Melbourne High School (2000)
|Net worth||A$145 million (2012)|
Ruslan Kogan (born November 1982) is a serial entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of Kogan Technologies as well as one of the founders of Milan Direct, an Australian and UK furniture retailer, He was Australia's richest person under the age of 30 from 2011 to his 30th birthday in November 2012. He has a personal wealth valued at $145 million, according to the 2012 BRW Young Rich List.
Kogan holds several publicised controversial views regarding the consumer technology industry, expressing his opposition to the Australian Government's proposed internet filter as well as lambasting them for their handling of the Set Top Box Scheme. He was also the only executive from a consumer electronics vendor in Australia to campaign against the introduction of 3DTV into homes around the world.
He has written articles as both a guest and regular for several large media outlets, including a guest article for Forbes giving his views on Facebook, a guest post on Gizmodo outlining his opposition to the filter and The Age regarding the future of TV. He was also a guest columnist for business magazine BRW throughout 2011, and has on several occasions provided guest opinions on the world's largest technology blog, TechCrunch.
Early life 
He grew up in the Elsternwick commission flats, and started his first business at the age of 10 by finding lost golf balls, cleaning them and selling them for $0.50/each to golfers at Elsternwick Golf Course on Saturday mornings.
He was interested in technology from an early age, building his first computer at the age of nine. He has started approximately 20 businesses since the age of 10, with Kogan Technologies his most recent and most successful venture.
By the age of 23 he had worked at the IT departments of Bosch, GE, Telstra, and was a management consultant at Accenture.
Starting Kogan 
He realised he was able to create a business benefit for the factory beyond the small initial order. He noticed that the organisations he was dealing with had poorly laid out marketing material, with incorrect spelling and grammar, and so reworked all of their material. After he sent them the work, they replied to him and accepted the initial order, and even gave him a better price. A week later, they told him that they had just won a large contract with a US customer because their documentation was the most professional.
When Kogan began to sell TVs on eBay, the TVs were in full production and he needed to pay the supplier, but eBay shut his account down because he was yet to receive any feedback. He had no way of paying the remaining amount for the first production run. He was forced to apply for many credit cards, ask his friends to do the same, and take cash advances on all of them.
Following this, he travelled to China, of the whole container load of TVs, personally inspected each one, watched the loading onto the truck, got in a taxi and followed the truck driver to the port to make sure the container made it on to the vessel.
The company rapidly expanded to a broader range of products such as Digital Radios, GPS devices, Netbooks, Tablets, and Video Cameras, and in September 2011 began selling complementary products from a range of brands including Apple, Canon, Nikon, Samsung, Motorola and others.
Sales at Kogan's online store in November 2011 were $8.12 million, up 330% from $1.89 million in the same period in 2010. During the period there were 708,525 visitors to Kogan.com.au, an increase from 222,411 the year before.
Having started with no external funding or capital, Kogan Technologies has grown to become one of Australia's fastest growing businesses in any industry, valued at over A$200 million, with revenues of over A$150 million projected for 2012.
Ruslan Kogan and his company Kogan Technologies have won the following awards:
- Top 50 Most Influential People in Tech. Joins Mark Zuckerberg and Mike Cannon-Brookes as the only Gen Ys on the list.
- BRW 2012 Young Rich List with a reported wealth of A$145 million.
- BRW 2012 Fast 100 at rank 14, with a reported wealth of A$75.2M.
- Men's Style Magazine 2012 Men of Influence.
- SmartCompany Hot 30 Under 30 CEOs
- The Australian Top 5 Young Chief Executives.
- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 Southern Region Winner
- Deloitte Technology Fast 50 - 4th fastest growing technology company in Australia in 2012.
- BRW 2011 Young Rich List with a reported wealth of A$62 million, Australia's richest person under the age of 30 (2011 - 2012, his 30th birthday).
- The Age Top 100 most influential people in 2011.
- BRW 2011 Fast 100 at rank 27.
- SmartCompany 2011 Hot 30 Under 30.
- Virgin Australia Top Guns in Tech.
- BRW 2010 Fast 100 at rank 15.
- BRW 2010 Fast Starters list at rank 17.
- BRW Young Rich List 2010 with a reported wealth of A$29M.
- T3 29th most influential person in the technology industry.
- Anthill Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs for 2010
- BRW Young Rich List 2009 with a reported wealth of A$15M.
- BRW 2009 Fast Starters list at rank 37.
- The Age Top 100 most influential people in 2008.
Open Source 
Kogan has been a strong believer in open source solutions for many years, telling Computerworld: “We are huge believers in cloud computing and open source software. The reasons are simple: open source software is usually faster, better and has more features.”
Kogan believes that open source tablets like Android present a significant challenge to the Apple iPad's dominance of the tablet market, and was the first to launch an open source tablet in the UK for under £100.
In Australia, he launched a laptop running the open source version of Google's Chrome OS before multinationals like Samsung and Acer could launch their own products.
On 1 December 2010 Kogan announced the launch of LivePrice, an invention that changes the way products are priced. After launching LivePrice in Australia, Kogan had sold nearly $330,000 worth of products using the new pricing system in 24 hours. After being operational in Australia for under three weeks, LivePrice had resulted in over $370,000 of price deductions across the entire range. LivePrice has a patent pending.
Kogan Lifestyle brand 
In November 2010, Kogan revealed plans were underway to create a sub-brand that would sell jetskis, boats, and potentially cars online.
Kogan Mobile 
Kogan Mobile is a division of Kogan, Australia’s largest online electronics store. Like Kogan’s other products, the SIM cards are sold direct to consumers online instead of through retail stores, with the intention of offering lower prices.
Internet Explorer 7 'Tax' 
On 13 June 2012 Kogan introduced a Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 'tax', which charged any user shopping at the site from IE7 an extra 6.8% - 0.1% for every month the browser had been on the market. Kogan explained that he had decided to charge the 'tax' because: "The amount of work and effort involved in making our website look normal on IE7 equalled the combined time of designing for Chrome, Safari and Firefox." Kogan accepted that it was unlikely that anyone would actually pay the charges, stating that the goal of the campaign was to encourage users to download a more up-to-date version of Internet Explorer, or a different browser. The 'tax' was the most talked about topic on social media service Twitter on the day following its launch.
Several weeks later, search results for kogan.com disappeared from Microsoft Bing search results, with Kogan stating "We hope Microsoft were not too offended by what we did with the IE7 tax and this is just a temporary glitch." Microsoft denied tampering with the search results, stating that: "The ranking of our results is done in automated manner through our algorithm which can sometimes lead to unexpected results."
UK Cable Con 
In July 2011 Kogan launched its "Cut the Cable Con" campaign in Britain. The campaign targeted John Lewis and Currys, criticising the way that such retailers attempt to sell expensive cables with their new televisions and computers, and accusing them of a campaign of “deliberate misinformation” with regard to this issue. Kogan Technologies began giving away cables free of charge with every television purchased.
John Lewis and Currys defended the practice of charging for cables by pointing out the various features of their cables. Kogan responded by stating: "I think it's a bit misleading what they've said. When it comes to durability, it's an HDMI cable that you'll use to connect your TV to a Blu-ray player, or a Playstation, or another device. You're not using it as a skipping rope or to go rock climbing with."
Divorce from traditional retail 
In August 2011 Kogan announced his desire for online retailers to be viewed separately from traditional retail by economists, stating that “If we have been grouped with traditional retailers, then we want a divorce!”, and arguing that all of the innovation and growth is in online, rather than bricks-and-mortar, retail. Business Magazine BRW noted the similarity of the "divorce" to a campaign by NAB.
Website glitch 
On 10 August 2011, Kogan's Australian Online store experienced a glitch allowing shoppers to incorrectly combine special promotions. Kogan chose to honour the transactions, even though the terms and conditions would have allowed the company to decline to do so, stating that “the bug in our website was entirely our responsibility”. The error cost the company nearly $50,000.
Australian Government Set Top Box scheme 
In May 2011 the Australian Government announced a plan to provide Set Top Boxes to pensioners free of charge.
Kogan and other leading retailers criticised the scheme for spending too much money. In 2011, the program had an estimated total cost of $308 million, with each installation costing over $350. Kogan said his company could deliver it for $50 million.
In February 2012 new figures revealed that the cost per installation had risen to $698, prompting Kogan to make further public statements attacking the Government's inefficiency in spending.
JB Hi-Fi 
In March 2011, Kogan argued that some of Australia's biggest retailers were overly reliant upon the success of Apple, claiming that 30% of Australian retailer JB Hi-Fi's revenue in 2010 had come from Apple or Apple related products.
Terry Smart, CEO of JB Hi-Fi, responded by saying "That figure is not even close to reality. We don't have a big enough supply that represents such a substantial part of the business."
Kogan responded by challenging Smart to a one million dollar bet that JB Hi-Fi would not stock Apple hardware by 14 March 2014. The deed for the bet is still available online, though it has not been accepted.
Kogan also began giving away free HDMI cables to anyone who had bought a TV from JB Hi-Fi in 2011, accusing JB of “trying to trick people into thinking they need a $200 cable after buying a FULL HD TV."
In October 2011, Kogan took out a full page ad in Australia's biggest newspaper calling for JB Hi-Fi to change their slogan, "Always Cheapest Prices." JB Hi-Fi did not respond to the challenge.
Harvey Norman 
In August 2010 Kogan began a public dispute with Gerry Harvey, founder of well-known Australian retailer Harvey Norman. The argument concerned the future of consumer electronics retailing in Australia, and in particular whether Australians should shop online or in a bricks and mortar retailer. Kogan challenged Harvey to a TV debate, which he declined. Kogan claimed Harvey “chickened out”, causing Harvey to respond by calling Kogan a “con”. Kogan responded with two satirical advertisements criticising Harvey Norman.
Kogan renewed the dispute in November 2010, criticising Harvey Norman's purchase of Clive Peeters. The controversy continued into December, when Harvey announced plans to follow Myer and open up an online store based in China in order to avoid GST and cut costs, causing Kogan to claim that Harvey Norman and Myer were posturing to force the Government to change import laws, and that their China-based stores were a hoax. Kogan stated that if Harvey Norman and Myer succeeded in opening their China-based online stores for three months, he would place a prominent link on kogan.com.au advertising his rival's store. Kogan also claimed that Harvey Norman was “full of it”, and published an article lamenting the Australian business scene's focus on regulation rather than innovation.
In July 2011, Kogan came to the public defence of Harvey when he came under fire for Harvey Norman's alleged logging practices. Kogan stated: “Like him or hate him, Gerry Harvey is not a criminal – he should not be singled out for some supposed moral crime simply because he has complied with the law, and has sought Australian timber to use in his furniture.”
McDonald's job application 
In September 2010, Kogan made headlines for having been unsuccessful in a job application to McDonald's, Elsternwick, Melbourne. Kogan reportedly wanted the job to learn about McDonald's business processes, and was turned down because the restaurant already had enough employees.
Personal life 
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