To celebrate its centennial, Forbes has compiled what it is calling an “encyclopedia of ideas” from 100 entrepreneurs, visionaries and “prophets of capitalism.” These individuals include LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault and designers Miuccia Prada, Giorgio Armani and Diane von Furstenberg, as well as figures outside of the fashion industry, such as Oprah, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Shonda Rhimes, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Here’s what some of them had to say on topics ranging from relevance to reputation …
MIUCCIA PRADA, Co-CEO, Head Designer, Prada – I’m not really interested in building a reputation for myself. But I do care for what the company stands for. I believe in work and being connected to the world we live in … You need to be curious and never stop studying. You have to challenge yourself to think every day to understand and react to what is happening.
SHERYL SANDBERG, COO, Facebook – We are better employees when we stop trying to be two people and bring our whole selves to work.
BERNARD ARNAULT, Founder, LVMH – Nowadays, the internet makes the planet much smaller. Product launches now need to be global in order to be successful. When you start something today, you usually have to start it all over the world at the same time to be successful, and you can see what's going on anywhere, instantly. That requires higher investment--which gives us an advantage.
JEFF BEZOS, Founder, Amazon – We're in the midst of a gigantic transition, where customers have incredible power as a result of transparency and word of mouth. It used to be that if you made a customer happy, they would tell five friends. Now with the megaphone of the internet, whether online customer reviews or social media, they can tell 5,000 friends.
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG, Designer and Founder, Diane Von Furstenberg – What allowed me to survive is that I was always honest and I truly believed in what I did … Confidence in what you do is crucial, but that does not mean being delusional. You must always face the truth and the combat the obstacles as they appear.
SHONDA RHIMES, Television producer, screenwriter, and author – Storytelling remains basic: It's just a campfire, the human connection that says you're not alone … In a world of unlimited voices and choices, those who can bring people together and tell a good story have power.
T. BOONE PICKENS, Hedge Fund Manager – Be the eternal optimist who is excited to see what the next decade will bring. I thrive on that, and I'm going to stick to it until the game is over.
OPRAH, Founder, Oprah Winfrey Network – I'd said to my partner Stedman, 'What am I going to talk about for ten days and ten nights at Nelson Mandela's house?' And Stedman said, 'Why don't you try listening?'
GIORGIO ARMANI, Founder, Armani – I always try to maintain a sense of reality and ensure that I surround myself with the right people, who understand the times in which we live.