I spoke with Prahalad last September, when his seminal book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, was being released in a new edition. A Harvard Business School graduate, Prahalad will be remembered by many as an innovator who stressed that businesses could play a key role in poverty alleviation by reaching out to consumers in developing markets and finding ways to address their needs.
We spoke of some of the companies that had made profits doing so, such as Thomson-Reuters, GSK, Microsoft and DSM. At the end of our conversation, he stated, "If you want to build a Wal-Mart, Casas Bahia or Ford, start with the poor. The poor can make you innovate and build great companies."
Over the weekend, tributes from Prahalad's students and colleagues began flooding the web. Here's a roundup of a few that show why Prahalad was such a unique figure in management and academia and why he will be so dearly missed: