26 Oct Paradigm Shifters of Our Time
By Amondi Wendo –
They are some of the most influential people of the recent past. They have changed our world, transformed technology, created innovative business models and affected the way we relate to one another.
They are businessmen, artistes, inventors, researchers and captains of industry. Their ideas spark dialogue and dissent and sometimes even revolution. They include:
His talent and individuality are unparalleled. From his first step in the music industry, michael Jackson broke new ground in music as well as dance. His innovations in the music field inspired many artists and showed them a new path to follow. As producer Quincy Jones told TIME magazine, ‘Black music had to play second fiddle for a long time, but its spirit is the whole motor of pop. Michael has connected with every soul in the world.’
His Bad tour from September 1987 to December 1988 grossed 124 million dollars. Michael Jackson is the only artist to sell 100 million singles and albums outside of the United States.
Be it a dance move, a jacket or a song, if you were born between 1965 and 1995, you have a Michael Jackson favourite.
Steve Jobs may just be the greatest inventor of our age. He is currently listed as the primary or co-inventor on 241 patents. Granted, some of those inventions were duds, no doubt. But some were pure genius, and did nothing less than completely change the way we use technology in our lives. Some of his amazing inventions which have become part and parcel of our lives include the iPod, the iMac, the power adapter, the iPhone, the magic mouse and the iPad.
He is the face behind Facebook, the biggest social networking site in the world with more than 845 million active users. Mark co-founded the social-networking website Facebook out of his college dorm room. He left Harvard after his sophomore year to concentrate on the site, making him a billionaire with a net worth: $34.5 Billion. Zuckerberg developed an interest in computers at an early age; when he was about 12 and his invention has enabled millions of people who have a Facebook account to make new contacts and get in touch with other individuals despite distance and lack of time.
An Australian computer programmer, political/internet activist, publisher and journalist, Assange could be the man who made it cool to snitch, or become a whistleblower. Through cables released by WikiLeaks he made the world aware of the fact that secrets will never be safe again.
WikiLeaks has published material about toxic waste dumping in Côte d’Ivoire, Church of Scientology manuals, Guantanamo Bay procedures, Iraq War documents and Afghan War documents about American involvement in the wars, some of which was classified material. It also published U.S. diplomatic cables that sparked a lot of controversy.
Ironically, Assange did not choose to be the face of WikiLeaks; it was decided that since he had less to lose than most of his anonymous co-geeks, having neither home nor lady nor child, he would be it.
He is the CEO of Radio Africa Group. Quarcoo has been on the forefront of influencing Kenyan media over the last 12 years. He propagated the concept of content specialization rather than the traditional all purpose media model that targets all masses as one. He launched Kiss Fm radio in the year 2000 when critics told him that the Kenya did not need another radio station. Six months later, Kiss FM was number one. Radio Africa Group now has five radio stations, a daily newspaper The Star launched in 2007, and KISS TV which was launched in early August 2009. As a journalist, Patrick has worked for a number of international media organisations including BBC World Service. His business mantra, “I always learn from the best in the market and then best them.”
Dr. James Mwangi
He is synonymous to Equity Bank. He worked with Ernst & Young and Trade Bank, before joining Equity Building Society (EBS) in 1994 as the Finance Director and Change Agent. He then worked his way up to become CEO in 2004. Under him, Equity Bank has undergone massive transformation growing from a small, insolvent mortgage lending company, to a fast growing internationally recognised bank. “It has not been easy but we have stayed focused on our vision,” he said in a previous interview.
Equity now has a number of branches in East Africa and has received various local and international accolades and universities like Stanford Graduate School of Business, Columbia Business School, and Lagos Business School have done case studies on Equity.
Tabitha M. Karanja
She is the CEO of Keroche Breweries Limited. When she joined the brewing business a few years ago, many assumed she would last more than a few months at best. Keroche faced a daunting task against sector leader, East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL), the powerful brand that has been operating in Kenya for over 80 years.
With her extensive experience and skills in accounting she has managed to build up her brand to hold its own in the competitive liquor market. Keroche’s main alcohol brands include Lager, Summit Malt and Vienna Ice.
Tabitha is a board member of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and was honoured by former President Mwai Kibaki in 2010 with a Moran of Burning Spear (MBS) award for her great contribution in liberalizing the alcohol market in Kenya. Ten years from now Tabitha hopes to become the biggest brewer in Africa.