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Building on a simple idea

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in Leaders & Managers

In the mid-1950s, accountant Eli Broad and a partner hit upon a simple idea for designing homes: no basements. Until then, basements were needed to hold vast amounts of coal for furnaces. Not so with natural gas furnaces.

Based on that single positioning tactic, Broad and his partner founded Kaufman & Broad Home Corp. in 1957. After selling out its entire inventory of homes, at $13,740 apiece, in the first weekend, the company was in business.

Within a few years, Kaufman & Broad (better known as KB Home) became the first homebuilder listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Today, Broad is one of the wealthiest people in the world and devotes all his effort to philanthropy.

The lesson: Sometimes, the best ideas are the simplest.

—Adapted from The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement, Steven Pease, Deucalion.

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