Ray Kroc was the mastermind behind McDonald’s success. His backstory is fascinating.
Kroc’s success wasn’t random: The revolutionary “McDonald’s franchising-idea” was the pinnacle of decades of hard work in sales:
You can’t peddle paper cups and multimixers in a town for 35 years without learning something about it. And if you’re sincere about serving your customers better, you’ll learn the layout of his basement, what kind of alley access he has, and so forth. You might be able to suggest a better way for him to handle his stock or deliveries. That’s what I always did, and now it’s paying off for me in detailed knowledge that helps McDonald’s. If you have this kind of attitude toward your work, life can’t get you down, and that applies whether you’re chairman of the board or chief dishwasher. You have to learn the joy of “working and being let work.”
Kroc referred to this process of mastery as. . .
Building His Monument to Capitalism:
For me, this was the first phase of grinding it out — building my personal monument to capitalism. I paid tribute, in the feudal sense, for many years later I was able to rise with McDonald’s on the foundation I had laid. Perhaps without that adversity I might not have been able to persevere later on when my financial burdens were redoubled.
Kroc was already a successful entrepreneur (selling multimixers) by the time he met the McDonald brothers. In fact, they were some of his best customers. Their operation required a fast-growing number of multimixers.
But before Kroc had made his multimixer company successful, he was a salesman for many years. Out of loyalty, he offered his (sociopath) boss this idea first (instead of acting on it himself). His boss and the company then took a 60% ownership stake. This was a mistake. . .
. . . a mistake he was forced to pay several years of work to make up for, he also had to re-mortgage his house (to buy back his ownership of the business):
I was so benumbed by his outrageous demand that I couldn’t think straight.
Read his book, it’s good.