Billionaire Buddhist priest/entrepreneur reveals his 5 greatest tips for success

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Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Kazuo Inamori is the founder of electronics company Kyocera, the Honorary Chairman of Japan Airlines and a trained Buddhist priest.

The 83-year-old philanthropist also founded the Inamori Foundation which awards the annual Kyoto Prize, Japan’s version of the Nobel Prize, that honors individuals’ “extraordinary contributions to science, civilization, and the spirituality of humankind.”

From his 1995 book, “Passion For Success”, he shares his philosophy on success in life and in business.

1. Know what your true motives are.
Zen, the Japanese word for ‘good,’ means being universally virtuous in anybody’s eyes. I cannot achieve something worthwhile by considering only my own interests, my own convenience, or how I may appear to others. The motive has to be good for others as well as myself.”

In whatever passion you pursue, if your motives aren’t just, you will surely fail. The most successful ideas and businesses today have flourished because they positively impact the lives of billions.

“If your motivation and methods are virtuous, you need not worry much about the result.

2. Make a habit of being a perfectionist.
“When it comes to work, I am a perfectionist.”

Perfection isn’t just something that is achieved, it is something that is practiced until it becomes your second nature.

“It is extremely difficult to begin demanding perfection of yourself in everyday life. However, once it becomes your second nature, you can easily live that way. Aerospace engineers know that it takes tremendous energy to launch a satellite against gravity. But once it is in orbit, the same satellite needs very little energy to remain there. A business leader must pursue perfection as an everyday habit.”

3. Think optimistically, plan pessimistically, execute optimistically.
“The most important factor in starting any new project is having a dream and the passion to achieve it. In setting your vision, you need to be ultraoptimistic. You must first believe that you have unlimited potential. Continue telling yourself, ‘I can do it,’ and believe in yourself.”

“Once you begin making your plan, however, you must become a pessimist. You should review your concept conservatively. By this I mean that you must recognize every potential difficulty, and plan for all contingencies.”

“Equipped with such an ultraconservative plan, you should then move to execute it optimistically. Pessimism at this stage would prevent you from taking the bold action necessary to succeed.”

4. Your life or work = Attitude x Effort x Ability
“The outcome of our life or work is the product of three factors: attitude, effort and ability. Effort and ability range from 0 to 100 points. As these two numbers are multiplied rather than simply added, it means that persons who exert unbeatable efforts to compensate for their only ‘average’ ability can accomplish more than geniuses who rely just on their ability while making only a minimal efforts.”

But effort and ability are nothing without the main driving force that every successful entrepreneur has mastered:

“Depending on our attitude, the outcome of our work and our life can change by 180 degrees. Thus, while ability and effort are important, it is our attitude that counts the most.”

5. Always aim higher than what you think you can achieve.
“When choosing a long-term goal, I purposely select something beyond my ability. In other words, I choose a goal which is impossible for me to accomplish at the present time: no matter how hard I struggle now, I will not be able to reach it. Then I set a date in the future by which time I shall have achieved it.”

You really don’t know what you don’t know, and that applies for what you will be capable of in the future. With the right motivation, spirit and attitude, you almost can’t imagine what you are capable of until you finally achieve it.

“A person who wants to accomplish something new and worthwhile must assess his or her own ability from both present and future viewpoints.”

Why millionaire Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh lives in a $950-a-month trailer home

Most CEOs live lavishly with expensive sports cars, private jets, beautiful models, and million-dollar homes, but the CEO for Zappos lives in a Las Vegas trailer park and enjoys spending his time with Marley, the community pet alpaca.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has a net worth of $840 million but finds expensive living quarters too private for his liking. Instead, Hsieh lives in a comfortable 240-square-foot trailer home in downtown Las Vegas where he pays a whopping $950 a month for rent.

How two penniless Korean immigrants launched an apparel empire now worth billions

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This is a story of success. This is the unbelievable rags-to-riches story of how Do Won “Don” Chang and his wife, Jin Sook, immigrated from Korea to California with nearly nothing, how Chang had to hold down three demeaning jobs at the same time to support his family, and how they opened up their first fashion-forward store, which, three decades later, has become a coveted international brand with 600 stores in the U.S. and overseas bringing in around $4.4 billion in sales each year.

That company is Forever 21, the No. 1 brand favored by millennial “it girls,” beating out heavy hitters such as Sephora and H&M in a recent Teen Vogue-Goldman Sachs poll.

From Rags to Riches

Chang, 57, and Sook, 53, moved to the states from Korea in 1981. Chang worked as a gas station attendant, janitor and coffee shop waiter to make ends meet. According to a Business Insider profile on the dynamic duo, they were broke, had no college degrees and spoke broken English. They had planned to go into the coffee business until Chang noticed something that would change their lives. Chang, in a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, said:

“I noticed the people who drove the nicest cars were all in the garment business.”

They had only been settled in the Los Angeles area for three years before that observation became a reality. In 1984, the Changs decided to open their first clothing store, which they called “Fashion 21,” in a 900-square-foot space in Highland Park, which is about five minutes north of downtown Los Angeles. They took in a measly $35,000 upon opening, but sales jumped to $700,000 by the end of their first year. That success led Chang to go out on a strategic limb by opening up new stores every six months in different locations across the U.S. and renaming their chain “Forever 21.”

Somehow the husband-and-wife team found more success with each opening. Today, there are over 600 stores worldwide that employ more than 34,000 workers. The Chang’s personal net worth is estimated to be around $6.1 billion. That high net worth is perhaps due to the fact that the Changs own 100% of Forever 21.

The chain remains a family business, with Chang holding the CEO position while Jin Sook approves the company’s merchandise designs as chief merchandising officer. Daughter Esther manages the company’s visuals while daughter Linda is in charge of marketing.

Forever 21’s Recipe for Success

koreanWhy is Forever 21 so successful? The company keeps prices low. It lives up to its motto, “Shop Chic Styles for Less,” by continually updating its merchandise to remain fashion forward. As Chang put it:

“We keep changing. We are always thinking about [the] customer, not just for the company. That’s why we are successful.”

It’s hard to pull off, but Forever 21 has remained relevant and popular in a fickle environment where trends quickly go out of fashion, often just after they’ve taken off. Chang adds:

“Women’s fashion is very difficult because it is changing everyday. Fashion changes so fast, so time is the most important thing. If you are too late, you are too late. If you are too early, you are too early. So timing is very important.”

So is being grateful. Chang might be a billionaire now, but he’s always been grounded and aware of how he got here, as well as where he came from. He told the LA Times:

“Forever 21 gives hope to people who come here with almost nothing. And that is a reward that humbles me: the fact that immigrants coming to America, much like I did, can come into a Forever 21 and know that all of this was started by a simple Korean immigrant with a dream.”

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Microsoft appoints Satya Nadella as its new CEO

Microsoft appoints Satya Nadella as its new CEO

Microsoft announced this morning that Satya Nadella will serve as its third chief executive.

Various reports over the past week pegged Nadella, Microsoft’s former cloud and enterprise head, as the leading candidate to replace Steve Ballmer when he retires later this year. Nadella’s appointment makes it clear that cloud services will play a big role in Microsoft’s future.

Microsoft also announced that founder Bill Gates will step down as chairman of the board and take on a new Technology Advisor role to “devote more time to the company.” John Thompson, who led the new CEO search, will take up the mantle as chairman of the board.

Introducing the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella: msft.it/msceohttp://t.co/AmwwEpRoEY
Microsoft News (@MSFTnews) February 04, 2014

Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” Nadella said in a statement this morning. “The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”

An Indian immigrant and 22-year Microsoft veteran, Nadella led the development of the company’s cloud services, which serves as the backbone for things like Office 365, Xbox Live, and Bing. One of Nadella’s big challenges going forward will be to help Microsoft regain some relevance in the mobile world. Windows Phone has inched its way towards being the third-place smartphone platform, but that was mainly due to BlackBerry’s implosion and success in European markets.

Microsoft is a really complex business. … You’re never going to find a CEO who is going to do it all,” said Kevin Spain, a former Microsoft executive who previously worked with Nadella and now serves as a general partner at Emergence Capital Partners. “Instead, you need someone who is a great leader and a great teambuilder, and I think Satya is both of those things.”

Steven Sinofsky, the former Microsoft Windows head who was once considered a leading CEO candidate before he abruptly left the company last year, congratulated Nadella on Twitter this morning:

Congratulations to @satyanadella new $msft CEO! @ http://t.co/pSa4V0Zico
Steven Sinofsky (@stevesi) February 04, 2014

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Microsoft appoints Satya Nadella as its new CEO

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Who is John Chen, BlackBerry’s new CEO?

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BlackBerry is bringing in a fixer. The struggling smartphone maker has long been run by its own talent — a founder, an early investor, and a guy who worked his way up the ranks — but in about two weeks it will bring on its first outsider: John Chen. Chen is known for turning around failing companies, and he’ll soon be tasked with doing that yet again as BlackBerry’s interim CEO. His appointment comes alongside a failed takeover by Fairfax capital that couldn’t manage to attract any outside capital. Instead, Fairfax and a small group of investors are now pouring $1 billion more into the struggling phone maker, and betting big on Chen for a turnaround.

Though Chen has worked in a number of executive positions over the years, he’s best known for his time as CEO of the enterprise services company Sybase. Once a competitor to tech giants like Oracle, Sybase fell hard in the late ’90s. As Bloomberg Businessweek reported last year, Sybase’s fortunes were so bad that one research firm had pegged it with a 70 percent chance of failure when Chen stepped on board in 1998. The company was reportedly worth just $362 million then, but after 13 years under Chen it was acquired for $5.8 billion.

BlackBerry has already committed to focusing more on enterprise, and Chen’s appointment will likely accelerate that. It’s not far from how Chen managed to spur profits at Sybase, gradually moving the company into fast-growing areas like analytics and mobile services. Though these enterprise services rarely sound exciting, Chen’s insight was to see that there was money to be had in those areas not far down the road. “If you think that e-commerce was a big sea change in the early 2000s, [mobile]-commerce will make e-commerce a very small thing,” he told Network World in 2010.

… Drastic changes may not come to BlackBerry immediately. Chen has already said that he won’t be shutting down the company’s handset division, despite the fact that it’s losing money. But he believes that BlackBerry is positioned well enough to manage a turnaround. “I know we have enough ingredients to build a long-term sustainable business,” Chen tells Reuters this morning. Drawing on his prior experience, Chen brushes aside investors’ fears with aplomb, “I have done this before and seen the same movie before.”

When asked by Bloomberg Businessweek what might be coming next, Chen joked, “It’s going to be in technology, I don’t have any other skills.” Coy as his answer was, Chen is now back in the technology game and likely with more eyes on him than ever before. But if you’re in the business of betting on who could turn BlackBerry around — and Fairfax Financial definitely is — Chen’s not a bad choice to put your money on.

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Who is John Chen, BlackBerry’s new CEO?

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Chairman Eiko Hara quits helm of McDonald’s Japan

McDonald’s Co. (Japan) Ltd. President Eiko Harada has stepped down, with the post being taken over the same day by Sarah Casanova from the global hamburger chain’s Canadian unit.

Harada remains as chairman of McDonald’s Co. (Japan), the group’s Japanese operating unit, and will continue to manage the group in Japan as chairman and president of the holding company.

He said the reshuffle is aimed at “reinforcing management.”

“An important mission for me is to create my successor,” Harada said.

He stressed that Casanova, who served as an executive of McDonald’s Co. (Japan) and was in charge of the Malaysian and Singaporean markets before taking the new post in Japan, “has ample knowledge of the Japanese market and global business experience.”

After serving as president of the Japanese unit of Apple Computer Inc., which later became Apple Inc., Harada became vice chairman of McDonald’s Co. (Japan) in February 2004.

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Chairman Eiko Hara quits helm of McDonald’s Japan

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