Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky: How the Top 1% of Entrepreneurs Profit from Global Chaos

Sarah Lacy

Language: English

Pages: 242

ISBN: 0470580097

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


An unforgettable portrait of the emerging world's entrepreneurial dynamos Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky is the story about that top 1% of people who do more to change their worlds through greed and ambition than politicians, NGOs and nonprofits ever can. This new breed of self-starter is taking local turmoil and turning it into opportunities, making millions, creating thousands of jobs and changing the face of modern entrepreneurship at the same time. To tell this story, Lacy spent forty weeks traveling through Asia, South America and Africa hunting down the most impressive up-and-comers the developed world has never heard of....yet. The individuals profiled in Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky are distinct products of their own cultures, yet they share that same unmistakable cocktail of delusion, ambition, and brilliance that drove Bill Gates, Fred Smith, Donald Trump, and every other iconic American entrepreneur of the last few decades.

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recent years. It’s easy to say Tencent is overvalued, but it’s also clear that no other single Internet company is positioned to dominate the world’s largest online market in the same way. Here’s the more amazing thing about Tencent: The core of its business is instant messaging—a product that AOL, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Facebook have never figured out how to monetize. Everyone calls Chinese search company Baidu the Google of China, but in a broader sense, Tencent is closer to pulling

percent of the phones are prepaid. That’s the best kind of customer, because they get their money upfront. The result has been staggering: The cost of calls is down to a fraction of a penny per second, as these companies have found a way to make money charging users an average of $6 per month. In the United States, carriers need an average revenue of $50 per user per month to make money. There is also the phenomenon of the missed call. Many Indian cell phone plans only charge when someone makes

a few rupees, and Lal tosses the customer the desired, tiny treasure. Before independence, India was a feudal society made up of hundreds of kingdoms and princes. Today in places that live paycheck to tip to handout, people are still focused around one, central person who provides just enough for them to make it. The prince has given way to the corner grocer. And in modern India, that thing Lal’s customers are coming here to buy is almost always something that costs just a few rupees and fits in

everyone wants to get in, and the town has passed rules saying that only those living there now or born there can be residents. Back in 1995, only 12 families were above the poverty line. Now, only three are below it. Farmers growing onions, potatoes, peas, and tomatoes are even using the Hiware Bazar brand at the market to fetch a higher price. And they’ve discovered new crops. Our guide plucked some woodsy looking bark and held it up to my nose. I breathed in an unexpected flowery, earthy

billion. She flew to see the bank’s officers and told them she would pay it off if it took her last drop of blood. Today her company does more than $100 million in revenues, having grown 20 percent in 2007, 2008, and 2009. A lot of that is due to her male CEO Hartanto Santosa; Tilaar admits she is more a visionary than a manager. The two clash from time to time, as Santosa is motivated by business and Tilaar is motivated by cause. Hers is a stubborn idealism. Fifteen years ago, the company

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