The CEO is meant to evoke a sense of leadership and inspiration. They are meant to lead the company — in times of prosperity or peril — to growth and competitiveness. Naturally, the job is rife with difficult decisions and choices. Although the expectations for a CEO are relatively standardized, the path to the top of the C-suite is varied and diverse.
Below is a collection of videos in which famous CEOs — Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page (and Sergey Brin), and Steve Jobs — discuss some of the challenges they have faced along their journeys to create some of the most successful, recognizable companies in the world. Whether it is trips to space, parallels to the gold rush, or battles with cancer, each story has some key learnings.
Richard Branson on Life at 30,000 Feet:
Richard Branson is considered one of the most prolific and successful entrepreneurs today. The below video is an interview with Branson about his experiences — both professional and personal — while developing one of the world’s most recognizable brands. Learn about his focus on branding, his understanding of the difference between success and failure, and why he transitioned from records to airlines.
Steve Jobs on How to Live Before You Die:
Arguably one of the most famous graduation speeches of all time, Steve Jobs’ 2005 keynote at Stanford University blends a combination of personal and professional anecdotes to create insight into his thoughts on leadership, success, and Apple. Stay hungry.
Jeff Bezos on the Electricity Metaphor:
In this fun talk from 2003, Bezos focuses on the recent crash of the dot com bubble. At first glance, the bubble seems to resemble the 19th century gold rush — they both developed relatively quickly, generated phenomenal talent and ideas, and busted nearly overnight. But, Bezos sees the internet bubble as more closely aligned to the electric appliance industry. Have we moved past the 1908 Hurley Washing Machine?
Sergey Brin & Larry Page on the Genesis of Google:
Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page discuss the origin of Google, the global reach of their search engine, and some of best cultural qualities of Google — like smelly engineers and cultish ski trips. Unfortunately there are no allusions to Google Glass.