It’s no doubt that these moguls have helped shape the modern tech industry… as well as helped shape their own monetary figures! But aside from their massive net worth, another thing that these tech magnates have in common is their desire to live a private life. As you may have observed, they don’t seem to wallow themselves much in luxury and live in the glitz and glamour unlike, say, their wealthy entertainment counterparts.
But try as they might escape from the celebrity radar, some people have somewhat wormed their way to get their hands on every information possible about these tech titans — including some of their traits and quirks that will surprise most of us.
We all know that Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. He also held the positions of chairman and CEO of the company. Like many other successful tycoons, Gates is also a philantropist who founded the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation together with his wife Melinda. As of 2017, his net worth is reported to be $85.6 billion. Despite the massive wealth, he and Melinda have intended to leave their children with enough money, while the rest of it will go to charity.
Intelligence, wealth, prestige and a happy family, plus a heart of gold. But not all of Bill Gates is “goody-two-shoes.” Although he can be a nerdy guy all right, he could be punk too — did you know that he once broke the law when he was younger? That’s correct. In 1977 he was arrested in Albuquerque, New Mexico for traffic violation. He beat the red light and drove without a license.
The late co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. and visionary Steve Jobs had some interesting family background.
Steve Jobs was actually an adopted child of Paul and Clara Jobs. He also had an adoptive sister named Patricia. His biological parents were a Syrian-born man named Abdulfattah “John” Jandall and Swiss-American Joanne Carole Schieble. Jandall and Schieble went on to have another child, Mona, Steve’s full-blooded biological sister.
According to some biographies or reports, Steve Jobs had been practicing Zen Buddhism since the 1970s, and was a pescetarian (coincidentally, he was born a Pisces, so that’s another fun fact for you). Like a lot of youths at the time, Jobs experimented LSD and marijuana, and he later said that doing LSD was “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life.”
Did you know that Jobs was also fired from Apple when he was 30? But the company’s co-founder Steve Wozniak denied this, and said that Jobs resigned on his own over a power struggle with CEO John Sculley. After copping out of Apple, Jobs applied to become an astronaut and even attempted to start a computer firm in Russia.
Elon Musk was born in South Africa in 1971, to a South African engineer father and a Canadian model/dietitian mother. In 1989 Musk acquired a Canadian citizenship through his mother, and in 2002 he was granted an American citizenship. So that makes him South African/Canadian/American.
The founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla is a diligent and hard worker, just like many other business tycoons. Musk puts on about 100 hours of work in a week and sleeps six hours a day, but has an app to keep tabs on his business. And like many other big bosses, he has been known to be quite tough. He enforces a strict “No-A**holes” policy when hiring prospective employees. Among his favorite culinary indulgences include French food, BBQ and whiskey.
The founder of Amazon.com is definitely a born go-getter. When he was only a toddler it seems that he knew what he wanted and he would do everything to get it. Once he took a screwdriver and dismantled some parts of his crib because he wanted to sleep in a real bed.
Jeff’s biological parents, Ted Jorgensen and Jacklyn Gise, separated when he was only a baby. When he was four, his mother married Cuban immigrant Miguel Bezos, who legally adopted the precocious Jeff.
Not surprisingly, Jeff Bezos finished valedictorian in high school, then went on to graduate at Princeton University with the highest honors.
Not a lot of people are aware that Jeff Bezos is a demanding — and horrible — boss. Whenever a colleague or an employee underperforms, they can expect Bezo’s sarcastic comments, harsh tirades or outbursts any time. Yes, he can be really brutal, He is the kind of boss who wouldn’t mince words whenever he hears or comes across something he doesn’t like, or when someone tries to resist him. He would lash out acerbic comments like: “Do I need to go down and get the certificate that says I’m CEO of the company to get you to stop challenging me on this?”
He sees employees as “expendable” without acknowledging their contributions to the company. No wonder, Bezos was named “World’s Worst Boss” by the International Trade Union Confederation (IUTC) in 2014.
Bezos has always been a devotee of anything that has got to do with the outer space. When he was younger, he dreamed of building “space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2 million or 3 million people who would be in orbit.” He said the goal for this was to save the earth and humanity by taking the humans out to these permanent colonies in orbit and converting the planet into some sort of a gigantic natural park.
Bezos seemed to play out his science fiction fantasies by appearing in the 2016 film Star Trek Beyond, essaying the role of a Starfleet crew member. In 2005, he directed his entrepreneurial energies to his pet project, Blue Origin. The company’s main goal is to make private space travel attainable — and affordable — for every individual who wishes to experience what being in outer space feels like.
Born in Germany in 1967, Peter Thiel moved to the United States as a young child, but his father’s work as a chemical engineer meant an itinerant lifestyle for the family. When Thiel was a young, Thiel’s family lived in South Africa for a time before finally settling in California in the mid-1970s.
The future co-founder of PayPal obtained a B.A. in philosophy and J.D. from Stanford. But Thiel knew that his passion always belonged to entrepreneurship. Thus, he established the Thiel Fellowship Program whose aim is to support 20 to 25 selected individuals under 20 years of age, who would drop out of college and pursue a career in business.
Thiel’s other passions include playing chess and reading science fiction. He became so proficient in chess that the United States Chess Federation rated him as “master.” Yup, he’s a pro chess player.
Thiel, who is openly gay, once sued Gawker Media who “outed” him in 2007. While Thiel and the Gawker author together acknowledged the fact that he’s a homosexual, he otherwise criticized Gawker’s articles about some of his close friends which, according to him, “ruined people’s lives for no reason.”
Facebook founder, chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was a programming whiz when he was a kid. At 12, he tinkered a messaging program inside his dentist dad’s office. This allowed the receptionist to remotely notify him of the incoming patients without the need to yell across the room.
Despite excelling in math, science and programming, Zuckerberg wasn’t the typical klutzy geek in school. He also aced in fencing and classical studies — he was a big fan of Greek mythology.
A billionaire is expected to wear sharp suits in the office, but Zuckerberg always wears his famous gray T-shirt for work. If you look into his closet, his clothes are almost all the same! Well, there’s a good reason for that — Zuckerberg is always busy, and wearing the gray shirt saves him precious time from choosing what to wear for work. But he would wear a suit as well, but only occasionally. At least you know what gift you’d want to give him.
Despite being the CEO of a multi-billion company, Zuckerberg receives $1 salary annually.
He may have co-founded the world’s most popular search engine today, but we bet that a majority of Google users do not have an idea who Larry Page is. Now it’s time for you to get to know him (and rightfully so), and his formative years which had paved him the way to launch Google.
Page’s love for computers and programming came almost naturally — both of his parents were involved in such field. His father was a computer scientist while his mother was a computer programming instructor in college. Page’s domestic life during his childhood revolved around science, technology, and computers.
While growing up, he found his other interest — music. He used to play the saxophone and studied music composition as well. It may sound unlikely at first, but Page has credited his music education as one of the major influences behind Google’s high-speed element. In an interview, he said: “In music you’re very cognizant of time. Time is like the primary thing.”
He added: “If you think about it from a music point of view, if you’re a percussionist, you hit something, it’s got to happen in milliseconds, fractions of a second.” Now you know the inspiration behind Google’s search engine results that show up in a matter of seconds.
Eric Schmidt is the former Google CEO and now the Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc. (founded by Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin). He is a software engineer by profession.
Despite being involved in the online world, Schmidt still wants to save traditional forms of media, particularly newspapers, saying that they’re a vital part of democracy. He implied that Google wants to help in saving the declining newspaper industry.
It may be recalled that Schmidt backed Obama in the latter’s presidential campaigns. Despite that, he turned down Obama’s offer, a position in the Chief Technical Office cabinet. He also endorsed Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign.
Another thing that not a lot of people know about Schmidt is his love for art. His massive collection of unique art pieces even earned him a place on ART news’ list of 200 art collectors.
Satya Nadella worked his way up to become what he is now — the CEO of Microsoft. He is one of the highest-paid CEO’s in the US at present.
Born in Hyderabad, India, Nadella received his bachelor’s degree in Manipal Institute of Technology. Soon after graduating, he moved to the United States to study for his masters in computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which he obtained in 1990. Two years later he joined Microsoft; in the same year, he also married his childhood friend. The couple now have three children, and the family now resides in Bellevue, Washington.
During his tenure at Microsoft, Nadella was one of the architects behind the search engine Bing.
Like most Indians, Nadella loves cricket. In fact, he was a player in his school’s cricket team. His passion for cricket has also taught him about leadership and teamwork. He also watches football, and his favorite team is the Seattle Seahawks, according to many reports. His other passion is poetry.
The co-founder of Google was born in Moscow, Soviet Union in 1973. When Brin was six, his family immigrated to the United States.
Brin received his degree in computer science and mathematics (plus honors) at the University of Maryland in 1990, then moved to Stanford University to pursue a graduate degree in computer science. It was also at Stanford where he first encountered Larry Page, his friend, future colleague and Google co-founder. When the two men first met they actually disliked each other, and they spent their early days squabbling.
When Brin’s mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he also discovered he would be also suffering the same disease. Although Parkinson’s is not traditionally hereditary, Brin found out that both he and his mother carry a mutation of the LRRK2 gene, also known as G2019S. This may put him at risk of developing Parkinson’s later in life. With this startling discovery, Brin has implied that he is taking preventive measures to fight against the possibility of carrying the disease.
The late David Packard was the co-founder of Hewlett Packard, which is now one of the leading IT companies in the world. Packard served as the company’s president, CEO and chairman of the board in separate occasions.
When Packard was at Stanford where he was pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, he met what could be the two most important people in his life: colleague William Hewlett and future wife Lucile Salter.
Like many giant companies in the world, Hewlett-Packard was established inside a garage in Palo Alto, California. Many people consider Hewlett-Packard as a pioneering company in today’s Silicon Valley. The garage is now preserved as a historical landmark.
Walt Disney — whose own empire also had its humble beginnings in a garage — was among Hewlett-Packard’s first customers. Disney bought an oscillator from the company to make Fantasia.
Aside from his corporate affairs, David Packard also worked for the government. He served as US Secretary of Defense (1969-1971) under the Nixon administration.
Like his colleague and Hewlett-Packard (HP) co-founder David Packard, Hewlett was also an alum of Stanford University, and also obtained his degree in electrical engineering from the same school.
Like many other geniuses, Hewlett suffered from dyslexia at an early age, which made school life difficult. To address his weakness, he learned to memorize lectures and notes, and turned to focus more on his stronger subjects such as math and science. He showed an aptitude for building and experimenting with things when he was younger. He made a Tesla coil, and even built himself and his sister a crystal radio set.
Hewlett was only accepted at Stanford when the principal learned that he was the son of one of his brightest students.
During the Second World War, Hewlett was a reservist in the US Army, eventually heading the electronics branch of the new division of the War Department Special Staff.
During Hewlett-Packard’s formation, the two men decided whose surname should go first for their company brand by tossing a coin. Obviously, Hewlett won,
Did you know that a young Steve Jobs actually encountered Hewlett? When he was only 12, Jobs phoned in to HP’s headquarters, requesting Hewlett for parts that he needed in order to build a frequency counter for his school’s project. Impressed by the kid’s guts and intelligence, Hewlett sent Jobs the equipment, plus he offered the young boy a summer job at HP.
Tim Cook is the present CEO of Apple Inc. He has been with the company since 1998. Before Apple, Cook worked for IBM for twelve years.
Cook is proud of his working-class roots. His father used to work at a shipyard, and his mother had been employed at a pharmacy. Cook himself once worked at a paper mill and an aluminum factory, and his past experiences have made him fully aware and sensitive of the poor working conditions in Apple factories.
From the looks of it, you can say that Cook is a hard and dedicated worker. He gets up as early as 4:30 to send e-mails, and almost always the first one to arrive for work. Despite his busy schedule, he makes sure that he has time for himself. He is a health and fitness buff who enjoys hiking, cycling and working out at the gym.
In 2014, Cook officially “outed.” “I’m proud to be gay,” he said in an interview for Bloomberg. Although everyone at Apple already knew that he was gay, it was only recently that he decided to declare his homosexuality in public. As a result, Cook was the first gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
In sharp contrast to Jeff Bezos and perhaps other company bigwigs, Cook likes to think that he is one of the employees and that he is not above them. He mingles with them, and sometimes would join them in their lunches. Sounds like the kind of boss you’d like to work for!
Ginni Rometty made history when she was appointed CEO of IBM in 2012 — she became the first woman to lead the company. She still holds that position, plus she is also the company’s current president and chairwoman.
A graduate of computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University, she started her tenure at IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer.
Before IBM, Rometty worked for General Motors Institute (now Kettering University). She was a General Motors scholar when she was still in college, and interred with the company during her junior and senior years.
Her signature look consists of wearing a metallic headband tucked back in her blond hair. Rometty’s other interests include golfing and scuba diving — did you know that she is only the third female to be admitted to the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club? Plus, Rometty is also a certified rescue diver.
No coffee for her, folks — Rometty prefers tea.
Sheryl Sandberg has been currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook since 2008, becoming the first woman to occupy this position n the world’s most popular social network. As of 2017, her net worth is reported to be $1.37 billion, and Sandberg was ranked as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women” by Fortune magazine.
Sandberg is a Harvard alum. She earned her B.A. degree in economics in 1991, and went on to earn an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School in 1995. She received both degrees with the highest honors.
Before Facebook, Sandberg worked for other major companies such as Walt Disney and Starbucks, both of which she was appointed as board member. Her late husband, Dave Goldberg, was no stranger to the corporate world. He was an executive at Yahoo! and later became CEO of SurveyMonkey.
Sandberg has also added “author” to her comprehensive resume. Her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead was one of the best-selling books in 2013. She is also the founder of Leanin.org, which vows to offer inspiration and support for women to reach their goals.