Jacqueline Oud - Culture

Some findings about the wealthy ones in the world

Did you know that ....

I just came upon the Forbes "Richest people of the world" list the other day and I thought about sharing some ideas with you.

  • Harry Potter has made his author, Joanne Kathleen Rowling, more than rich. She said to have started writing the books when she was unemployed but things have gone that well for here that she is no in the Forbes 500 richest people of the world.

J.K. Rowling has been very smart and selective on authorising the property rights for the Harry Potter features. Providing gradually the rights and maintaining the suspense on the future of Harry gains here quite some advantages. Entering this year the list qualifies her officially as a millionaire. Forbes states that "She’s one of only five self-made female billionaires, and the first billion-dollar author". Did Harry Potter made her found the Holy Graal? Let’s hope so for her but as it appears the Potter mania might not be eternal.

  • Supermarkets are still rather interesting: the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, Alice Walton is n° 4 in the Forbes list, just before her Mother Helen Walton. But the cheap Albi supermarket chain founder Herr Karl Albrecht, is holding the place of n° 3 in the Forbes list, just behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

The difficulties for Walmart and his position in the USA may keep some changes upcoming. Well, it is very well possible that the Waltons have very well organised their property and savings into their stockings. Would the future teach us anything on what type of supermarket is more profitable on the long run: the cheap ones or the regular ones?

  • The principle of keeping things simple at IKEA has paid well for the founder of this worldwide known firm. Ingvar Kamprad has come quite a way selling his furniture everywhere like a "low budget". Though he keeps all his business as secret as possible and allows no interviews, he is listed in Forbes at the 13th place. Moreover, he remains very mysterious about his large vineyard in France and his more than comfortable house in Switzerland. Quite logical, for this luxury life does not really suit the ideology he has always taught at Ikea!

Employees at Ikea seem to adapt the full strategy of simplicity that Ikea seems to proud of. However, interviews seem to show also some hidden sights of live at Ikea: live would not appear to be always as easy as one would like to believe.

  • The nomination of Condoleezza Rice as the second hand of Mr. George Bush jr. would make her the most important woman of the world. This woman also represents the first Afro-American woman that has come to a place where no woman has ever been. According to some articles, she wanted to play the piano when she was young. However, international trade seems to have won it, though she sometimes gives some recitals. I also read that Condoleezza is very intelligent: she was 2 classes ahead at school. Besides, she is not married yet.... She doesn’t seem to be listed in the Forbes’ list -yet - but there is no doubt that her power gives her more importance than her actuel, possible, wealth.
  • The founder of Cirque du Soleil, famous worldwide, Guy Laliberté is not as known as his Cirque but has come quite rich of it. In 20 years Guy Laliberté has transformed Cirque du Soleil from a "street troop" into a overwhelming-mega-organisation. "More than 7 million people paid $650 million to see Cirque’s live performances last year, with all their stunning costumes, mind-defying acrobatics and funky music. Television licenses and corporate sponsorships bring in millions more. With little debt and a pretax margin probably near 25%, Cirque du Soleil, of which Laliberté owns 95%, is comfortably worth $1.2 billion", states an article in Forbes.

Cirque du Soleil is not French, as some may think. Guy was born in Quebec and developed his Cirque in Canada and there from the USA. The studios were eager to buy his name but ha managed to avoid this and he now proposes shows whit more than 9.000 places taken a night. The future of Cirque du Soleil may even bring Spas, restaurants and nightclubs. As Guy states it: "We have changed the cirque so why not continue".

To learn more about Forbes’ list of the richest people of the world have a visit: www.forbes.com - 2004

[22 November 2004]


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