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Was it business model or poverty that made Ortega the 3rd richest?

Amancio Ortega's Zara is the world's largest, reaching 87 countries through 1700-plus stores. The fashion empire has made Ortega the world's third richest.

Ortega grew up in a family that was poor. Blanco, who co-wrote Amancio Ortega: From Zero to Zara says, "Poverty clearly made him who he is ... There was a hunger. Show me a great boxer who didn't come from this kind of background."

Fortune contributor Vivienne Walt says, "Beginning 40 years ago, Ortega ripped up the business model that had been refined over decades by Europe's fashion houses and replaced it with one of the most brutally fast turnaround schedules the industry had every attempted." Ask Columbia Business School's Nelson Fraiman (he studied the Zara model and taught the case at the school's executive education program I attended in 2008). He would say this about Zara, “Product innovation? No. (On the other hand) they have done process innovation very well.”

I will leave it to you to answer the question I raised, but we all know about the power of the Business Model. Strategically designed Business Models have helped create and grow companies like Southwest Airlines and Apple. If you are looking for a book on how to create a business model, check out Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur.

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