[VIDEO] Charles Huang, founder of Guitar Hero telling his story

Charles Huang and his brother started Red Octane in 1999, and in 2005 created Guitar Hero which became one of the most successful video games of all time, grossing over $5 billion and selling over 90 million units worldwide.

In this hour-long interview, Charles discusses how he started, the challenges he faced starting and growing Red Octane, and includes many details about managing a company that are rarely aired or printed.

This is an amazing interview that any entrepreneur must watch. Thank you Startup Grind for putting this together!

[VIDEO] Divya Narendra, CEO and Founder of SumZero discussing business plans

Divya Narendra, the CEO and founder of SumZero spent his time after college working for a hedge fund firm. But he couldn’t shake entrepreneurial bug that started when he cofounded The Harvard Connection, which then turned into Facebook, during his undergraduate days at Harvard.

In this video, Divya is meant to discuss business proposals at Yale Graduate Writing Center, but in addition elaborates on many vital elements of starting a business. This hour-long interview is well worth for anyone thinking of starting their own company. If you are interested in learning more about starting a business, consider this.

The 400 richest people in America

Warren Buffett, US taxpayer, Fortune 400, tax rateIn 2007, the 400th richest person in America made $138 million while in 1992, the 400th richest person made $24 million. What do most of these people do? According to the IRS, which released 2009 data from the 400 richest individual income tax returns, about 50% of the 400 richest people in America made their income from capital gains (stocks, property, and profit from the increase in value of their investments). Less than 10% made their wealth from traditional wages.

 

Interestingly, the tax rate on capital gains had been decreasing over the last two years. In 1990, the capital gains tax rate was 28 percent, 20 percent in the latter half of the 1990s. and 15 percent under George W. Bush. This is one of the reasons why the average income of the “Fortune 400” grew by 650% between 1992 and 2007 while the average salary did not double. Also, this group of top earners is paying taxes today at just over a third of the tax rate they paid in 1955.

Conclusion: If you know what you are doing, investment in capital gains can be extremely rewarding. Check out how to make money in the stock market!

 

US taxpayer, Fortune 400, tax rate, Average income US taxpayer, Fortune 400, tax rate

 

Read more:

For Top 400 U.S. Taxpayers, a Near-Record Year

Taxes Paid by the Highest Paid Americans

 

How not to be a leader

A leader is responsible for understanding the parts that make a sum, and making them work as one. The stronger the leader, the stronger the parts, and the stronger the team.

Monday night, after watching the most despicable football in some 16 years, I can clearly illustrate why teams lose because of lack of leadership. With Michael Vick and Andy Reid sleeping on the job, an enthusiastic 10-yr old could have led the team better than those two did.

Michael Vick, Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles

— Michael Vick and Andy Reid sleeping on the job.
Eric Hartline-US Presswire

Trailing by two scores with 7:00 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Eagles had the ball and plenty of time to try and defeat the mighty Drew Brees and New Orleans Saints. A great team would have immediately started running their no-hurdle offense, thrown the ball to the outside in an effort to score quickly and save valuable time on the clock. A good team would have used a timeout, or tried to slow the clock down as they attempted a comeback. A ridiculously awful team such as the Eagles would throw the ball 5 yards down the middle, play after play, and casually walk up to the line of scrimmage as if they just left a quiet, little café in Amsterdam after a dessert of special brownies.

The entire Eagles team is to blame as not one of the 11 players on the field hussled to the start the next play, but as was reaffirmed with the Concordia disaster, the blame for failure always falls on the team’s captain. In the case of Eagles, Michael Vick is the captain on the field and Andy Reid as head coach is supposed to be the brains behind the operations running the show on the sidelines. But neither of them cared about the rest of the team, the fans, or to be successful that night. Every time the camera would show Andy Reid on the sideline, all the viewers saw was a motionless man who looked as if he were nothing more than a standing, mummified statue. He just stood in place, no passion, no drive, and seemed to forget how to blink. Same with Vick, who on the field looked as if he were trying to lose on purpose.

For this, Vick should be benched and Reid should be fined by the Eagles’s owner as their actions are unacceptable. And for those of you reading this, to be a successful leader, do the exact opposite of what Vick and Reid did that night.

 

Apple: A ship without its captain

Tim Cook, Apple, CEO

Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO

Since Steve Jobs’s death one year ago, Apple’s stock price has increased 80% and catapulted the company to be the most valuable company in the world. Many will argue that this is case and point of Tim Cook’s success as the new leader of Apple. But the truth is, Tim Cook’s success can only begin to be measured, as the success of Apple over the past year was largely predestined by plans and products set forth before Steve Jobs past away.

Anyone in business would understand that it takes time to see the true abilities of a leader come to fruition. Depending on the institution’s size it could a couple months or a couple years, all depending on the programs that will proceed with any individual after the incumbent has left. In the case of Tim Cook, he has done exactly what he should have done that resulted in Apple’s tremendous growth and that is ride the wave Steve Jobs has already set in place.

While its too early to tell whether Cook is the right man for the job or not, some cracks in the empire Steve Jobs built are starting to be seen. Jobs was a fearless, and sometimes ruthless leader who knew what he wanted and would stop at nothing to get it accomplished. Like a horse with blinds, he only saw one direction, but that direction comprised of incredibly high standards, innovation, and building products for consumers that always worked well. He let very few people into his circle, and allowed very little information out of his company. In this tenure, Apple kept the names of its manufacturing partners under wraps. Many of his products, from laptops to the “i series” of iPods, iPhone, and iPad have refined the market and signal handedly created an industry worth trillions through its App Store. His business model has resulted in Apple stores being the most profitable retail shops in the world.

Cook’s first real test was the launch of the iPhone 5, and what a fail – comparatively speaking to Apple’s previous products – that was. Its back is much fun susceptible to damage due to the aluminum casing. After moving away from Google Maps for legitimate reasons, Apple’s rendition of Maps in iOS 6 achieved the same performance and outcome as this now famously failed restoration of the painting of Jesus:

Apple has also recently confirmed there is a problem with the iPhone 5 camera, which can show a “purple haze” in a picture taken using the phone.

Arguably, Tim Cook is on a learning curve, and yes, the company was never as big as this when Steve Jobs was at the helm, but Tim Cook has so far failed to provide the key ingredient of Jobs’s success, and that’s vision. He may be a great engineer, manager, or leader, but in order for Apple to continue its streak of innovation, Cook has to hold, or better the values and integrity that got the company here in the first place.

This is true for any company, and there are many current examples of how new individuals struggle and even fail following people as brilliant as Steve Jobs. For instance, Starbucks’s founder, Howard Schultz, left the company to new management who practically drove Starbucks into the ground. Since staging a successful coup and retaking the helm, Starbucks has shown phenomenal growth – synonymous to what happened when Steve Jobs stepped in to bring Apple out of the brink of extinction in the 1990′s.

Let’s take a look at Apple’s once mighty foe, Microsoft. Since Bill Gates left Steve Ballmer to run the show, Microsoft reported its first loss in twenty years! Once an innovator, Microsoft still hasn’t figured out a successful strategy to break into the smartphone market. They are like a sheep in a cage with a Godzilla and King Kong, respectively Apple and Google. Its gotten so bad, that Apple’s iPhone division alone makes more money than all of Microsoft. Bing? Let’s not even go there. Thank God they have XBox.

Cook and Ballmer are not bad guys, they are actually proven successful individuals. But it is extremely hard to fill the shoes of two geniuses such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. It is because of Steve Jobs’s unique philosophy to “think different” that makes it quite difficult for anyone to take over his role and achieve the same level of results.

Steve Jobs: Think Different

Today marks one year to the day that Steve Jobs, the man whose name will be forever etched in history for changing the way we live through his ideas and products, passed away of pancreatic cancer. Remembered by some for this genius and vision, and others for his arrogance, Jobs is responsible for creating the most valuable company in history and bringing the smartphone/tablet industry to life. With more cash than the U.S. government, Apple today is on its way to be the first company ever worth one trillion dollars. The company Jobs built has so much money, its iPhone division alone makes more money than all of Microsoft.

Jobs had many memorable moments, but none made as big of an impact on me as his commencement speech at Standford University in 1996. In his speech, Jobs reflected on what he knows best, how to think differently and follow your gut. He couldn’t have said it any better, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will connect in your future. Because believing the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even if it leads you off the well-worn path.” -Steve Jobs

 

Facebook’s distribution of wealth from its IPO

How rich did Facebook founders and investors get? Check out the chart below but remember – the numbers below are based on a stock price of $38. Since Facebook’s stock price plummeted and is currently hovering around $19, you need to cut these values in half.

Click on the images to see them in a larger scale.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, PayPal, LinkedIn, Accel Partners, Google, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

 

Mark Zuckerberg has come powerful friends….

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, PayPal, LinkedIn, Accel Partners, Google, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

If you haven’t read about why Facebook’s stock lost more value in three months than a baby loses teeth, check these out:

Facebook stock: Can the bleeding be stopped? (Part 1 of 2)

Facebook: STEAL THESE IDEAS! (Part 2 of 2)

35 Innovators under 35

E ach year, MIT’s Technology Review lists 35 influential innovators under the age of 35, from around the world. These bright, young personalities are already changing the way we think, work, and live and will continue to do so as they progress in their careers.

Some of the young innovators have developed consumer products already available such as Spotify and Dropbox, both of which are worth $4-5 billion each. Others have created products that haven’t been commercialized yet, such as an efficient combustion engine, while some have created new fields such as cameras that look around corners.

BusinessJad will focus on the innovators who have made successful consumer products, check out the list below:


Ben Silbermann, 30
Pinterest
Ben, who is surprisingly not a programmer, is the founder of Pinterest, which has more than 30 million active users monthly, and worth $1.5 billion. Silbermann led a group of engineers to develop Pinterest and had the vision to make this a successful social network.

Pinterest is the Facebook of images and interests. Users pin images of products or interests to your wall and then share it with friends. They can connect with other people of the same interests and as Silbermann puts it, help them “discover things that they didn’t know they wanted.”

This has been a huge success with retailers, as Pinterest has proven to increase the number of sales with more pins. Something neither Facebook, Google+, nor Twitter have been able to do.


Daniel Ek, 29
Spotify

Daniel Ek created Spotify as a result of what he calls a dumb question:  “How do you get people to pay for music that can, if illegally, be downloaded free—and without charging them for each song, the way Apple’s iTunes service does now?”

His eventual solution was Spotify, which has an estimated worth of $4 billion. Spotify is to Pandora as what Pinterest is to Facebook – it offers a similar experience of the already successful Pandora, adding several features that make it unique. For example, Spotify is more of a music playlist rather than a music radio (although Ek and team recently launched this functionality). It allows users to search for their music, and save it on a playlist available in the cloud. These playlists works in many countries around the world, while Pandora’s only market is America. Ek worked hard with record companies to give users access to an enormous amount of music, and currently offers about 16 million songs – 15X that of Pandora.


Drew Houston, 29
Dropbox

The number of young entrepreneurs that have walked into Apple’s headquarters before Steve Jobs passed away and said to the receptionist, “We’re here to see Steve”,  is limited.

Houston, founded of Dropbox.com, is one of those lucky individuals, who was invited by Steve Jobs himself. Apple intended to purchase Dropbox, but Houston refused. Why? Dropbox offers users the ability to seamlessly share files across the internet with other peers, while integrating with just about any operating system. A short time later, Apple unveiled its proprietary iCloud software, which essentially followed the lead of Dropbox. That may not have been such a bad idea as Dropbox is currently worth $4 billion, and more than 50 million users.

 


Click here to check out the full list of the 35 innovators under 35.

 

LEGO Celebrates 80th Birthday With Animated Short [VIDEO]

LEGO, the Danish toymaker, is celebrating its 80th birthday with an enlightening animated video about the company’s history for all to enjoy, just like their toys.

The 17-minute video describes LEGO through the eyes of its visionaries, who make up three generations Christiansens: Ole Kirk Christiansen, who created the company in 1932, his son Godtfred, LEGO’s second owner, and current owner Kjeld, the founder’s grandson.

LEGO’s history is reminiscent of their toys. There are endless possibilities of creativity with LEGO toys, and its visionaries took the same claim to heart. Fires and hard economic times plagued the company for much of its start, but with determination, focus, and creativity the Christiansen family continued to diversify their product line and bring a whole new meaning to lego, which means “I put together” in Latin.

The LEGO story is full of lessons vital to run and grow a successful company, lessons that are shared by other great companies today. Just like Apple, some key takeaways from the LEGO story are the importance of making ideas come to life, and quality products.

Enjoy the full video!

Congrats Michael Phelps! How much money did he and other Olympians make?

Congratulations Michael Phelps for becoming the Olympian with the most medals (21) and winning gold 17 times! So how much does Michael Phelps make from his victories? According to WikiAnswers, the USA gives $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. That’s not bad, $425,000 from the gold medals alone!

But according to some recent reports, Michael Phelps is going to have to pay $9,000 per gold medal. That’s crazy, especially since it’s not a fraction of the cost gold finalists from Singapore receive.

Reward for Olympic medals by countries in dollars:

**The numbers below have not been independently verified and are a combination of rewards for the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.**

  • Singapore: Gold medal, $708,800
  • Philippines: – Gold medal, $340,900
    •  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday raised the Olympic incentive to 15 million pesos (340,909 U.S. dollars) for any Filipino athlete who gets a gold medal in Beijing.
  • Malaysia: Gold medal, $307,000
    • Malaysia, which has never won an Olympic gold medal, is offering a bonus of one million ringgit (307,000 dollars) to any athlete who can bring home the top prize from this year’s Beijing Games.
  • Thailand: Gold medal, $300,000
    • Thai gold medallist at the Beijing Olympics will be rewarded of 10 million baht (about 300,000 U.S. dollars), runner-up will get a six million baht bonus and bronze medallist four million baht.
  • United Arab Emirates: Gold medal, $272,000
    • Also silver medal winners would be paid just over $200,000 while those winning bronze would get $136,000.
  • Russia: Gold medal, $100,000
    • Russian gold medallists at the upcoming Beijing Olympics are to get a bonus of 100,000 dollars (63,700 euros), Russian Olympic supremo Leonid Tiagachov said.
  • Japan: Gold medal, $100,000
  • Bulgaria: Gold medal, $76,620
    • Every Bulgarian athlete who wins a gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will receive a 100 000 leva bonus from the Bulgarian state.
  • China: Gold medal, $51,000
    • Central sports officials in China have not said how high the bonuses they give will be, but the Chinese-language Sports Weekly reported they are likely to hand gold medal winners 350,000 yuan ($51,000) each, plus big payments shared out from sponsors.
  • Dominican Republic: Gold medal, $30,000
    • Winners could also get a car. It is the first time the Dominican government has made such an offer.
  • USA: Gold medal, $25,000
    • The USOC gives $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.
  • Australia: Gold medal, $20,000
    • Australian Olympians are expected to get a $20,000 government bonus for gold medals at Beijing – less than winners from the USA, Japan, Germany, Israel, Thailand, Malaysia, Greece and Russia.