a.k.a: The Other Software Billionaire
Died: Not Yet
Larry Ellison was born in New York out of wedlock. His mother, judging herself incapable of caring for him, gave him up for adoption to her aunt and uncle.
After graduating from high school, Larry attended the University of Illinois but later dropped out. He then continued his studies at the University of Chicago but dropped out again.
In the 1970s, Larry worked for the Ampex Corporation as a programmer on a database project for the CIA which he named ‘Oracle’.
Soon after, he founded ‘Software Development Laboratories’ (SDL) and subsequently renamed it ‘Relational Software Inc.’ and later ‘Oracle’ after its flagship product ‘Oracle Database’.
The original release was called Oracle 2. There was no Oracle 1.
Although IBM was the primary database system for companies, it did not cater to smaller companies and microcomputers. This allowed Oracle, Sybase and Microsoft to fill in that void.
The original Sybase software was sold to Microsoft and became the well-known SQL Server.
Today, the market is still dominated by IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.
Larry also served for a few years as a director of Apple Computer when Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997.
He is still the CEO of Oracle and the company keeps on growing…
Why he’s on the list:
As I said in one of my previous posts, I do not like college dropouts but what I like even less are the entrepreneurs who take that hypocritical symbolic $1 salary.
Management and ownership of a company are two very distinct topics and should remain separate. Unlike most entrepreneurs, Larry seems to understand this difference.
Even though he owns more than 20% of Oracle and is ranked by Forbes as the 8th richest person in the world, he also tops the list of the best-paid executive of a public company with total compensations over the past decade reaching well above $1 billion.
It’s like a ‘fuck you’ to the supposedly modest (but hypocritical) CEOs of other successful tech and internet companies whose salary is 1$.
And I like that so I included him on my list.