LARRY ELLISON: worth US$28 billion/£18 billion

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Lawrence Joseph “Larry” Ellison was born in the city of New York to the family of a 19-year-old unwed Jewess woman called Florence Spellman, he was later to be adopted by his mother’s aunt and uncle, Lillian and Ellison Spellman after his mother found out she couldn’t take care of him when he had pneumonia. The adoption was carried out at the mother’s request since his father, who happened to be an Italian-American air force pilot at the time, was stationed overseas before Florence knew she was even pregnant with him. It was quite a challenge on little Larry who grew up neither knowing nor meeting his mother until he was 48, while his father still didn’t know of his existence. It was under such challenges that he graduated from Eugene Field Elementary school, Chicago, in January 1958, and went further to attend Sullivan High School; where he stayed till the autumn of 1959 before he moved to South Shore. Ellison was said to be a bright but neglectful student. This was exhibited when he abandoned the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign at the end of his second year without taking his final exams, due to the demise of his adoptive mother. After the time of bereavement, he attended the University of Chicago for just a term, which afforded him his first encounter on computer design skills. Although his first three marriages ended in a divorce, he had two children born of his marriage to Barbara Boothe. He gained inspiration for that as he went through an Edgar F. Codd paper on relational database system titled, “A relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks.” With such inspiration, he went ahead in 1997 to found Oracle under the name “Software Development Laboratories.” This he did putting up a meager $1,400 from his own money. The company was later to be named “Oracle”, after the chief product called Oracle database. His hard work actually paid off when in 2005 Oracle paid him $995,100 as a salary. As though that wasn’t enough, he earned a total compensation of $61,180,524 in 2007, which increased to 84,598,700 in 2008 (with no stocks granted that year).

It is in record that for a short time in 2000, Larry Ellison, who was so much disadvantaged from birth, became the wealthiest man in the world. He later became America’s third richest man, and the sixth richest person in the world; as recorded by Forbes with a net worth of US $28 billion.

Not known for giving anything away for free, his advice seems limited to quotes specific to himself, but some good advise can be gleaned for these quotes:-

"The most important aspect of my personality as far as determining my success goes; has been my questioning conventional wisdom, doubting experts and questioning authority. While that can be painful in your relationships with your parents and teachers, it's enormously useful in life.

"I have had all the disadvantages required for success."

"When you innovate, you've got to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts."

"You have to act and act now."

"When you are the first person whose beliefs are different from what everyone else believes, you are basically saying, 'I’m right and everyone else is wrong.' That's a very unpleasant position to be in. It's at once exhilaration and the same time an invitation to be attacked."

"In some ways, getting away from the headquarters and having a little time to reflect allows you to find errors in your strategy. You get to rethink things. Often, that helps me correct a mistake that I made or someone else is about to make."

“There’s a wonderful saying that’s dead wrong. ‘Why did you climb the mountain? ‘I climbed the mountain because it was there.’ That’s utter nonsense. You climbed the mountain because you were here and you were curious if you could do it. You wondered what it would be like.”

“I’d prefer people read about Churchill and how he wasn't overwhelmed by Nazi Germany. Amazing; that the morale of a country rested on one person’s shoulders. Extraordinary people carried that country through its darkest hours; truly inspirational. I suppose that’s my theme. Whether it’s a biography or a movie; whether it’s fictional or true, I’m inspired by people doing great things.”