Hugh Hefner Biography

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Titans of venturing paper

Mr. Playboy
Hugh Hefner and the American dream

A qualitative analysis in the fields of Psychology, Economy, Sociology and Geography


Plus entrepreneur interview with Robert Keus, The founder of Brothers Media

Created by :
Joris de Vos
Syamsuria Syamsuddin


The purpose of this paper is to analyse a titan and an entrepreneur we interviewed by using the insights gained from the foundations of entrepreneurship course. The Titan we choose is Hugh Hefner, the famous founder and editor of the Playboy magazine and the entrepreneur we choose to interview is Robert Keus, he is the founder and owner of Brothers media which is a company that does project managing and marketing of iPhone apps and various other ICT-solutions. The fields we address are Psychology, Economy, Sociology and Geography. And we will perform the analysis by using qualitative research techniques. In the case of Hugh Hefner we have gathered the data from a biography and the data from Robert Keus comes from an interview. When people think of Hugh Hefner they think of a millionaire surrounded by many young beautiful girls called bunnies, a grotto where they ‘relax’ and a magazine that has become a true American icon worldwide. Hugh Hefner is to sex what Andre Hazes is to Dutch music. He owns not only the magazine, but various night clubs, hotels, resorts and recording labels; the Playboy brand encompasses a true business empire. But how did he get in that situation and who is the real Hefner? Those are a few questions we will try to answer in this paper.


The data on Hugh Hefner, as mentioned earlier is gathered from a biography called Mr. Playboy, Hugh Hefner and the American dream, which is written by Steven Watts. Watts is a professor of history at the University of Missouri and prior to writing this book he wrote various other books including biographies about Henry Ford and Walt Disney. He gathered the data on Hugh Hefner from interviews with Hugh Hefner and a lot of people he worked with and a massive room full of old notebooks and the magazines. In the contract there was an arrangement that Watts maintained editorial control and according to Watts Hefner also honoured this agreement. Throughout the book both the perspective of Hugh himself and people around him is represented and compared. This allows for good psychological and sociological analysis. When we look at the weaknesses in the data, the interviews will probably have had a great hindsight bias because the questions will have related to events over a large timespan. The notebooks dating back from those periods will have helped Watts a great deal though. The data on Robbert Keus comes from a forty-five minute interview which was held in person at his office at home in Utrecht. By using this location and this communication channel we were able to gather more information than if we were to hold a Skype interview. We got a chance to see his ‘natural habitat’ and experience his lifestyle which put his answers to the questions in context. Brief history of the Entrepreneurs

Currently Hugh Heffner owns various mansions, hotels, clubs and a black Douglas DC-9 jet called “big bunny” with a large motorized elliptical bed and 8 “jet bunnies” which wear black miniskirt uniforms with boots and serve as stewardesses. But how did Hefner become so successful? Hefner grew up in a conservative religious family together with one brother. During his childhood he became interested in creating cartoons and he created a series of comic books in which he would be the main character. This passion for writing and drawing sustained throughout high-school, where he worked on the school newspaper. After high-school Hefner joined the army because of World War II but never saw action and got a desk job because of his typing skills. After the army he decided to go to university and...
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