It is easy to believe that the famous companies we know today have been around forever.
Though they weren’t, their startup stories are like superheroes – unassuming, fascinating, and moving.
Here are a couple of things you didn’t know about businesses you know and love.
Half of the stake in Domino’s Pizza was once traded for a used car
James and Tom Monaghan founded Dominos and purchased a pizza restaurant called DomiNick’s for $500.
Earlier, James sold 50 percent of the right of the business to his brother for a used Volkswagen Beetle.
About 40 years later, Tom retired, so he sold most of his stake in the company.
His takeaway that his brother missed out on was one billion dollars!
What the FedEx founder did to save the company
Three years after Frederick Smith founded FedEx, increasing fuel costs pushed the business to the brink of bankruptcy – it was losing around $1M each month.
When the firm had $5,000 left, Smith brought the money to Las Vegas on a Friday night and played blackjack.
By Monday, he made $32,000, which was merely enough to cover fuel costs and resume operations for a couple of days.
This gave Smith enough time to raise money to keep the company alive.
In 1976 FedEx became profitable and now has an estimated value of around $25-35 billion.
Microsoft’s founder created a coding system that meant he spent most of his time with women
In high school, Bill Gates coded a lesson scheduling program to help decide who should be in which classes and when.
He modified the code to guarantee he ended up in classes with mostly female students.
Why Apple’s logo has a bite taken out of it
Have you ever wondered why Apple’s apple has a bite out of it?
The initial logo had Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree.
That was switched to the one we are familiar with today, an apple.
The bite was added to the silhouette to differentiate the fruit from a cherry.
Smirnoff was ‘white whiskey’
Smirnoff was initially a Russian business that changed to an American one in 1939.
At the time, Americans were massive whiskey drinkers and didn’t know much about vodka.
For that reason, it inspired a marketing idea: Smirnoff called itself “white whiskey,” one advantage was that it had “no smell, no taste.”
The drink became especially popular with people who desired to drink early in the day without reeking of alcohol.
Google’s algorithm was once called BackRub
Google’s ranking algorithm is PageRank, which allocates every page a rank that chooses the page’s fit in search engine results.
PageRank isn’t named after what it does, but after the co-founder, Larry Page.
What’s even weirder is that back in the day, it was called BackRub.
Why, did you ask? It referenced the underlying algorithm, which estimated backlinks as affirmative votes.
Ben & Jerry’s was a bagel company
Ben and Jerry were initially planning on launching a bagel company.
However, the supplies were so pricey that they switched paths, so instead invested $5 in a course on ice cream making from Pennsylvania State University.
Unbelievably, owner Ben Cohen has no sense of taste so uses “mouth feel” to decide whether his ice-cream is tasty or not.
This is why the ice-cream has big chunks of nuts, fruit etc.