon-to-be-ubiquitous ideas and inventions out into the wider world. Whether it's a fresh-faced, pre-beard Richard Branson or a beer supping Mark Zuckerberg, these videos remind us that even the biggest entrepreneurs had to start somewhere. They also tell us how much a business and its ideals can change over time, especially when faced with the conflicts that come with globe-conquering growth.
So, pour yourself a beer and enjoy our tour through the archives.
With Scarface and Pulp Fiction posters adorned on the 'office' wall and beer-chugging aplenty, this 2005 interview with Mark Zuckerberg absolutely fits all the typical college startup clichés. We see an embryonic Facebook back when it was The Facebook and MySpace reigned supreme. Fast forward 13 years and, well, you know the rest.
By no means a spring chicken in this TV appearance, the British serial-inventor had enjoyed a number of business ventures before he honed in on the vacuum cleaner market, launching Dyson Appliances Ltd in 1991. This film features Dyson on This Morning showing off his first bagless vacuum cleaner, a product that would prove to be the breakthrough for the company.
Once upon a time Amazon.com was just a humble online bookstore and Jeff Bezos, its founder, looked and sounded like a guy just out to do a bit of good in the world. Fast forward 21 years and his company has recently been valued at 1 trillion dollars. Bezos, himself, now looks every bit your multi-billionaire all-powerful CEO. In this 1997 interview, he certainly sounds like someone who just might be ahead of the game.
By 1980 Apple was already a major player in the emerging home computer market, but was far from being the household name it is today. It was around this time that Apple opened what would become its European headquarters in the somewhat surprising location of Cork, Ireland. This television news footage shows Steve Jobs talking to reporters about the origins of Apple and how they came to set up their manufacturing plant in Cork.
As the author of the most successful book series of all time, JK Rowling's business empire is worth an estimated £700 million and extends to theme parks and West End stage shows. But it wasn't always that way. Hers is very much the classic rags to riches story. In this video, she explains to Blue Peter's Connie Huq how as a broke single mother she wrote the first Harry Potter novel in an Edinburgh cafe.
I was a Single Parent, and a 'Single Parent On Benefits' to boot. Patronage was almost as hard to bear as stigmatization. I would say to any single parent currently feeling the weight of stereotype or stigmatization that I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life.
Until the Oscar-nominated movie adaptation of her life hit cinema screens, it's unlikely those of us in the UK would know much about inventor-entrepreneur Joy Mangano. But, similar to JK Rowling, her entrepreneurial story is one of hard graft on the road to success; a triumph of perseverance in the face of adversity. Here she is in her first TV appearance showing off her Miracle Mop creation.
Everyone's favourite shouty sweary man makes a strangely muted appearance as a Sous Chef in this 1988 clip inside the legendary Marco Pierre White's kitchen at Harveys. Taking orders from his head chef – he's even seen washing pans – we see a young Ramsay honing his craft and absorbing everything there is to learn.
For a lot of people, Richard Branson is the first person they'll think of when it comes to naming a famous entrepreneur. This bizarre early 70s documentary starts with Branson running what seems to be a family planning clinic, before focusing on the mail-order record service that would be the beginnings of his Virgin empire.
Sure, it's scary starting up. And it may seem you've got a long way to go just to feel some stability, let alone think about scaling up your business. But, hopefully, seeing these giants of the business world at the start of their journey will reaffirm that your efforts really will be worth it. Yep, we can see it now: the world's first quadrillion-valued company and it all started with this blog.
Huw Moxon is the Digital Marketing Manager for Informi
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