Archive for May, 2014


science man with gas bottles

EVERYONE loves an underdog. And perhaps nowhere better than in business, where ideas are routinely rubbished only to have the entreprenuer forge on and make millions anyway.

From Seinfeld to Nespresso coffee pods and Gmail, there are countless examples of ideas that were a hard sell at first but went on to succeed.

We’ve picked six of our favourites to show it’s never worth giving up on a great idea.


Home computers

Computers were enormous, energy-sapping clunky machinery back in 1977 when Digital Equipment Corp Ken Olsen famously said there was “no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

set up in home office

Needless to say computers have become an integral part of home life, with more than five billion devices around the world using WiFi alone. Mr Olsen claims the quote was taken out of context, but it’s often referenced as one of the most spectacular future fails of all time, particularly coming from the CEO of a computer company. DEC was sold to Compaq in 1998.


Anything Apple


iPods? Gone by next Christmas. iPhones? They’ll never happen. Tablets? I don’t think so.

Apple has made a business strategy out of proving naysayers wrong, from business mogul Sir Alan Sugar who said the iPod would be “kaput” by the end of 2005 to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who declared “there is no chance the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”

Fast forward to 2014 and Apple is worth $510 billion, Steve Ballmer is no longer at Microsoft and Alan Sugar is running the UK version of The Apprentice.


Books about wizards

HARRY POTTER & COMPANY IMAGE image www.acbocallcentre.com

He’s one of the world’s most beloved characters, but Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and their whole magical world might never have come to light were it not for the daughter of a publishing agent who took a shine to the books.

JK Rowling was resoundly rejected by publishers for her idea, told no one wanted to read books about witches and wizards anymore. But she struck it lucky when the chair of Bloomsbury gave the manuscript to his daughter to read and she finished it and asked for the next.

JK Rowling of harry potter fame photo image www.acbocallcentre.com

The seven books went on to sell more than 400 million copies and JK Rowling is now worth $1 billion with websites published in eight languages.


Wine in a cup

glasses of wine image www.acbocallcentre.com

The notion of selling wine in a plastic cup with a tear-off foil lid was rubbished as “tacky” by judges on the UK Dragons Den who grilled packaging expert James Nash over his financial projections.

But Mr Nash, who dreamed of a plastic cup that could be bought once and re-filled so users can sip their favourite chardonnay at festivals, sports events and the races, was undeterred.

After being dismissed by the dragons he went on to negotiate an undisclosed exclusive deal with UK supermarket giant Marks & Spencer. The company now sells them in Hong Kong and reports at least one glass is sold every minute, according to the

Wall Street Journal


When no one wanted to buy his precious invention he manufactured it himself, before it got into mainstream stores and became a bestseller.

He’s since gone on to perfect other devices like the bladeless fan and still owns 100 per cent of the company.

Despite his success Mr Dyson told Inc he doesn’t love the business side of things, but prefers “living on the edge” like a true entrepreneur.

“All those years that my house was in hock to the bank … I liked the danger, the idea that everything depended on getting that next product right in every way,” he said.


Vacuum cleaners without bags

bagless vacumn cleaner image www.acbocallcentre.com

Before he was the knighted owner of a billion dollar company, Sir James Dyson could have been the poster boy for failure.

The dogged entrepreneur started working on perfecting the vacuum cleaner in 1979 after he bought the best one on the market and discovered it was “essentially useless.”

Sir James Dyson inventor of bagless vacumn cleaner photo www.acbocallcentre.com

He wanted to create one that worked without a bag and spend five years obsessing over creating a prototype while his wife supported them as an art teacher.


Henry Sapiecha

Photographer Brendan Beirne thought he might be lucky to snap a few frames of billionaire James Packer arriving at his Bondi home on Sunday afternoon.

james packer face colseup image www.acbocallcentre.com

But within five minutes of pulling up outside Packer’s multimillion-dollar beachside pad, Beirne was snapping away furiously, not believing the scene that was playing out before his lens.

In photographs captured by Beirne and now seen around the world, Australia’s richest man was shown trading blows furiously with the head of the Nine Network, David Gyngell, in a fight that left Packer with a black eye and one of the pair missing a tooth.

Fisticuffs: James Packer.Fisticuffs: James Packer. Photo: Bohdan Warchomij

“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it because I knew I had shot some pretty powerful pictures of these guys, but it was just so left field, so unexpected,”  Beirne, who co-owns photo agency Media Mode, told Fairfax Media.

“My jaw just dropped. I thought ‘Wow, what just happened?’ I had no idea why it had gone down or anything.”

In fact, so unexpected was the brawl between the long-term friends that Beirne at first thought they were playfighting.

James Packer sports a black eye as he leaves his Bondi Beach home on Tuesday morning.James Packer sports a black eye as he leaves his Bondi Beach home on Tuesday morning. Photo: INFphoto.com

“I thought ‘James has met his mate and they’re just having a friendly punch’, but I pretty quickly realised that wasn’t the case,” Beirne said.

He estimated the fight only went for three minutes, during which he took about 300 photographs, 50 of which were “good ones”. His colleague Sione Chown, who was across the road, captured part of the fracas on video.

They later sold their work to News Corp Australia for an estimated $200,000.

'I was in shock': Brendan Beirne.
‘I was in shock’: Brendan Beirne.

The afternoon turned out very differently to how Beirne had imagined. He had been tipped off that afternoon that Packer had landed at Sydney Airport after an international trip.

“I knew he had landed at the jet base at his private jet earlier so I had been alerted and I was at the house waiting. I had only been there, like, five minutes,” Beirne said.

He saw a man he thought may be Gyngell, who was bare foot and sporting a beard, sitting on the back of a car outside Packer’s house, but didn’t pay much attention.

A tearout of the front page of Tuesday's The Daily Telegraph. The images were taken by Brendan Beirne and Sione Chown, and handled by Media Mode.A tearout of the front page of Tuesday’s The Daily Telegraph. The images were taken by Brendan Beirne and Sione Chown, and handled by Media Mode.

“He was sitting at the back of his car on the phone, just kind of hanging around looking relaxed. He didn’t look like a threat or anything so I didn’t really take any notice of what he was doing,” Beirne said.

“Then James comes back and his car parks next to him, and as James gets out of his car and walks towards the house he takes a couple of steps and suddenly spins around and they’re on each other. It was just totally out of the blue, very unexpected for me.”

The fight ended when Packer walked inside and Gyngell drove off “looking pretty relaxed”.

“He didn’t look like he had just been in a fight,” Beirne said.

Another witness, Chris Walker, had just returned home from lunch when a “crazy person out the front of my house starts screaming obscenities”.

“In amongst those obscenities was ‘I’m going to knock your block off’ and ‘I’m out the front of your house’ and, of course,  that draws anybody to their balcony to see what’s going on,” Mr Walker said.

From his second-storey balcony across the road from Packer’s house, Mr Walker watched as Packer’s limousine pulled up beside Gyngell.

“The limo doesn’t quite pull up to a stop before the door flings open and Mr Packer’s out and Mr Gyngell is running across the footpath, and they are at it like two dogs at each other’s throat. Punches flying and people getting hurt,” Mr Walker said.

“Then the limo driver jumps out and jumps on Mr Packer’s back to try and pull them apart, and the security guy tries to get involved and they all fall down.

Because everyone was lying on Mr Gyngell, he surrendered and groaned and then they all just slowly moved apart. Mr Packer walked inside and My Gyngell walked over to his car and drove off quite sedately.”

Asked who instigated the fight, Mr Walker said: “You know what, I think the first punch was thrown on the telephone”.

“It was surreal. At night, drunk people fight in Bondi. It’s part of our community culture. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just part of what happens very late at night in Bondi. But 2 o’clock in the afternoon, a celebrity out the front of their place, that’s a stretch. That’s new,” Mr Walker said.

After Mr Packer went inside and Mr Gyngell drove away, a security guard started looking through the grass, possibly for teeth, where the fight had occurred, Mr Walker said.

“He was obviously looking for something very small and, because it was Mr Packer, I doubt whether it was a $2 coin. I did hear someone hit the concrete wall when they all fell down. Later on somebody did find … a denture,” he said.

Mr Walker, who works as an executive coach to business people, said it was a very sad day

“It is very sad for leadership in Australia that two people who are supposed to be icons haven’t got the wherewithal to take this private,” he said.

Henry Sapiecha