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10 Richest, Most Successful Tech Geniuses

Author: Matthew Jackson

Each year, Forbes publishes an updated list ranking the world's billionaires. Unlike many industries, tech billionaires are mostly self-made. Many of these billionaires came from humble means and, through their own genius, changed the world. As of today, these are the ten richest, most successful tech geniuses out there. The estimated net worth of each member on this list has been updated in real-time as of July 23rd, 2015. (For more, see What Education Do You Need To Become a Billionaire?)

Number 10: Azim Premji (estimated net worth $17.1 billion)

Premji is a tycoon of the Indian IT industry and Chairman of Wipro. He is also a well-regarded philanthropist and is the first Indian to sign the giving pledge, committing to give at least half of his wealth to charity.

Number 9: Paul Allen (estimated net worth $17.5 billion)

Paul Allen was the man who originally convinced Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard and found Microsoft Corp. (MSFT). Not only is Allen the co-founder of Microsoft, he is also a well-known philanthropist and investor. Currently, Allen is the owner of both the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks.

Number 8: Michael Dell (estimated net worth: $18.3 billion)

Michael Dell is probably not the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of tech geniuses, simply because his company's technology has been stale in recent years. But Dell's tremendous journey, growing his company from a home-based business to a formerly publicly-traded firm, is remarkable. The company's claim to fame was a direct-to-consumer business model that saved cost and maximized efficiency, leading to lower priced PCs. In 2013, Dell took his company private again and has reported that the move is turning the business around.

Number 7: Jack Ma (estimated net worth: $22.9 billion)

Former English teacher turned tech entrepreneur Jack Ma is the richest man in China. In 1999, Ma and a group of friends launched Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA) to address the lack of e-commerce presence in China. Presently, Ma's Alibaba Group is valued at over $200 billion and includes properties such as Alibaba.com, a wholesale e-tail site similar to eBay Inc. (EBAY) and Overstock.com Inc. (OSTK), Alitrip, Alipay, and more.

Numbers 6 and 5: Sergey Brin (estimated net worth $34.9 billion) and Larry Page ($35.6 billion)

Sergey Brin and Larry Page are co-founders of Google Inc. (GOOG), the online search and tech powerhouse whose name is now synonymous with online search itself. The duo's PageRank algorithm for generating search results, named after Page, helped propel Google from research project to public corporation in just five years. Google is one of the most important tech companies in the world today, with business units that go far beyond search. A recent surge in Google's business has elevated its stock to all-time highs, bolstering the net worth of Page and Brin considerably over the past few months.

Number 4: Mark Zuckerberg (estimated net worth: $42.5 billion)

Facebook, Inc. (FB) founder Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to launch a business that has changed our very way of life. Along the way, he lost a few friends (as told in The Social Network), and showed incredible moxie by turning down a $1 billion buyout offer from Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) only two years into Facebook's existence when he was just 22 years old.

Number 3: Jeff Bezos (estimated net worth: $43.8 billion)

In 1994, Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) after leaving a well-paying job at a Wall Street hedge fund. By starting Amazon as a simple online bookseller, Bezos was hoping to cash in on the rapid growth of Internet businesses in the 90s. Yet, through the years, both he and Amazon have proved to be transformative. Today, Amazon is a multi-platform e-commerce and technology giant that is in the business of everything from tablets, streaming movies and e-tailing. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post, and though many predicted big changes, he has left the paper largely unchanged. (For more, see Navigating E-commerce: Alibaba, eBay and Amazon.)

Number 2: Larry Ellison (estimated net worth: $49.1 billion)

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) founder Larry Ellison is well known for his rags-to-riches story. He went from college dropout to self-taught programmer to billionaire, and through Oracle's success, he has become the fifth richest person in the world. Ellison is famous for his extravagant lifestyle: he owns yachts and 98% of a Hawaiian island, but he is also a tremendous philanthropist. Perhaps the most interesting fact about Ellison is that he wasn't exposed to technology from a young age and didn't start programming until college.

Number 1: Bill Gates (estimated net worth $79.2 billion)

Bill Gates, the co-founder and mastermind behind Microsoft, is well known for his giving nature through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but he was less than giving in business. Gates was known for his competitive and ruthless nature as well as his tech prowess. He founded his first company, Traf-o-Data, at age 15, founded Microsoft at age 20 and became a billionaire by age 31. Once Microsoft entered the operating system business, it became a success, with the Windows operating system serving as the standard across the PC market throughout the 90s.

The Bottom Line

Americans are obsessed with the wealthy. We follow Warren Buffett's every move, Oprah's book recommendations and even Donald Trumps political career. While the wealthy are fascinating, there is something to be said for those who have accumulated their wealth through their own genius rather than inheritance or financial engineering. The members of this group of successful tech billionaires have changed our way of life by sharing their talents, which makes them far more fascinating than most rich business people.

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