Successful People Who Were Let Go

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  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lack of ideas.
  • According to Fortune Small Business, David Neeleman was fired by Southwest Airlines with a non-compete clause so tough it nearly  pushed him into starting up family dental clinics.  Today the Jet Blue Airlines he founded is among the most successful and innovative new-wave carriers in the industry.
  • Ron Canion, cofounder of Compaq in 1982, was dismissed in 1991 durning an economic downswing.  He used his health settlement to start a new business venture: Insource Technology.
  • Louis Rukeyser, the host of PBS’s Wall Street Week for thirty-two years, was unceremoniously fired because management felt his show wasn’t in touch with younger investors.  His show was quickly picked up by CNBC and became that network’s most-watched program.
  • Steve Jobs, who cofounded Apple Computer in his family’s garage in 1976, was replaced by John Sculley, who was brought in from Pepsi.  Jobs bought a majority stake in Pixar, a spin-off from LucasFilm, in 1986.  Pixar won an Oscar for Toy Story in 1995.  Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 when Apple bought NeXT.
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg was fired as a studio chief by Walt Disney Company in August 1994 and created Dreamworks, one of the most adventuresome cinema studios.
  • Mark Cuban got a job in a computer store early in is career.  Got fired because he yearned to sell and work on computers rather than to sweep the floor of the store as the owner wanted.  Today he is an Internet billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
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