Gordon Moore (San Francisco, 1929) is known as the founding father of Silicon Valley. Moore is an American entrepreneur and co-founder of computer giant Intel. At age 86 he has taken a well-earned retirement, although he could have stopped working long ago. Forbes estimates his worth at six million euros. He is most famous for formulating ‘Moore’s Law’. In 1965 Moore predicted that the number of components on computer chips would double every year. The number would reach about 65,000 by 1975. Now, 50 years later, his prediction still holds up.
Fail, fail again, fail better. The American Sara Blakely (Florida, 1971) often failed to realize her plans. Until, that is, she hit on her million-dollar idea. She worked for a year at Disney World clipping tickets and sold fax machines as a door-to-door salesperson. In the evenings she worked comedy clubs as a stand-up comedian. Nothing was really working for her until, at age 29, she decided to invest all her savings ($5,000) in the development of body-shaping underwear: Spanx. Six months later, Oprah Winfrey mentioned Spanx in one of her famous Favourite Things episodes. In 2012, at age 41, Blakely became the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.
Russell Wendell Simmons (New York, 1957) is an American business magnate. He c-founded the hip-hop music label Def Jam Recordings and created the clothing fashion lines Phat Farm, Argyleculture, Tantris and American Classics.
In 1994, David Filo (Wisconsin, 1966) started a website together with Jerry Yang called Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web. That probably doesn’t mean much to most people, but the name they chose to continue under a year later, is more familiar: Yahoo! The website began as a ‘web directory’ pointing to other websites and has grown to become one of the biggest internet brands. This has made Filo the 854th richest man in the world, with an estimated worth of 2.8 billion dollars.