10 Richest Computer Geeks
Top 10 Techies
I'm not sure if these men were very popular back in high school, but I guarantee you they're pretty famous today. At least 2 of these "Top 10 Techies" have had a movie made about their lives and how they came into to be the men they are today. According to the Forbes list of World Billionaires, there are currently 89 billionaires who have made their money through technology. Coincidentally, the US is home to 47 of these super rich techies. In fact, the US makes up 32% of the world's 100 richest people, regardless of industry. Let's quickly run through this list of entrepreneurs and college dropouts.
#10 - $13 Billion
Paul Allen began his fortune as one of the co-founders of Microsoft. Although he left back in 1983 because of Hodgkin’s disease, he still does very well for himself as the chairman of Vulcan Inc. Vulcan, founded in 1986, was set up primarily to manage his business and charitable interests. From owning sports teams to funding clean energy, it has grown into an organization that strives to improve the world. As a former college dropout, I think he’s doing pretty well for himself.
#9 - $13.5 Billion - Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook. I don’t think I need to say any more than that, but I will elaborate for those few who have not heard of it. He started the largest social network in history while attending college at Harvard. According to Facebook’s latest statistics, they currently have 750 million active users who spend over 700 billion minutes a month on their site. Although this dropout only makes $1 annually, his stake in the company was estimated at $13.5 billion this year. To date, he is known as the youngest self-made billionaire in history.
#8 - $14.5 Billion
Steve Ballmer is currently the CEO of Microsoft. Although he wasn’t one of the founders, he joined the company back in 1980 as one of their first business managers, and was given 8% of the company when they incorporated the following year. Since taking full control of Microsoft a few years ago, his only accomplishment has been the new gaming system Kinect. He graduated from Harvard with a bachelor degree, but he’s still a dropout I guess because he left Stanford’s graduate program to work at Microsoft with Bill Gates.
#7 - $14.6 Billion
Michael Dell is the founder and CEO of Dell Inc. Starting his business as a pre-med student selling computers out of his condo, he turned this company into one of the largest PC manufacturers in the world. He founded the company on a philosophy of building his computers to his customer’s specifications. He also used other strategies to maintain extremely low levels of inventory, which allowed him to account for hardware price fluctuations and leaps in PC standards. With over 100,000 employees and a value of $33 billion, Dell Inc. is making great strides in the tablet PC and enterprise markets as well.
#6 - $16 Billion
Azim Premji is the only non-US citizen on our top techies list. Currently, he is chairman of Wipro Ltd., the 3rd largest IT services company in India. Coincidentally, he did his undergraduate work at Stanford University, one of the top computer science and engineering schools in the US. Last year, Premji transferred over $2 billion worth of shares to his foundation and is now considered as one of Asia’s largest charitable donors. Even though his stake in the company has gone down to 70%, he’s still the 3rd richest man in India.
#5 - $18.1 Billion - Amazon
Jeff Bezos is the CEO and founder of the popular online retailer Amazon. Jeff graduated with honors from Princeton University and has always had an aptitude for science and mechanics. This made him a natural fit for IT industry, but in 1994 he quit his Wall Street job and decided to start his own business in Seattle. Science was still in his heart, so in 2004 he founded the human spaceflight startup Blue Origin. With a 20% stake in Amazon, he is the 14th richest person in the US.
#4 - $19.8 Billion
Sergey Brin, one of the co-founders of Google, was actually born in Moscow and immigrated to the US when he was 6 years old. With an aptitude for mathematics like his father, he graduated from the University of Maryland in 1993 with honors and then received his graduate degree from Stanford in 1995. Sergey’s philosophy is best represented by his quote in the Economist, where he says "knowledge is always good, and certainly always better than ignorance." After meeting the co-founder Larry Page at Stanford, they quit the Ph.D program to start the search engine in a garage. Today, Google is valued at almost $200 billion dollars, so I don’t think he will be finishing up the doctoral program anytime soon.
#3 - $19.8 Billion
Larry Page is not only the co-founder, but as of April 4th 2011, he is also the CEO of Google. It was agreed upon that Eric Schmidt, now executive chairman, would let Larry try his hand at leading the company he created. Both of his parents were computer science professors at the University of Michigan, which makes it obvious why he would attend the same college for his bachelor’s degree. He’s been known to spend his fortune buying up properties around Palo Alto, California and investing in clean energy projects. Just to give you an idea of just how big Google is, they made on average $16 billion in profit a year for the last 3 years. Moreover, at any given time they have access to $41.5 billion in liquid assets and a market capitalization of $200 billion.
#2 - $39.5 Billion
Larry Ellison is the co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corp. Being divorced 4 times, he’s not known for his ability to maintain personal relationships, but he is well known for building a database empire. Oracle is one of the most popular enterprise level database suites ever created. By surviving battles between previous rivals like Sybase and Informix, it allowed the company to have a small monopoly until the release of Microsoft’s SQL Server. Since he founded Oracle in 1977, Ellison has built it into an organization with over 100,000 employees, worth over $160 billion. Ellison is known to have an outgoing and active lifestyle, with interests in yachting, tennis, exotic cars and private plains. Although he is the 5th richest man in the world, he plans to give away 95% of his fortune to charity.
#1 - $56 Billion - Microsoft
Bill Gates is known as the man who brought Microsoft to the world. Although he’s taken a step back from managing the corporation to co-chair his charity, he still plays an influential role in the company as chairman. It all started when he had the opportunity to use an early computer at the age of 13. With an aptitude for math and programming, he was accepted into Harvard with a near perfect SAT score. After spending 2 years in college, he dropped out in 1975 to start his new business venture with Paul Allen. By the following year, the Microsoft name was registered in the state of New Mexico.
Gates went from Basic, to MS-DOS, then to Microsoft Windows to build his fortune. He pretty much had a monopoly on all personal PC operating systems in the early 90’s, but Linux and Apple have been slowly chipping away at their mark share. For a span of 12 years, 1995 – 2007, Bill Gates held the title of richest man in the world. With wife Melinda, they started a foundation in 2000 dedicated to improving healthcare and reducing global poverty. Microsoft is valued at over $225 billion and Gates still owns 560 million shares of its stock. He’s the second 2nd richest man in the world and the number one techie in the world.