The business world may appear to be stuffy from the outside, but it’s a lot more interesting than you might think. Many entrepreneurs are well-known for being outgoing personalities both at work and in their personal lives. After all, following the rules and staying within the lines isn’t always conducive to business success! Here are eight unusual things that entrepreneurs have done, ranging from winning seed money in a poker game to attempting to clone dinosaurs.
1. David Daneshgar Won Startup Funding Through Poker
What is the quickest way to raise $30,000? If you’re a card shark like David Daneshgar, you might want to enter a poker tournament. Daneshgar and two friends wanted to launch an online marketplace that connected florists with customers, but they lacked the necessary startup capital. So Daneshgar, the 2008 World Series of Poker champion, spent $1000 to enter a poker tournament. The grand prize of $30,000 was, coincidentally, exactly what they needed. Daneshgar told his friends what they wanted to hear at the end of the tense final round: “It’s flower time.” Soon after, they launched their company, BloomNation.
2. John Paul DeJoria Overcame Homelessness
You’ve probably heard of Paul Mitchell’s hair products and Patrón tequila, but did you know they’re related? Both companies were co-founded by John Paul DeJoria, who went on to become a billionaire along the way. His path to success, however, was not always easy. DeJoria was arrested twice and spent time on the streets. He was only 22 when he became homeless for the first time, and he had a two-year-old son to care for. Nonetheless, he persisted in his entrepreneurial vision, eventually co-founding John Paul Mitchell Systems with $700 in startup capital. DeJoria is now a philanthropist who supports a variety of social causes. He assists in the provision of resources to people experiencing homelessness, among other things.
3. Seth Priebatsch’s Dedication Reached New Heights – While Barefoot
SCVNGR, a social app similar to FourSquare, was a $100 million company with an unusual CEO in 2011. Founder Seth Priebatsch, the company’s self-described “chief ninja,” was 22 years old at the time and had a habit of not wearing shoes to work. He also wore a bright orange shirt to work every day and rarely left the office, preferring to sleep in his office. In 2012, Priebatsch rebranded SCVNGR as LevelUp, a mobile payments platform, but he kept his title of Chief Ninja and his signature orange shirt.
4. Mark Zuckerberg Assassinated His Own Food
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, set a personal challenge in 2011 to eat only meat that he had killed himself. On May 4, 2011, he announced this challenge to the world in his now-famous status update, “I just killed a pig and a goat.” Zuckerberg quickly clarified that he accepted the challenge to learn more about sustainable farming and to consume resources more responsibly. However, the change was not permanent. After the year-long challenge ended, Zuckerberg resumed purchasing meat at the grocery store.
5. Nicholas Berggruen Decided Not to Purchase a Home
Having more than one home is normal for most billionaire businesspeople. But Nicholas Berggruen avoided buying a house for years. Instead, he chose to live exclusively in hotels while travelling the world, earning him the odd moniker “the homeless billionaire.” Berggruen, on the other hand, has recently decided to settle down. In 2017, he finally purchased a $40 million home, possibly to provide a stable environment for his two young children.
6. Clive Palmer attempted to clone a dinosaur
What if Jurassic Park was more than just a film? Clive Palmer, an eccentric Australian businessman, wanted to clone dinosaurs and even met with scientists to discuss the idea. This happened in 2012, and because cloning techniques are still not advanced enough to bring back extinct species, it doesn’t appear that Palmer’s dreams will come true anytime soon. His fondness for dinosaurs, on the other hand, endures. In 2013, he opened Palmersaurus, a dinosaur theme park with over 160 massive dinosaur replicas.
7. Robert Klark Graham Attempted to Create a Brilliant Sperm Bank
Robert K. Graham was a businessman who invented shatter-resistant lenses for eyeglasses. Today, he’s probably better known for the contentious sperm bank he founded. This sperm bank, known as the Repository for Germinal Choice, only accepted donations from people who were considered extraordinary in some way. Some were Nobel laureates, others were geniuses, and still, others were gifted athletes. Graham’s motivation for establishing the sperm bank? Many people compared his ideas to Nazi eugenics programmes, and he wanted to create a better human gene pool. Graham’s sperm bank was closed down in 1999, two years after his death. During its 19-year run, it claimed to have produced 229 children.
8. Mark Benioff staged a protest in order to steal a competitor’s spotlight
Mark Benioff, one of Salesforce’s founders, is well-known for inventing outrageous (and sometimes inflammatory) marketing ploys. Most notably, he once staged a phoney protest at a Siebel Systems conference, complete with picket signs, chanting, and even a phoney television crew. This drew a lot of attention to Salesforce at the expense of his competitor. On another occasion, Benioff arranged for an airport’s entire taxi fleet to be rented just before another Siebel event nearby. To Siebel’s chagrin, he then had his employees pitch Salesforce on the way to the event.
Entrepreneurship attracts people with distinct minds and strong personalities, which can result in a plethora of fascinating stories. Do you have any wacky entrepreneur stories to share? We’d love to hear your stories, whether inspirational or simply entertaining, in the comments section below!