Jeff Bezos is about to sell his Seattle home , including of course, the garage where he founded Amazon in 1994, originally as an online used bookstore. According to Forbes, Bezos is now the richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $170 billion.
Garages have a peculiar place in American history. William Hewlett and David Packard founded their eponymous small electronics start-up in a rented garage in Palo Alto, California. The garage is now a museum. Both men had wealth in the billions when they died.
Henry Ford developed his first automobile in a Detroit garage and in 1903, William S. Harley and his childhood friend, Arthur Davidson, created their first motorcycle at an undisclosed garage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Today, Harley-Davidson is the most recognizable motorcycle company in the world.
What these individuals have in common is none were wealthy when they started. They simply had a vision and a drive to accomplish it. In addition, they used what they had to build something more.
The founders of Mattel—Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler—used picture frame scraps to create dollhouses in a Southern California garage where they got started. And they weren’t the only ones. Others who had similiar humble beginnings in garages include:
- Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who launched Apple in 1976 in a garage in Los Altos, California.
- Walt Disney who started his company in a garage owned by his uncle, Robert Disney.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin who founded Google in a garage in Menlo Park, California.
- Tony Maglica who started Mag Instruments—Maglite—in 1955 with $125, working out of a garage somewhere in Los Angeles, California.
- Michael Kittredge, who started what would eventually become Yankee Candle, in a garage in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
- Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft with just a few resources and some garage space.
But for all these success stories, there are likely thousands upon thousands of seeming failures. Garages that will never be famous, where the dream never caught on or nothing was ever started.
Contrary to what most of us believe, success really shouldn’t be measured by whether or not the dream in your garage turned into millions of dollars, or dust. Bezos may not be feeling all that successful today, even though he’s wealthy. He’s in the middle of a divorce, and according to NBC, he “has attracted steadily declining public sentiment since the beginning of 2017.”
Success should be measured instead, by what you do with what’s in your garage and whether or not you keep at it.
My garage holds real estate signs, tools, and sporting equipment (and believe it or not, two cars). I feel successful when I am enjoying the use all of those things. I am successful when I love God well by serving others. My success also comes when I love my wife well. And I measure success in the fact that I can afford all that I have. I’m not living beyond my means.
By all these measures, I am a wealthy man.
So what’s in your garage that’s worth millions? Please make a comment. I’d love to hear about your success!