When someone talks about inspirational success stories that help people motivate themselves to reach pinnacles of success, it is not simply a matter of narrating what happened. It is in fact an acknowledgement of the prowess, the pain of failure and bouncing back again and a determined will to succeed against all odds.
These are two of my favourite success stories – the first about a software engineer and the other a now construction industry celebrity.
Brian Acton was a software engineer employed with first Yahoo and then Apple Computer with more than a dozen years of experience under his belt. In 2009, he was looking for a job change to advance career prospects but got turned down by two of the most trending software companies at that time – Facebook and Twitter.
Not one to give up, he teamed up with another Yahoo alumni Jan Koum and built an application that became a widely accepted passion amongst the old and the young. Yes, it was Whatsapp, the cloud based messaging app that changed the very concept of keeping in touch. The icing on the cake was in 2014 when Facebook that had once turned down Brian’s job application acquired Whatsapp for $19 billion in cash and stocks. Overnight Brian’s net worth soared to $3.8 billion.
The next is about Mick Fabar, a legend in the Australian construction industry. Mick started his company Mick Fabar Constructions in 2001 in his hometown Orange NSW and soon carved out a name for himself in this field. He gained a reputation for superior construction quality and was given an award of excellence in 2005 by the Master Builders Association for a redevelopment project.
At the peak of his performance, Mick received a setback, surprisingly because he refused to compromise with his reputation for high quality construction. A mining boom in Orange in 2005 saw builders from all over the country descending on the town to bid for the large number of projects on offer. They offered rock bottom rates to bag projects thus putting a question mark on the quality of work. Mick refused to toe this line and naturally his business took a hit.
But a person with Mick’s capabilities and determination could not be kept down for long. He founded Green Homes Australia in 2006 and this was a turning point in the Australian construction industry. This sister concern of Mick Fabar Constructions focussed solely on building energy efficient homes that reduced electricity usage and energy bills. Methods that were incorporated in building plans included rain water harvesting, passive heating and cooling systems, installation of solar energy plants and optimised recycling solutions.
To spread the message, he built two houses in Orange in 2008 that showcased this concept and invited other builders to share his knowledge and expertise in this field. Over 20 builders participated in the franchise model and applied this new found know-how when building their projects, thereby benefitting millions of Australians across the country.
Mick Fabar soon became an internationally recognised entrepreneur. He received prestigious ISO certifications – ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems, ISO 14001 for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems and ISO 50001 for Energy Management Systems. A slew of awards followed too – finalist in two categories of the Housing Industry Awards in 2009 and Water and Energy Efficiency Awards in 2008 and 2009.
If there is one inspirational story for business, it is surely about Mick Fabar and his construction company.