Since the 1950s, many U.S. companies have made money targeting baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964.
For the Gap's Donald Fisher, a key concept has always been "value." The company's definition of that word has changed over the years. When the Gap first opened in 1969, value meant a wide variety of blue jeans, particularly Levi's, in one store.
From the beginning, General Electric (GE) was a leader among U.S. companies.
During Jack Welch's twenty years as the leader of General Electric, he became one of the best-known business leaders in the world. He made GE more profitable and more valuable by making its management structure less complicated and by focusing on the businesses where the company was most efficient.
Over the course of nearly a century, General Motors (GM) has weathered more ups and downs and gone through more fundamental changes than most companies. GM has been the world's largest vehicle manufacturer since 1931, producing such brands as Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, and Oldsmobile.
For Jack Smith, the journey has taken place on a long and winding road filled with bumps and potholes. So far, he has been able to guide General Motors (GM) around the obstacles, taking it from near financial ruin in 1992 to a more efficiently run operation in 2002.
When three brothers decided to get into the greeting card business more than ninety years ago, very few people exchanged cards. Today, greeting cards have become big business with Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Joyce C. Hall always put quality first, whether it came to products, customers, or employees.
Harpo, Inc. is a privately held company owned by talk-show superstar Oprah Winfrey and her longtime lawyer, Jeff Jacobs.
From an early age, Oprah Winfrey was comfortable in front of crowds. Her ease with audiences while simply being herself helped her become the most popular talk-show host in the United States.
For many Americans, the word chocolate makes them think of Hershey's. Milton Hershey, the founder of the Hershey Foods Corporation, made his first milk chocolate bar an affordable treat customers could buy almost anywhere.
For the first part of his career, Milton Hershey struggled to succeed in the candy business. Despite his early failures, he never gave up.
Some of America's greatest cultural heroes are its basement inventors and self-made business owners. These people prove the claim that a good idea and hard work can lead to success.
When he formed Hewlett-Packard (HP) with his partner William "Bill" Hewlett (1913-2001), David Packard honored his personal pledge to advance science and technology. HP introduced several innovative products, including the handheld calculator and the ink-jet printer.
The subtitle of their 1999 book, Built From Scratch, tells their story in a nutshell: "How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew the Home Depot from Nothing to $30 billion." In this case, the "regular guys" are Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, longtime friends and founders of Home Depot, Inc. Since they started the company more than twenty years ago, the two men have weathered downturns in the economy, lawsuits, competition, and other adversities to become the world's largest chain of home improvement stores.
Bernie Marcus has indeed been successful, building the world's largest chain of home improvement stores in just under twenty-five years, aided by Arthur Blank, his friend and partner. And while the path to success did have obstacles, Marcus viewed the challenges as learning experiences that helped him become a better businessman and person.
Unlike his partner, Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank does not seem to enjoy being in the limelight. A great majority of the book Built From Scratch, which the pair wrote in 1999, is from the perspective of Marcus.
For millions of people around the world, breakfast includes a bowl of Kellogg's cereal. Starting with just one product, the Kellogg Company added many other items over the years, targeting sugar-coated cereal at children and offering bran and other healthy grains to adults.
Kmart began as one of the first discount stores. They were also called "five-and-dimes" because each item in the store could be purchased for five or ten cents.
In 1873, Western miners began buying a new kind of work pants made by Levi Strauss & Company. The rugged pants, made from blue denim, were called "waist high overalls"; today they are known as blue jeans or simply Levi's, and they are an international symbol of American freedom and casual style.
Levi Strauss's life is one of the great examples of the American immigrant success story. Through hard work, the willingness to take risks, and some luck, Strauss became one of the most prominent citizens of San Francisco at the end of the nineteenth century.
LL. Bean, Inc., an award-winning American mail-order and • clothing retailer, was founded over ninety years ago as a sportsmen's outfitter, selling waterproof boots for hunters.
L.L. Bean is a name recognized around the world, but not everyone knows there was a real person behind it.
Talking with a friend over long distances, whether by telephone, cellular phone, or computer, has never been easier thanks to the innovations developed by ancestors of Lucent Technologies. Lucent has roots reaching back to 1876, when inventors raced to build the first telephone.
Because of family tradition and upbringing, Alexander Graham Bell was, perhaps, destined to create one of the world's most commonly used inventions today: the telephone. He came from two generations of men who were students of speech and language and a hard-of-hearing mother who was a musician.