We live in this digital era where everything seems to run on computers. Communication is easier. The transfer of information is faster. As the years unfold and as new innovations and new inventions surface, so too do new needs arise. It is no wonder that many billionaires these days became rich because they invested and rode on the fame of this digital technology. They saw the need (or created a need), and they met this need. And in return, they became filthy rich. Interestingly, the people on the list of “digital billionaires” seem to get younger as the decades pass. Some of them are not even in their 40’s!
Bill Gates – Microsoft
What better way to start off the list of billionaires in the digital era than with the richest and most popular of all? Bill Gates has a present net worth of $61 billion according to Forbes Magazine, and he was the richest man in the world from 1995 to 2007 and again in 2009. He was the wealthiest person in America and second wealthiest in the world in 2011. In fact, he could have been number 1, but he gave away $30 billion to charity.
At the young age of 20, Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft. These days his very name is synonymous with Microsoft, which he started with his good friend Paul Allen on April 4, 1975. He was the CEO of the company, and he is now chairman. He began the philanthropic group, “The Giving Pledge” with fellow billionaire Warren Buffet. With this group, they entice other billionaires to donate a large part of their money to worthy causes. The two billionaires, through the Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge, have committed to donating half of their wealth to charity. Bill Gates also established a Foundation with his wife Melinda. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focuses on alleviating poverty and improving healthcare worldwide.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
Over the last decade, social networking rose to fame. Thanks to Facebook, it became even more popular. Its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg (only 27 yrs. old) is now one of the youngest billionaires in the world with a net worth of over $17 billion. Zuckerberg’s rise to fame and fortune was quick. From the dawn of Facebook in 2004 to only 6 years after when he was named the 2011 Person of the Year in Time Magazine and was listed among the Top 100 Most Influential People of the Information Age published by Vanity Fair Magazine.
Facebook was created inside a dorm room in Harvard by Zuckerberg and his friend, and it now it has 3,000 employees. Within the second quarter of 2012, Facebook will launch its IPO where Zuckerberg is expected to gain millions more.
Mark Pincus – Zynga
If you are into social networking, then you might have heard of the company Zynga. It is one of the leading producers of online games (Farmville, Cityville, Mafia Wars, etc.) for social networking sites like Facebook. Mark Pincus is the CEO of Zynga Inc., and it’s net worth was valued at $2 billion in 2011.
He started his first company Freeload Inc. in 1995. It was sold to Individual Inc. only seven months after its conception for a whopping $38 million. This fast turn of events was probably a result of Mark Pincus’ belief that time in the digital world runs much faster than in reality. He was quoted as saying, “In our world, we started saying from day one that three months is a year. That means you live like time is moving at that pace…”
Yoshikazu Tanaka – Gree Inc.
Another known company in the online gaming world is Openfeint. Openfeint allows players of online games to compare scores, add friends and pretty much add social networking capabilities to games. Last April in 2011, it was sold at $104 million to Gree Inc. The CEO and founder of Gree Inc. is a young entrepreneur named Yoshinaku Tanaka. Tanaka, who is presently 35 yrs. old, and his net worth is estimated at $1.4 billion as of 2011. He is second to Mark Zuckerberg as the World’s Youngest Self-made Billionaire in 2010 and also the youngest owner of a company that is included in the first section of Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Jeff Bezos – Amazon.com
Next on the list of digital billionaires is not a software/hardware developer but rather an online marketing whiz. Jeff Bezos is the genius behind Amazon.com. Presently, Amazon.com is the leading online retailer in the world. The idea behind Amazon.com was conceptualized inside his car while he was on his way to Seattle from New York, and the company was established inside his garage. The company started in 1995 selling solely books online. Presently, it is now selling not just books, but other consumer goods like DVDs, CDs, apparel, electronics, toys and more. Bezo’s net worth is valued at US$18.1 billion as of 2011.
Many success stories started off with just a single bright idea that flourished into reality with perseverance and hard work. Got any bright ideas yourself? Also, check out lessons from frugal billionaires.