As historians expound on the amazing advances in Internet technology and personal computing, the bold- faced names include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Tej Kohli, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Brad Smith; all self-made billionaires, role models. mentors and compassionate philanthropists. Each, in their own unique way, employed their stellar intellect, superior programming skills, brilliant business acumen and aggressive marketing tactics to create critical software and Internet dependent products and services that empower the world-wide web.
Since the beginning of the personal computer revolution, computers have touched virtually every aspect of daily life. These innovative IT entrepreneurs have contributed beyond measure to making the world a smaller place: communication easier. The speed at which the avalanche of technological advancements impacts lives is quite remarkable. From statistical accounting programs to fun focused video games, computers are both tool and toy.
How we conduct our daily lives has certainly changed. Because of progress in Internet technology and the proliferation of new and innovative software programs, users can access knowledge at the tip of their finger tips, sell or shop online with safe and secure credit card processing, bank and pay bills online or communicate with friends and family world-wide. Today we take for granted the complex technology that facilitates the usability, price and portability of laptops, mobile phones, I-Pads, tablets and Goggle glasses.
Henry William Gates, commonly known as Bill, is the wealthiest man in the world, achieving that enviable position when in May 2013 his wealth outpaced Mexico’s Carlos Slim on Forbes’ prestigious annual list. He certainly didn’t start out life that way. Born October 28, 1955, Bill Gates, American business magnet, CEO of Microsoft, author, inventor, investor, programmer, and magnanimous philanthropist grew up in the State of Washington: developing a life-long passion for programming at the age of 13. Bill attended Harvard University, intending to pursue a law degree, however he found himself focusing on computer programming.
In 1979, Gates and his long-time friend Paul Allen founded Microsoft Software. Just one short year later, Gates gave the world Windows MS DOS: forever changing traditional computer usage. Today, Microsoft is the world’s largest personal-computer software company. The Microsoft News Center reports, “In addition to his love of computers and software, Gates founded Corbis, which is developing one of the world’s largest resources of visual information – a comprehensive digital archive of art and photography from public and private collections around the globe. He is also a member of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which invests in companies engaged in diverse business activities. Philanthropy is very important to Gates. He and his wife, Melinda, started a foundation in 2000 to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning, with the hope that in the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be available for all people.”
To date, the Gates Foundation has gifted over $26.1 Billion in charitable donations to a diverse array of humanitarian relief causes and scientific research projects around the world.
The innovative founder of Apple, Inc., Steve Jobs also served as CEO of Pixar Animation Studios. Born Feb 1955, Steve Jobs passed away in October 2011. Steve Jobs’ legacy of philanthropy continues. Job’s wife, Laurene Powell Jobs founded College Track, a program that pairs disadvantaged students with mentors who help them achieve academic success.
Co-Founder of Google, Larry Page in a remarkable Internet entrepreneur and computer scientist. Born March 26, 1973, Page graduated with honors and holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University. In 1998, Larry Page, together with his partner and friend Sergey Brin, founded Google, the world’s number one search engine. Billionaire businessman Page is the brilliant inventor of Page Rank, Google’s search ranking algorithm. As of June 2013, Google employs more than 30,000 people worldwide.
Achievemnt.org reports, “A philanthropic arm, Google.org, focuses on climate change and global issues of poverty and public heath. The company has run an online poll to select non-profit initiatives to receive $10 million in Google.org donations. One of Google.org’s principal projects is the development of a 100-mile-a-gallon hybrid automobile. As a company, Google maintains a commitment to environmentally sustainable technology. It has the largest solar power capacity of any corporate campus in the United States, and even the grounds of its green campus are grazed by a flock of goats.”
Born January 12, 1964, Jeffery Preston Bezos, commonly known as Jeff, is an innovative American business leader who played an integral role in the growth of worldwide e-commerce and Internet marketing. Founder and CEO of Amazon, the largest retailer on the worldwide web, Bezos is a role model for Internet marketers. Jeff Bezos is a graduate of Princeton University attaining a degree in computer science and electrical engineering,
Success – Startup Stories
Grafix Software, Ozone Real Estate, Tej Kohli Foundation
At the forefront of Internet technology since its inception, Tej Kohli founded Grafix Software, a privately held company in 1990 to offer turnkey solutions to E-Commerce challenges. Headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, Grafix Software is known around the world for its diverse range of services including campaign management, search engine optimization, creative web design and more.
The Tej Kohli Foundation discloses, “Tej Kohli is an international businessman and philanthropist, with a diverse portfolio of commercial and charitable operations in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and India. His business interests range from e-commerce and IT, to real estate and reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Tej continues to invest in forward-looking industries through the venture capital division of his company. Tej’s charitable works are channeled through the Tej Kohli Foundation, which supports under-privileged individuals in his adopted home of Costa Rica as well as his native India. Tej is particularly proud of the Foundation’s work in funding and promoting mobile eye clinics, the Niramaya eye hospital, and a program of corneal transplants to alleviate blindness in Delhi and across India’s Northern Central District. Tej is continually looking for areas in which direct, targeted, charitable support will change people’s lives.”
Tej Kohli Foundation
Tej Kohli Ozone Real Estate
Proudly acclaimed one of the world’s youngest billionaires, Mark Zuckerberg, born May 17,1984 created Facebook, a social media site that made him a billionaire by 23. Today, Facebook is the world’s most searched for and used website. Launched from his Harvard dorm room, Facebook has to date generated a net worth for Zuckerberg in excess of 13.3 billion dollars.
Facebook is constantly making innovations and improvements to their site: always listening and analyzing the feedback from users. On June 6, 2013 the company announced, “The ability to edit posts has been something Facebook users have desired for quite some time. It appears that day might come soon. Facebook confirmed the site is testing the ability to allow users to edit posts they’ve made. Users can already edit comments, but this would be the first step toward being able to edit posts.”
With the Introduction of revolutionary financial software, Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, changed forever the world of financial accounting and document processing. The creator of QuickBooks Accounting Software, Brad Smith is also a member of the Board of Directors of Yahoo. Success Magazine reports, “in his personal life, Smith enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He practices karate and plays the saxophone. His favorite charities are those helping young children with special needs and those advancing educational programs, such as Donors Choose. At work, Smith takes time to inspire and encourage his employees. “I encourage our employees to seize every opportunity to move into areas where they have little or no domain expertise and are forced to rely on the power of inquiry and learning to be successful,” he says. “In today’s world, things change rapidly and positions don’t come with instructions. The ability to learn, adapt and execute is critical.”
By: Marlene Affeld