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6 Garages That Changed The World

6 Garages That Changed The World

Everyone loves a rags to riches story. The majority of us aren’t royalty or offspring of oil barons, but spend our time merely attempting to make ends meet while trying our best to make the most of our time while we’re here. That’s why when we see a story of triumph, like a journey from modest pastures to fields of great success, we find it awe-inspiring.

Here were people, just like us, who with great vision, sacrifice and innovation, seized an opportunity to achieve. Funnily enough, nothing can typify this sentiment more than the spawning of some of the world’s biggest and most influential companies. Many of them started out in very humble workplace arrangements. It’s hard to believe. When we think of the big corporations and conglomerates of today, we think of skyscrapers and executive living, not computers paired alongside pedestal fans and gardening equipment. It’s truly amazing that some of the world’s leading companies, of which arguably bear influence over the direction of mankind, all began operating out of a home garage.

Don’t believe it? Read on to see how the modern world was defined and changed all thanks to a few trusty lock up, (we hope), garages!

1. Google

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Google Office California

    It’s September 1998, and a couple of Stanford graduates, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, decide to rent a garage from a friend, Susan Wojcicki. They worked day and night over the following months to develop an online search engine called ‘Google’. Their goal was to create a platform that could pull all the information on the web into one portal accessible for anyone (and anywhere) that had an internet connection.

    Fast-forward 18 years and Google is the most used search engine available, as well as the most visited domain in existence. This was no accident. Page and Brin were not your average students – they were prodigies, blessed with capabilities worthy of transfiguring the world. Think about just how big Google is for a second. In your immediate surroundings, fathom how many people use it, need it, rely on it. Stats highlight that every minute that passes, 2 million searches are conducted on Google.

    Since its inception, Google has firmly cemented its global domination and is only getting bigger. They recently announced developments in things like basic artificial intelligence. This all stemmed from a small room attached to a house. For Page and Brin to succeed, all they needed was a garage setting to compliment and fuel their brilliant minds – and thus Google was born. When Google bought out Youtube, they made Ms. Wojcicki (their initial garage landlord) CEO as a token of appreciation.

    2. Microsoft

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    Microsoft Office Building

      It’s weird to think that Microsoft, creator of the most popular software in the world, with a market share of 80%, was conceived in the garage of a small suburb in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bill Gates, alongside friend Paul Allen, worked on a small software program in partnership with IBM. These early days lead to the creation of the landmark software application ‘Windows’.

      Microsoft is now one of the biggest companies in the world, worth several hundred billion in capital. More than a billion computers worldwide are running Windows. As the company constantly updates and refines its programs, it will no doubt get bigger. The company also channels a large amount of its wealth for philanthropic purposes. Microsoft, under the guise and encouragement of Gates, is always starting new charities to help aid and assist people or regions in need, most notably in Africa. Donations to notable causes and organisations are now a fundamental pillar in Microsoft’s company values. As of today, Microsoft is the leading software provider worldwide and has lead to Gates being dubbed the 4th most powerful man in the world. A simple garage is all it took to get it all going.

      3. Amazon

      Amazon Warehouse

        The story of Amazon is much like the river; long, meandering and wild, yet compelling and inspiring. Its founder, Jeff Bezos, worked in computer science on Wall Street throughout the early 90s, building networks in international trading. After being exposed to the rapid growth in internet based business, Bezos left his well paid job in New York in pursuit of his own venture, driving cross country to relocate in Seattle, drafting the formative plans for an internet-based shopping centre along the way. This road trip led to the creation of what is now the biggest online retailer in the world, Amazon.

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        Arriving in Seattle, Bezos set up shop in his garage, pooling together his ingenuity and creative resources to pave the way for a corporate juggernaut that is today the pinnacle of E-commerce and online shopping. The company sits around $65 billion in value, serving customers worldwide. Funny to think it all started from selling a book out of a garage. Now, people associate Amazon with the retailer more so than the breathtaking river.

        4. Disney

        A Disney Store in Paris

          In 1923, brothers Walt and Roy Disney, who were looking to start their careers as artists, politely asked their uncle if they could use his garage to make films (you know, as one typically does). Unsure of what exactly Walt and Roy were referring to, he kindly permitted. The works that were created in this garage, all due to the generosity of Walt and Roy’s uncle, would influence storytelling, filmmaking, and the worldwide landscape of media and entertainment. Their legacy continues to touch the hearts and imaginations of generations upon generations to this very day.

          This success, like all great stories, didn’t come without its challenges. There was a high chance the Disney company was going to be as prolific as Bambi’s mother’s screen time. Disney faced overwhelming rejection from investors in the early stages of production. However, the animated film eventually triumphed, and Disney became one of the highest earning film studios in the world. Today, it’s one of the biggest media entities, leading the way in family animation with Pixar and blockbuster entertainment with Marvel movies and Star Wars. All it took was great imagination, a generous uncle, and a modest garage to help inspire stories that touch our hearts still to this day and create a show business empire.

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          5. Apple

          Apple Store

            Probably the most popular garage story, a lot of us are very aware of Apple’s humble beginnings. Founder Steve Jobs, given the scarcity of the industry at the time, opted to work from his parents’ home garage to create ‘Apple’ along with pals Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. This was in negotiation and strict agreement with Steve’s adopted parents, Paul and Clara. This garage would become the birthplace of Apple 1, Apple’s first major computing product. This was the beginning of what would lead to a journey of worldwide technological advancement.

            Apple’s journey was one that encompassed tumultuous and cyclonic events in its early years, which saw creator, Jobs, leave and then later return to establish Apple as one of the biggest tech giants in the world. Innovative products like the ipod, macbook, iphone, imac, and ipad have transformed the way in which the world connects and engages. Apple’s success is best highlighted by the fact it was the first company in the United States to be valued at $700 billion and is the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by market capitalization. Next time you look at your iphone, or order a much needed coffee courtesy of an ipad, thank Paul and Clara Jobs for generously sub-letting their garage.

            Conclusion

            It’s overwhelming to think that the world has been so heavily influenced by inventions and innovations conceived in plain old garages. A room usually reserved for cars, storage, garden equipment, and unwanted furniture is also apparently a recurring source of creative, highly lucrative, and influential ideas. If you’re looking for an office space to fuel your startup or entrepreneurship, remind yourself of the admirable stories mentioned here, where creative geniuses opted for a garage over an overpriced feng shui workplace.

            By combining the wealth of these ideas created in garages, the figures reach north of several trillion dollars. Let that sink in. You can’t help but imagine what would’ve happened if the individuals mentioned throughout hadn’t locked their garage doors. Ideas are synonymous with theft, so if you decide to follow the footsteps of these great innovators from the contemporary world, be sure to research how to lock up, service, and maintain your garage.

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            Last Updated on December 5, 2018

            How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

            How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

            Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

            We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

            How do they do it?

            By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

            1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

            There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

            If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

            2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

            Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

            According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

            Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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            3. Demand Learning from Your Team

            CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

            “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

            His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

            Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

            “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

            Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

            4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

            Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

            Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

            • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
            • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
            • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
            • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
            • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
            • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

            5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

            Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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            Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

            • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
            • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
            • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
            • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
            • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

              “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

            Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

            6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

            The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

            Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

            You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

            7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

            Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

            But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

            On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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            • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
            • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
            • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
            • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

            8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

            Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

            When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

            9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

            The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

            What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

            Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

            10. Empower Your Employees

            Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

            They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

            Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

            You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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            If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

            11. Nurture Your Company Culture

            Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

            Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

            However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

            Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

            Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

            Be a Leader, Not a Boss

            Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

            However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

            In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

            Reference

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