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Bil Gates

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Born the son of a lawyer (father) and teacher (mother), William Henry Gates was a middle child in a well-to-do family in Seattle, Washington. Born the son of a lawyer (father) and teacher (mother), William Henry Gates was a middle child in a well-to-do family in Seattle, Washington.Born the son of a lawyer (father) and teacher (mother), William Henry Gates was a middle child in a well-to-do family in Seattle, Washington.Born the son of a lawyer (father) and teacher (mother), William Henry Gates was a middle child in a well-to-do family in Seattle, Washington.Born the son of a lawyer (father) and teacher (mother), William Henry Gates was a middle child in a well-to-do family in Seattle, Washington.Born the son of a lawyer (father) and teacher (mother), William Henry Gates was a middle child in a well-to-do family in Seattle, Washington.


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Mark Zuckerberg

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Zuckerberg grew up in the New York City suburb of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., and attended the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. His father is a dentist, his mother a psychiatrist, and he has three sisters. He taught himself how to program computers, and during his senior year in high school, he and fellow hacker-programmer Adam D’Angelo caught the interest of AOL and Microsoft by creating a Winamp plug-in that could build customized playlists.

But both turned down job offers in order to attend college in 2002 — Zuckerberg to Harvard and D’Angelo to CalTech. But Zuckerberg’s undergraduate career in computer science wasn’t destined to last. Not content to just study programming, he created a photo-rating site called Facemash, using photographs of other Harvard students from the school’s online facebook (a yearbook-like publication designed to introduce students to one another). But he created his program by hacking into student records and using photos without permission, and was reprimanded by the administration for violating privacy rules and breaching computer security.

Zuckerberg, however, wasn’t deterred. He eventually finished the platform for “The Facebook” (sometimes at the expense of attending class), combining the concept of traditional facebooks with large-scale social networking sites like Myspace and Friendster.


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Richard Branson

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Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born on July 18, 1950, in Surrey, England. His father, Edward James Branson, worked as a barrister. His mother, Eve Branson, was employed as a flight attendant. Richard, who struggled with dyslexia, had a hard time with educational institutions. He nearly failed out of the all-boys Scaitcliffe School, which he attended until the age of 13. He then transferred to Stowe School, a boarding school in Stowe, Buckinghamshire, England.

Still struggling, Branson dropped out at the age of 16 to start a youth-culture magazine called Student. The publication, run by students, for students, sold $8,000 worth of advertising in its first edition, which was launched in 1966. The first run of 50,000 copies was disseminated for free, after Branson covered the costs with advertising.

By 1969, Branson was living in a London commune, surrounded by the British music and drug scene. It was during this time that Branson had the idea to begin a mail-order record company called Virgin to help fund his magazine efforts. The company performed modestly, but made Branson enough that he was able to expand his business venture, adding a record shop in Oxford Street, London. With the success of the record shop, the high school drop-out was able to build a recording studio in 1972 in Oxfordshire, England.


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Sergey Brin

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As a research project at Stanford University, Brin and Page created a search engine that listed results according to the popularity of the pages, after concluding that the most popular result would often be the most useful. They called the search engine Google after the mathematical term “googol,” which is a 1 followed by 100 zeros, to reflect their mission to organize the immense amount of information available on the Web.

After raising $1 million from family, friends and other investors, the pair launched the company in 1998. Headquartered in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, Google held its initial public offering in August 2004, making Brin and Page billionaires. Google has since become the world’s most popular search engine, receiving an average of more than a trillion searches a day in 2016.


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Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs’ vision of a “computer for the rest of us” sparked the PC revolution and made Apple an icon of American business. But somewhere along the way, Jobs’ vision got clouded — some say by his ego — and he was ousted from the company he helped found. Few will disagree that Jobs did indeed impede Apple’s growth, yet without him, the company lost its sense of direction and pioneering spirit. After nearly 10 years of plummeting sales, Apple turned to its visionary founder for help, and a little older and wiser Jobs engineered one of the most amazing turnarounds of the 20th century.

The adopted son of a Mountain View, Calif., machinist, Steve Jobs showed an early interest in electronics and gadgetry. While in high school, he boldly called Hewlett-Packard co-founder and president William Hewlett to ask for parts for a school project. Impressed by Jobs, Hewlett not only gave him the parts, but also offered him a summer internship at Hewlett-Packard. It was there that Jobs met and befriended Steve Wozniak, a young engineer five years his senior with a penchant for tinkering.

After graduating from high school, Jobs enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Ore. but dropped out after one semester. He had become fascinated by Eastern spiritualism and took a part-time job designing video games for Atari in order to finance a trip to India to study Eastern culture and religion.


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