You think one common thing among all our successful techies is a degree from a bluechip business or engineering college? Time for a rethink! World's most famous techies -- like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison and Michael Dell -- are surely geniuses, but may be not so-much academically.
For, what is common among all these technology stalwarts is that they all dropped out of college. So, if you thought it’s the degree that makes the men behind all those smashing product innovations, time you meet our most technology legends -- who all happen to be college dropouts.
Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs (born February 24, 1955) is an American businessman, and the co-founder and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Jobs previously served as CEO of Pixar Animation Studios and is now a member of the Walt Disney Company's Board of Directors. Few know that the world's most iconic tech czar Steve Jobs is actually a college dropout. In 1972, Jobs graduated from Homestead High School in Cupertino, California and enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon. One semester later he dropped out.
In 1976, Jobs started Apple with a fellow college dropout Steve Wozniak in his family garage in Los Altos, California. Jobs, then 21, was the pitchman, Wozniak worked as an engineer.
William Henry "Bill" Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, philanthropist, and chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. He is consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people and the wealthiest overall as of 2009. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, and remains the largest individual shareholder with more than 8 percent of the common stock. He has also authored or co-authored several books.
The world's richest man Bill Gates is a Harvard university dropout. Bill Gates who scored 1590 on his SAT test out of 1600 got admission in Harvard university in the year 1973, after completing his high school. At Harvard University, Gates and his high school friend Paul Allen worked on a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer -- MITS Altair.
Two years later in 1975, he decided to opt out of college to start Microsoft, what eventually went on to become the world's largest software company. However, in 2007 Bill Gates finally got a degree from Harvard, when the university conferred him with a honorary degree.
Michael Saul Dell (born February 23, 1965, in Houston, Texas) is an American businessman and the founder and CEO of Dell, Inc.
While studying at the University of Texas at Austin, Michael Dell started a computer company called PC's Limited in room 2713 of twenty-seven story residence hall Dobie Center. Then 19, Michael decided to drop out of college to run PC's Limited, which later became Dell Computer Corp, and finally Dell Inc.
PC maker Dell is currently America's fifth biggest technology company in revenue. During 2008, the company recorded $61,101 million revenues slightly down (-0.1 per cent) compared to previous year. Company's profits stood at $2,478.0 million down 15.9 per cent from 2007.
Paul Gardner Allen (born January 21, 1953) is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates and is one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Like his pal Bill Gates, Paul Allen too dropped out of Washington State University in 1975, to build the software giant Microsoft. Allen left Microsoft in 1983 after being diagnosed by Hodgkin's disease. According to the annual Forbes' list of World's Billionaires, Allen's net worth is estimated at $10.5 billion. Microsoft now makes up 25% of his net worth. Allen's investment portfolio includes large stakes in DreamWorks Animation SKG, Digeo, Oxygen Media, real estate holdings and more than 40 other technology, media and content companies.
Fifty-six-year old Allen also owns two professional sports teams: The Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association. Co-founder of world's largest software company Microsoft, Paul Allen has one of the largest privately-owned super yachts in the world called Octopus.
Lawrence Joseph "Larry" Ellison (born August 17, 1944) is an American entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation, a major enterprise software company.
Another famous techie in the list of celebrity college dropouts is Larry Ellison, the co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation, one of the world's largest enterprise software company. Ellison left the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after his second year. Later he went on to join the University of Chicago for one term, however, didn't complete it either. In 1977, Ellison put up $2,000 to start Oracle Corporation. Two years younger to arch rival Microsoft corp, Oracle went public a day before Microsoft in 1986.
Today, according to Forbes magazine Ellison has a net worth of $22.5 billion. In the past four years, Oracle has racked up 49 acquisitions, including BEA Systems (bought for $8.5 billion in 2008). The company also invested $125 million in Web software outfit Netsuite. A licensed pilot, Ellison is said to own several unusual aircrafts. Known for his flamboyant lifestyle, Ellison has got a leisure boat built for himself.
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) is an American entrepreneur best known for co-founding the popular social networking site Facebook. Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook with fellow classmates Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Chris Hughes while attending Harvard. Zuckerberg serves as Facebook's CEO. He has been the subject of controversy surrounding the origins of his business.
The youngest techie on the college dropout list is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. While studying at the Harvard university in 2004, Mark Zuckerberg started the social networking site Facebook from his dorm room. However, soon after he decided to drop out of college to run the site. Initially Facebook was supposed to be a networking site for university grads, but was thrown open for everybody in 2006. The five-year-old site today boasts of over 300 million users globally. Facebook last month unveiled a revamped search engine.
In 2008 Forbes valued his net worth at $1.5 billion. However, the year 2008-09 ranking saw Zuckerberg lose his title as the world's youngest billionaire. The global recession reduced Zuckerberg's wealth by $600 million.
Another Internet posterboy on the list is the co-founder and ex-CEO of Yahoo, Jerry Yang. While studying Electrical Engineering at Stanford University in 1994, Yang with fellow David Filo co-created an Internet website consisting of a directory of other websites called "Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web". The site was renamed `Yahoo!' in April 1995. The same year the duo took a leave of absence and postponed their doctoral programmes indefinitely. However, the dotcom hero has been facing rough weather for some time. In November 2008, Yang stepped down as chief executive officer after struggling to turn around the company's dwindling fortunes. The rejection of Microsoft offer and a failed advertising deal with Google triggered shareholder's revolt in the company.
Blip.tv was founded in May 2005 by Mike Hudack (CEO), Dina Kaplan (COO), Justin Day (CTO), Jared Klett and Charles Hope. The founders "bootstrapped" the company for the first year of its operation. The company maintains offices in New York City's SoHo neighborhood. It is now backed by Ambient Sound Investments and Bain Capital Ventures.
The successful college drop-out techies list also has a high school dropout: Mike Hudack founder and CEO of blip.tv, a hosting platform for creators of digital video content. Blip is presently backed by venture capital including Bain Capital Ventures. Prior to Blip, Hudack worked as a developer and administrator for the National Hockey League, where he managed the team responsible for one of the biggest IT projects in the history of the League consolidating and re-developing the NHL's internal applications.