The 10 Greatest Entrepreneur

The 10 Greatest Entrepreneur

John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller was the richest man in history by most measures. He made his fortune by squeezing out efficiencies through horizontal and vertical integrations that made Standard Oil synonymous with monopoly.

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie loved efficiency. From his start in steel, Carnegie's mills were always on the leading edge of technology. Carnegie combined his superior processes with an excellent sense of timing, snapping up steel assets in every market downturn.

Thomas Edison

There is no doubt that Edison was brilliant; however, it was his business sense, not his talent as an inventor, that clearly shows his intelligence. Edison took innovation and made it the process now known as research and development.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. He was one of a group working on motorcars and, arguably, not even the best of them. However, these competitors were selling their cars for a price that made the car a luxury of the rich.7 Ford put America–not just the rich–on wheels, and unleashed the power of mass production. His Ford Model T was the first car to cater to most Americans.8

Charles Merrill

Charles E. Merrill brought high finance to the middle class. After the 1929 crash, the general public had sworn off stocks and anything more financial than a savings account.

Sam Walton

Sam Walton picked a market no one wanted and then instituted a distribution system no one had tried in retail. By building warehouses between several of his Wal-Mart (WMT) stores, Walton was able to save on shipping and deliver goods to busy stores much faster.

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab, usually known as "Chuck," took Merrill's love of the little guy and belief in volume over price into the internet age. When May Day opened the doors for negotiated fees–all broker trades had previously been the same price–Schwab was among the first to offer a discount brokerage for the individual investor.

Walt Disney

The 1920s found Walt Disney on the verge of creating a cultural juggernaut. A gifted animator for an advertising company, Disney began creating his own animated shorts in a studio garage.14 Disney created a character inspired by the mice that roamed his office, Mickey Mouse, and made him the hero of "Steamboat Willie" in 1928.

Bill Gate

When people describe Bill Gates, they usually come up with "rich," "competitive," and "smart." Of the three traits, it's Gates' competitive nature that has carved out his fortune. Not only did he fight and win the operating system (OS) and internet browser wars, but Gates stored up the profits that came with the victories–and Microsoft's dominance–to fund future fights and ventures.

Steve Job

Steve Jobs co-founded Apple (AAPL), one of the only tech companies to offer a significant challenge to Microsoft's dominance. In contrast to Gates' methodical expansion, Jobs' influence on Apple was one of creative bursts. Apple was a computer company when Jobs returned to it.