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Dropouts Who Made It Big - Part 1

Aditya Bhushan Dwivedi
22nd Jun 2012
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Starting early is a key differentiator for people who make it big. The founders of all these companies are self made billionaires who started out very early in life and went on the achieve greatness.

Here we are talking about people who took risk, started out very early and worked hard to realize their dreams.

1)     Giorgio Armani: At #127 in the Forbes Billionaire list and being 3rd richest person in italy this Fashion Patriarch wanted to be a Doctor after reading The Citadel by A J Cronin. He enrolled at the catholic university of sacred heart and had to take a break to complete the required military service. After which he dropped out of college as he could not stand the sight of blood. He started out as a window dresser at a department store where he got his first taste of fashion and then moved on to do freelance design work for other companies. With the encouragement of his friend Sergio Galeotti, he founded Armani spa in July 1975 and debuted his first collection. The rest is history.

2)     Michael Dell: Son of an orthodontist and Stockbroker whose parents wanted him to pursue medicine. Michael Saul Dell is the perfect example of a person who followed his dreams and made it big. At the age of 12 he was washing dishes in a restaurant to put away money for stamp collection. Few years later he started selling subscriptions to the Houston post and started analyzing patterns and demographics to sell newspaper. He made $18,000 that year exceeding the annual income of his history and economics teacher. He bought a computer at age 15 to see how it works. Later that year he started selling computers in his college. Soon he dropped out of college to work full time on his venture. In the year 1992 he became the youngest CEO to have his company ranked in the fortune 500 list.


Dropouts

3)     Steve Jobs: The list would have been incomplete without this mention. A visionary, innovator and artist who impacted multiple industries. He spent his high school years working on computers at Hewlett Packard. Biological son of a political science professor and a speech therapist he was given for adoption even before he was named. Jobs dropped out college in just six months and developed a deep interest in calligraphy which later helped in beautiful fonts on the Macintosh computer. He later said that if he did not drop out of college and not attended the calligraphy classes, Mac would not have had that beautiful typeface. Their first model Apple – I earned them $774,000, three years after release of Apple - II, sales increased to $139 million, apple went public in the year 1980 with $1.2 billion on the very first day of trading. We lost him on 5 October 2011.

4)     Lawrence J. Ellison: Every computer user would have used his product either directly or indirectly at least once in his lifetime. Larry dropped out of college twice!! Oracle was a database project he did for CIA. He founded software development laboratories (SDL) in 1977 which he renamed to Relational Software Inc after two years and later renamed it oracle after its flagship product oracle database. In 2010 wall street journal reported Ellison to be the highest paid executive of the decade with total earnings exceeding 1 Billion in US dollars. He was also a director of Apple Computers after Steve Jobs made a comeback in 1997.

5)  Ingvar Kamprad: Founder of IKEA, A furniture retailing company. He started off by selling matchboxes to his neighbors from his bicycle and later expanded to fish, stationary and other items. He dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to start IKEA. He is mainly famous for his frugality and also enforces it in his company. He also published a manifesto in 1976 “A Testament of a Furniture Dealer” detailing the same. He is currently the sixth richest person Sweden.

Look out for more profiles in future post.

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