Everyone has heard of Zuckerberg and Gates, but not as much is known about the wealthiest man in the world, Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Slim. In the links below I have included an excellent Wall Street Journal profile, and another link which has an extensive interview on Slim.
In the interview, Carlos explains his business model, reasons for success, and how to deal with mistakes that are outside one’s control.
Slim is primarily the Mexican telecommunications king, but also owns many various other businesses from hotels to sodas. In the interview, Slim discusses his prepaid cell phone business. It is most interesting to notice how he adopted a similar business model to that of Gillette, which promotes it’s Mach 3, or similar device, but really makes it’s money selling the replacement razors (look at the price tag of those things!).
Additionally Carlos’s business did not really explode because he created a better product, but because he capitalized on creating a different cell phone user platform.
Carlos’s prepaid phone cards were offering a prepaid minute instead of a post paid, or fixed monthly paid minute, which strived in a country like Mexico. Because many individuals in Mexico have a very low income or no regular income, many opt for prepaid minutes. This opportunity for prepaid minutes spread to many other developing countries.
In the Wall Street Journal article Slim says “his success comes from spotting opportunity early, something he learned in part from reading futurist writer Alvin Toffler, who wrote the best-seller “Future Shock” in the 1970s”. Another interesting move Slim made which catapulted his wealth was to buy distressed companies selling on the cheap after Mexican president Jose Lopez Portillo nationalized Mexico’s banks.