Leave it to the 11 billionaires under 40 on Forbes’ Youngest Billionaires Listto spark envy, awe and inspiration. Many like to think they’re just an app invention away from entering the billionaire’s club, but is it really that easy? Here are some commonalities everyone on the list has to help inspire your next moves.
They’re all tech savvy.
No surprise here – tech is where the money is. Bigwigs at Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter all make the annual list yet again, but even the newcomers aren’t tech clueless. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is 38 and definitely didn’t grow up social media obsessed like today’s young adults, but his app is killing it in the tech business right now. Likewise, Nick Woodman, 39, got rich by founding GoPro, a wearable video camera company. At first, he just had an idea and not the tech knowhow (he built his first camera with his mom’s sewing machine and a drill), but he educated himself and the company grew from there.
They didn’t let adversity stand in the way.
A vast majority of people on the list were not born into grand wealth. Whatsapp founder Jan Koum, 38, and his mother lived in a government assisted apartment when he was a child. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer work, Koum started paying the bills by working at Yahoo, putting his computer knowledge to use. There, he met great mentors who he not only learned from, but established friendships with, including Yahoo exec David Filo, who cofounded the app with him.Another guy who didn’t just quit: Napster founder Sean Parker, 34. After the rise and fall of Napster, Parker jumped on board of Facebook early on, as well as Spotify and civic engagement tech startup Brigage Media.
They don’t get too comfortable.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut at work if you make decent money and are good at what you’re doing. But the 11 billionaires on this list all look for new ways to be challenged. Many started out at dream companies to work for, like Apple, but instead of being content with a good salary and enviable career, they asked themselves, what’s next? Working your way up the corporate ladder at the company you currently work at is a great goal, but don’t underestimate the value of branching out on your own if you have a brilliant idea and a way to make it work.
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