Ray Kroc and Elon Musk Two Worlds Collide
Ray Kroc and Elon Musk are both entrepreneurs and great visionaries. Although they operated in different eras and fields of business’ they were highly involved in innovating and revolutionizing their fields forever. They both put in hard work and dedication to turn their visions into reality. Kroc and Musk are great examples of role models in the business world.
Ray Kroc was an American businessman who built Mcdonald’s, the largest fast food chain in the world. He originated from Oak Park, Illinois and had a poor family. In Krocs freshman year of high school he opened up a music store, which shortly closed. During WWI, from 1914-1918, Kroc worked for the American Red Cross as an ambulance driver, in order to get the job he had to lie about his age.
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Kroc, still interested in music, returned to Illinois after the war and was a jazz pianist who performed with well known orchestras and the music director of a Chicago radio station. In 1924 Kroc left and took his family to Fort Lauderdale to pursue real estate. When the boom in Florida collapsed two years later Kroc moved back to Illinois. In 1927 Kroc started working for the Lily Tulip paper cup company as a salesman. Shortly after Kroc stumbled into an invention that struck his mind, the “Multimixer,” a machine that mixed five milkshakes instead of one. He envisioned great things and left the paper cup company by 1941 to open his own company, Prince Castle Sales, which was a big success.
One day one of Kroc’s clients at his company Prince Castle sales ordered eight multimixers. Kroc became extremely interested as of why one drive-in restaurant would need this many mixers and drove to all the way to his clients in southern California to find out. The Mcdonald brothers, which were the clients that brought with mixers, introduced the business to Kroc. He saw opportunity right away and visioned the perfect fast food restaurant. Kroc came to a franchise agreement in 1955 with the two brothers and opened his first, very own, Mcdonalds in Des Plaines, Illinois. Kroc managed to buy all shares of the business from the brothers by 1971, making him the owner of Mcdonalds. The company strived, and later on became international. In 1984 Kroc died at the age of 81 due to heart failure.
Elon Musk was born in 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. Musk was working from a young age, he did things such as make plan to open an arcade, sell chocolates, and invest in the stock market. At 17, Musk moved to Canada to study at Queen’s University. After finishing his studies at Queen’s he moved on to Penn’s Wharton School of Business to study engineering and physics. Musk’s final plan was to go eat his PhD in Physics at Stanford University but he dropped out two days later because he thought it was more beneficial to work on his company, Zip2.
In 1955 Musk started Zip2, a web software, with a few friends. It was sold four years later in 1999 for $307 million, acting as one of the largest cash deals. After finishing that deal Musk found some of the biggest investors in Silicon Valley and went on to create X.com. Later in 2000 X.com merged with Paypal, which was also a new online banking company.
Musk went on to do bigger things, in 2002 he founded a company that would be known as SpaceX. The goal of SpaceX is to make it reliable, easy, and efficient to travel to space, since they started there have been numerous rocket launches and tests done. Musk is also co-founder of Tesla Motors, in 2007 they unveiled the first model car, the Roadster. Today, Tesla has many more models and is trying to make their electric cars more affordable. Aside from SpaceX and Tesla, which he is still involved with today, Musk was the primary investor and chairman of a company called Solar city which is the biggest solar panel installation company in the United States. Musk was named entrepreneur of the year 2007 by inc. magazine.
The economy in the 1960s and 1970s extremely contributed to the success and growth of what became Ray Kroc’s Mcdonalds. In the 1960’s there was a boom in the car industry and the Korean war ended which resulted in many soldiers coming back home. This led to the expansion of new highways and development of suburban cities. Mcdonalds was able to attract many customers and grow their chain by placing franchises in these new cities and neighborhoods. In the 1970’s the energy crisis began, by this time Kroc had full ownership over Mcdonalds. The energy crisis caused an inflation in gas prices and left many people short on money. The new concept of cheap, but quality food was what Americans were looking for at the time and Mcdonalds was exactly that.
Elon Musk was introduced to engineering by his father who was also an engineer. From a young age, Musk musk has been an innovator and creator, selling his first computer program at the age of twelve. Musk worked in an era of new technology and innovation when many new tech companies were established. During this time online businesses started to emerge and companies like Amazon were launched. Musk saw opportunity in the boom of online business which is part of why he turned away from earning a PhD to start what’s now known as PayPal.
Both Ray Kroc and Elon Musk took advantage of the economy and the era they were living in. They developed their business accordingly to the needs of the people. They were also able to develop their businesses because of the resources available to them. For example, Musk took advantage of technology and taught himself how to code which wouldn’t have been possible for someone like Kroc. Additionally, Musk has been involved in the technology field from an early age. Ray Kroc only became involved in sales late in his life.
Ray Kroc didn’t have many failures but was always looking for new opportunities. Before Kroc came across Mcdonalds he perused many other jobs in different fields. He was a volunteer ambulance driver, opened a music store, played in orchestras, worked in real estate, sold paper cups, and opened “multimixer” sales company of his own. However, after getting involved with Mcdonalds Kroc saw a major problem. Through the 1960’s Mcdonald’s made $75 million in sales, but only $159,000 in profits. It seemed as if Kroc was left with no solution and that Mcdonald’s would soon go bankrupt, but that was only until a man named Harry Sonneborn came along with a brilliant idea. That idea was that Mcdonald’s would purchase their own land and sublease it to franchisees with a 20 to 40 percent markup. Kroc was able to grow Mcdonald’s using this strategy and saw major differences in sales. Not only did sales increase, but by doing this Kroc was able to ensure that all restaurants operated identically because tenants were forced to go along with the corporate policy. Today Mcdonald’s is one of the biggest real estate companies in the world.
While discussing SpaceX, Elon Musk said that “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you’re not innovating.” Musk approves of failing and has done so himself many times because he thinks it’s the best way to learn and improve what you do. In 1955, the same year he dropped out of Stanford, Musk applied to a job at a popular web company. They not only ignored his application, but they also ignored him in person. Instead, he went on to start Zip2. While Musk did a great job of finding investors and starting the company, Zip2, the board didn’t have faith in him to be CEO and therefore he got demoted from his own company. Musk also started PayPal, but later had a disagreement with the board. He wanted to use Microsoft’s software instead of Unix, but was outvoted and later kicked out of the company while on vacation. Later in 2008, both SpaceX and Tesla were extremely close to going bankrupt. Musk then funded the companies with his own money and pushed forward, taking the companies back up. Today both SpaceX and Tesla are thriving with new technology and innovations.
Ray Kroc and Elon Musk both managed major corporations that were on the verge of going bankrupt. They had to find creative ways to save the companies. Kroc found a new system that would generate more profit and Musk contributed his personal money towards the public companies SpaceX and Tesla. They were also similar in perseverance, whenever they failed or were unhappy with what they did they moved on to something new and bigger that became even more successful.
Before Mcdonalds, there were no other restaurants that were cheap, fast, and quality at the same time. Kroc realized this when he first came across Mcdonalds. His goal was to perfect fast food and that’s why he said that he “oversaw quality control with an iron hand.” Kroc created a new fast food industry by building a system that allowed people to receive the exact same food, service, and quality at any Mcdonalds franchise. He also innovated the was franchises worked. Kroc made sure Mcdonald’s owned all of their real estate in order to generate more profit and have more control over the company. Instead of giving franchise right over a geographic area he sold the rights individually.
With having the ability to realize what the world would benefit from, Musk is able to innovate and create new things that contribute to society. One of his inventions was a tool that allowed people to send and receive money through the internet, which was PayPal. He worked on creating PayPal when he noticed that online banking was not developed and there haven’t been others who broke into the market. He also used his resources, knowledge being his biggest one, to create a new car manufacturer that would be solely electrical. Unlike any competitors. Tesla is focused on strictly electric cars and how to improve vehicle efficiency.
Both Kroc and Musk changed their fields by improving and taking the companies to a new direction. They applied their amazing ability to realize what needed improvement and put in hard work and dedication to see a turnout. Both the food and car industry have been around for some time, but Mcdonalds and Tesla changed the way those things delivered. They took what was already simple and learned how to make it the most efficient for customers.
Ray Kroc’s leadership style was driven by vision. He imagined to himself what he could do next and how Mcdonald’s could become more successful. At first, Kroc only imagined opening a couple restaurants and with that vision he went ahead and bought Mcdonalds from the two brothers. He never noticed limitations, but instead only the opportunities and possibilities. In addition, Kroc was a perfectionist and strived for the excellence of Mcdonalds, from the from the food to the service. He expected for his employees to be just as committed as himself and live up to the same standards.
Elon Musk is an example of a great leader. He’s always acting as a role model and leading by example. He’s involved in every aspect of his businesses and puts in a lot of hard work and hours. Not only does he lead by example, but he also leads with purpose. He knows what he wants out of everything he works towards. For example, his goal for SpaceX is to revolutionize the industry and learn how we can benefit from space and that exactly what he’s doing.