Self-Made Tech Billionaires Who Dropped Out of College
They are some of the wealthiest and successful people on the planet. Between them, their personal wealth is greater than the domestic wealth of many countries. What do these men have in common?
Well, they had a desire and passion to succeed, willing to go against the odds and defy the safe option to study and get a job. They dropped out of college and chose to be entrepreneurs. They may have dropped out, but they sure made bank, and founded the big companies that we all know, and use, like Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. Do you have a billion-dollar idea?
Bill Gates is the founder of the world’s largest software company – Microsoft. With a personal net wealth of over 81 Billion dollars, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard after two years. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary degree from his old college, as one might expect.
Since 1987 Bill Gates has continuously ranked in one of the top positions in the Forbes Top 400 wealthiest people in the world. Bill and his wife Melinda are also philanthropists and founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Michael Dell is the founder of the Dell Computer Corporation. He is one the youngest ever CEO’s of a Fortune 500 company and is worth an estimated 18, 8 billion dollars. Michael had always had an interest in gadgets from a young age and was a young entrepreneur at 12 years of age.
He washed dishes at a local Chinese restaurant to earn money for his stamp collecting hobby. Michael attended the University of Texas majoring in biology, but computers were his true passion. He built and sold computers while he was studying before he dropped out to start the Dell Computer Corporation.
The 2010 film The Social Network showed Mark Zuckerberg’s compelling journey from Harvard student to revolutionizing world communication in his establishment of Facebook. While a student he designed a program for Harvard students where they could vote on fellow student’s attractiveness. It was called FaceMash and was the seed of a platform that would change and revolutionize social interactions globally.
Mark dropped out of Harvard and Facebook went on to grow into a social network that has over 2 billion people. His personal net worth is over 34 billion dollars. Facebook is valued at over $200 billion, making Mark one of the youngest billionaires in the world.
Steve Jobs was the founder of Apple. In this current high tech age the iPhones, iPad, Mac computers and all other Apple products are synonymous with the latest in cutting edge technology when it comes to digital devices. The late entrepreneur left Reed College to start a small company in his garage, along with partner Steve Wozniak.
The Apple brand was born and prospered from its early days making Apple Macintosh computers to becoming a leader in the communications industry. Notably, Steve Jobs’ ambitions never included seeking personal riches but to work towards increasing the greater good in society.
You may not have heard of Larry Ellison but there is a good chance that you have heard of a computer program called Oracle. Born in the Bronx, New York, to single parent Florence, Larry was shipped off to go and live with an aunt and uncle when he was a child.
Larry’s mother passed away when he was a student and he enrolled at the University of Chicago but dropped out after a semester. He went on to work from job to job before becoming a computer programmer and developing the Oracle software program. In 2014 Larry was listed as the 5th richest person in the world. His net worth is estimated to be over $50 billion.
Sean Parker founded the file-sharing program called Napster. It allowed users to share and stream digital music files. Sean was a maverick and world-class hacker and had from his teenage years been hacking into organizations and businesses across the world.
He is in part genius, and in part, infamous for his cyber skills. He went on to found Plaxo and Airtime and served on the boards of various large companies, like Spotify and is on the Founder Fund. His net worth is estimated to be at 3.2$ billion.
Perhaps you don’t know his name but there is a great chance that you have heard of Twitter. Jack in one of the founding members of Twitter and has a net worth of $2, 6 billion. Jack dropped out of NYU after transferring from the University of Science and Technology in Missouri.
Originally Twitter was ridiculed and criticized as being a platform for self-absorbed and egoist people. However, with everyone from celebrities to presidents sharing their thoughts, it has become a socially and politically relevant platform. The micro-blogging platform amassed Jack and partners significant wealth when the company went public.
Paul Allen, along with Bill Gates, is the co-founder of Microsoft. Both Paul and Bill went to Lakeside school, but Paul went on to attend the University of Washington before dropping out to work as a programmer.
Paul was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and resigned from the company in 1983. He passed away in 2018. His net worth was estimated at over $19 billion.
Known as ‘Ev,’ Evan Williams is one of the co-founders and directors of Twitter. Ev attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln for eighteen months before dropping out and working for various Startups.
He went on to develop a successful podcast platform called Odeo, as well as a blogging platform called Medium. His net worth is around $1, 7 billion. Evan has come a long way from his humble beginnings growing up the family soybean farm.
Once again you may not know his name but you probably use his App on a daily basis. Millions of people around the world do. Jan founded WhatsApp. Jan dropped out of the San Jose University to go and work at Yahoo where he spent nine years. Jan’s net wealth is estimated to be around $9.6 billion.
The kind of wealth that meant that he donated $555 million of his Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Facebook bought WhatsApp for a cool $22 billion in cash and stocks in 2014.