We already know what you’re all thinking: ‘stop the bus, C’ette Culture said what!’.
Let’s get things straight from the top- we are talking about real bosses. So before you get things mixed-up, C’ette Culture is not talking about project managers, beloved department managers or supervisors. We’re not even talking about those with degrees or PHDs from the prehistoric ivy league institutions. We are talking about the original MVPs before the company had MVPs; you know, the people that laid the very first bricks to the empire before the high rise office buildings shot up. Those who earned that corner office bigger than your studio apartment, with the boardroom seat within walking distance. We are talking about those who nurtured that ‘idea-baby’ into a living breathing dynasty: yeah, that boss! Those visionaries that turn their passion and opportunities into profit, with a hunger to leave their own imprint on history.
ALL HAIL UBER
If ever there were a company that embodied the the mentality of a ‘real boss’ it would most definitely be the travel-on-demand tech phenomenon: UBER. Launched in California in 2009 with the dream of having a continuous and trackable cab service that is ready exactly when we are, at any time of the day via a simple mobile app. This business model seems quite logical to today’s consumer but this new commonplace practice has only really revolutionised the commuter experience in the last decade. The capitalisation of this gap in the marketplace is what has granted the company a powerful presence in over 479 global cities, in over eighty countries- generating the tech service firm a stock market valuation in the region of $70 Billion.
And yes, we do acknowledge that the company has been embroiled in legal issues with its own drivers in the last few years, and the group will not appear on the Christmas gift lists of certain nations like France, Germany or China, heck the city of London is trying to put the young millennial company in time-out. Yet it is still the cool kid on the block that is kicking economic butt and taking names wherever it goes globally.
DI-VER-SI-FI-CA-TION : The Sound of Progression
Firstly, let’s remember that Uber is a tech company before anything else. Primarily it provides a monitored cab service to its
fans user base to enhance the efficiency, security and convenience in the commuter experience. Like UBER, real bosses know that it’s all about finding, creating or simplifying a product/service that meets the needs of the people, gives the brand and product something of its own unique identity amongst the crowd, or simply creating something completely new altogether. Once established real bosses try and find new ways to keep their customers hooked into their community by creating, or further developing relevant product ranges and brand extensions that their desired audience also identifies as useful; efficient; easier; better.
Exploring options focused on adding or improving value, particular qualities and efficiency to its services, global players like UBER learn to experiment further afield and tap into different, more lucrative pastures for future payoffs- creating new fans and customers in the process. For UBER these other offerings include things like:
*UBER RUSH– The on-demand courier service. Secure a messenger to your location, give delivery instructions and then hand over your package to be delivered by the messenger in record timing (Ps. only reasonably sized items- so no Baby Grand Pianos for delivery guys).
*UBER EATS– Another on-demand take away service that shows the status of an UBER users food order from listed restaurants on the app to their doorstep (have order within 30 minutes or money off the next order). With no need to tip you can pay for the service via your existing UBER account. It’s already in 16 major global cities including London, Paris, Singapore, San Francisco, and Toronto. Basically think of any major city in the world (tic-toc, tic-toc) and Uber EATS is probably there already.
*‘XCHANGE LEASING’ (a.k.a. UberBank). Already working with paypal on taxi app payments (2013), accepting payments by American Express reward points (2014), teaming up with Zopa on car loans for drivers in the far east , and managing cash payments in India since 2015- some financial eyebrows have been both raised and furrowed. To add more fuel to the fire UBER has started issuing bank loans solely for vehicle purchase in Vietnam, Japan and others (2016) in partnership with the Toyota Motor corporation. UBER’s fans, global markets and banks are waiting (and some dreading) for the day when the company officially admits that it wants to become its own Bank too.
*OTTO – self Driving cars. Pretty self explanatory we know, and to nobody’s surprise UBER has wasted little time in the driverless car race and has been testing its own automated cars in Pittsburgh, USA and north of the boarder. The test cars have been fitted with radar technology, environmental sensors, hi-resolution cameras, laser scanners and a ‘driver’s seat’ analytics system as part of its armoury. These UBER cars are currently scaling city streets and learning major city maps as we speak. UBER’s artificial intelligence is undoubtedly going places.
BOSSES WITH ‘UBER’-SMART’S
These are some of the guys and gals who are building empires right under our noses, with respective portfolios spanning from music and entertainment, to tech, venture capital and wealth management, all the way to moon. Yes, you read it right- the moon!
Sean ‘Jay Z’ Carter (he’s more than a hustler)
Estimated net worth: $810 Million
In his early years Mr Carter used his quick wit, sharp networking and negotiation skills in the streets of New York before entering the music world. Once he asserted his dominance in the industry through his very own record label, he started venturing early into the world of movie production, boutique alcohol brands and fashion- so it wasn’t a hard-knock life after all! The Bruce Wayne of the music industry has many fingers firmly placed in pies that we can not even begin to fathom. This icon is more than an artist- he’s a well informed, well-skilled serial owner of whatever it is he chooses to invest in. So our clear response to his jazzy classic ‘Can I Live’, from the multi-platinum debut album ‘Reasonable Doubt’ is: yes Mr Carter, you can…a whole heck of a lot!
Industries: Music, Television and Film, Advertising, Fashion, Food and Beverage, Sports Management, Technology, Investments and other consultancy
Brands: RocNation group of brands, 40/40 Club(s),Tidal Music,Translation Media Agency, Arsenal F.C., Brooklyn Nets (…and the list literally goes on. No, seriously!).
Ashton Kutcher (his business acumen can’t be Punk’d)
Estimated net worth: $200 Million- $250 Million
Contrary to popular belief models are more than just pretty faces, or materialistic air-heads. Kutcher, a former runway model, is well known in A-list circles to have a surprisingly high IQ and futurist mindset. Originally studying to be a Biochemical engineer in college (i know, right ?) he took on modelling as one of his many odd jobs to pay the bills at the time. His big break came when he landed his role as Kelso on hit TV series ‘That 70’s Show’, and spun off the mischievous nature of his character’s role on the US sitcom into his own comedic reality show ‘Punk’d’ (which he directed and produced in partnership with MTV). The opportunities he created for himself and his staff by directing and producing projects for mainstream TV stations and global movie production studios has generated enough wealth for him to fund, invest and capitalise on his other passion: technology (via his venture capital group ‘A-Grade Investments). Kutcher has part ownership in major tech companies used by the #Cultured, including brands and services like Skype, FourSquare and many many others. So it was only fitting that he was cast to play Apple’s founder in his most recent movie ironically called ‘Jobs’- something Kutcher will probably never need again.
Industries: Fashion, Television and Film, Technology, Venture capital and Investments
Brands: Katalyst Films, Katalyst Media, A-Grade Investments, Sound Ventures
Jennifer Lopez (Her love may not cost a thing- but her initials do!)
Estimated net worth: $360 Million
Beginning her career as a back up dancer for pop artists J.Lo kept herself busy and built up her name and brand as a performer to the point that she started touring the States and Europe with Janet Jackson. Lopez’s big break came from the silver screen in the movie ‘Selena’ where she starred in the biographical piece on late Latin music legend and songstress. The movie was a box office hit and catapulted Jennifer from the background to the forefront in Hollywood and Latin-American media. Her biggest fan came in the form of Sony Music exec Tommy Mattola, who gave Lopez her first record deal (in which she released the globally charted top 10 hit single ‘Waiting for Tonight’ on her first studio album).
Known as the hardest working woman in the business by this stage (due to her heavy film and music recording schedules), Lopez understood that she could centralise her brand to her loyal fan-base and community by introducing other offerings and brand extensions through other means: from fashion to fragrances, self-directed and produced films and TV shows, along with a Latino-focused mobile communications empire. With her success and special influence in the Latin community Jenny from the block now commands some of the biggest buck$ not only online and in entertainment, but on Madison Avenue; her initials even have a section of the Hollywood Walk-of-Fame amongst other assets. So we guess she is ‘…gonna be alright’.
Industries: Music, Television and Film, Fashion, Telecommunications
Brands: J.LO (couture, perfumes and accessories), Nuyorican Productions, Viva Movil
Kevin Hart (laughing all the way to the bank)
Estimated net worth: $120 Million
Hart, a Philadelphia native was born into very humble beginnings in a not so funny set of circumstances. During a spout of odd jobs, including working as a shoe salesman, even training to be a male stripper, Hart took centre stage entering comedy competitions across the east-coast of the States. Funnily enough Kev’s big break came through music mogul and fellow serial entrepreneur Damon Dash under the Rocafella Entertainment brand- casting him in a series of independent movies and cult classics like ‘Paper Soldiers’, along with a cameo on music industry documentary ‘Death of a Dynasty’.
Since the early 2000’s the stars of Tinstletown have shone favourably on Mr Hart and his craft, as he steamrolls through Hollywood slam-dunking one big silver-screen blockbuster after another.This is all while ‘bionic Kev’ manages his fully functional international comedy tours each year; rumour has it that Kevin’s schedule is so hectic and pre-booked that he has a two-year waiting line formed of mainly movie directors and tour bookings (…we’re pencilled in somewhere between- probably and never, in May 2020!).
Not surprisingly that’s not all about Kevin. This Hart has many veins to the money supply and coincidentally his next big focus is now on health and fitness. The star turned athlete is now the newest major powerhouse player for team Nike- and boy is he proving to be their King of Harts on a social media front. By leveraging his 52 million social media followers to actively engage with him at global fitness events (hosted and part-sponsored by himself and his partners at Nike), he is proactively incorporating this particular sportswear company into his lifestyle essential brand that successfully targets followers, and interactively studies its desired market using its products at events in real time. Every marketer’s day-dream. Even then the madness doesn’t stop with Kevin. Due to the global success of his lifestyle fitness programme it is believed that he has secured, and is personally managing the global brands and contracts of the fitness trainers involved in his Run With Hart company. Gravy-train or what?! With a savvy portfolio like his, he can clearly laugh at all of our pain every single day for the rest of his life. Well done Kev!
Industries: Entertainment, Film, Sportswear, Health Nutrition and Fitness
Brands: Hartbeat Productions, Hussle Harts footwear (Nike partnership), and Move With Hart promotions
Jeff Bezos (He roars, and the Amazon Echo’s)
Estimated net worth: $93.1 Billion
The guy who dethroned the great Warren Buffett to the second richest man in America, and the new richest man in the world (according to analysts at Forbes) is this millenniums man to watch.
After choosing to leave a lofty high-roler banking analyst job just one year earlier, his company- Amazon, was started quietly by Bezos in a Seattle Washington garage in July 1994- a thousand miles north of the newly developing tech mecca of Silicon Valley. Selling all types of books and textbooks with the mantra of ‘Get-big-fast’ he soon started selling toys, tech and even went as far as selling second-hand military tanks. The site was on organic grass roots success due to the fame it received from its customers and fans by pure word of mouth promotion around its service efficiencies. However, with all its success the company was mainly in debt and close to bankruptcy throughout the 90’s, and most stock markets from Wall Street to Tokyo actually bet that Bezos and the company would fail. That is until 2002 when Amazon finally posted a profit as a business. The grey cloud over this prime player moved and allowed money to finally grow on Amazon’s tree’s, and the profits to be shared by its shareholders.
With a fresh surplus of cash and a company culture that invests heavily in R&D, Bezos and his rock star company began creating new ways to thank and excite its loyal customers of the weird and wonderful. New offerings such as: Kindle, Prime services, AmazonFresh, Zappos- and many many others were slowly making his company’s services an essential part of the world’s daily living. But typically like any real boss, Bezos has continued to look forward, thinking further afield on how to please his present and unconverted fans. With this in mind his extended industrial pursuits now focuses on the world of travel and the commuter experience. Even though Amazon will give the world driverless cars, drone delivery services and the like, that is not the final end game. Ladies, gentlemen, and the #Cultured please get on your feet and put your hands together for…BLUE…ORIGIN. This is the secret weapon, and love child shared by Amazon and NASA that is rarely ever talked about, or spoken of. It is Blue Origin – the space exploration company for the general public that will cement Bezos as the real ‘Boss’ that did it all- from online, to in store, at the wheel and in space.
Industries: E-Commerce, News Media, Aerospace Exploration, Automotive
Brands: Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, Kindle, Zappos
So for the budding entrepreneur in us all, and for the entrepreneurs at other stages in the journey to ‘bossdom’ its fair to say that it takes more than reading books to be in business. There is no real science behind running your own business as no two company’s stories are ever the same, whether it be a coffee shop in a small town or globally floated company on the stock market. But, as a real boss it’s up to you to decide what your company is passionate about or good at, it’s up to you to formulate a business plan towards that dream, its up to you how far your company’s service offering stretches, its up to you to network, and more importantly its up to you to put in the work whether or not people are looking.
Looking at your business, or business plan right now (no matter how big or small) honestly ask yourself these 2 questions:
- Are these the only customers my business can truly serve?
- Am I using my opportunities like a real boss?