“College Dropouts” is quiet a buzzword in today’s era! We are taught from day one that you need to study hard; go for this course or that degree for better job opportunities and so on. Study and high degrees are always considered as the only way to success.
Well, the harsh truth is that all people are not good at studies. It doesn’t mean that they can’t be successful. All of us have our own strengths and weaknesses. After all, all of us are gifted with some kinda of special talent of our own.
If you combine your strengths with your creativity, you will be Skyward Bound! This list includes people who best fit this statement and who dropped out from their colleges to follow their passion & changed the world with their creativity. Let’s explore about these college dropouts!
World’s Top College Dropouts & Self-Made Billionaire Entrepreneurs
#1 Bill Gates
It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure – Bill Gates
Bill Gates is an American businessman and is the richest person in the world after Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. As per Forbes, Gates’ net worth as of May 2018 is USD 9,300 crore!
After completion of his graduation in 1973, Gates enrolled at Harvard College in 1973. In 1975, Bill Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard to work on his computer project dubbed as “Micro-soft” and never returned to Harvard again, becoming a college dropout!
Later, this college dropout’s venture ended up as now the world’s biggest company for PC software and office products that we all know as “Microsoft”.It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure - Bill GatesClick To Tweet
#2 Mark Zuckerberg
By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent – Mark Zuckerberg
Mark is an American computer programmer and internet entrepreneur who changed the world by inventing the world’s largest social media network site Facebook that 220+ crore people use each day to connect with their friends & family; to express their thoughts, for latest news; messaging and for a number of other things.
Mark Zuckerberg studied at Harvard University and build the first version of Facebook (originally called “The Facebook”) from his study room.
Though it is alleged that Mark stole the idea of his Harvard seniors and mislead them, but undeniably, this guy has taken social media to a whole new level and connected people & businesses in a way like no person or company did before.
Mark developed Facebook in disguise of building a better connectivity platform for Harvard & dropped out in his second year to launch Facebook independently, securing a position is the list of college dropouts! What Mark did after that is history! Later, Mark launched Facebook as an independent social media platform, claiming it as his own idea.
Anyway, Facebook turned out a massive success. As of May 2018, more than 2.2 billion people are using Facebook, earning Mark a net worth of USD 7,320 crore as per Forbes!
Mark is ranked at number 5 in the Forbes’ 2018 “The World’s Billionaires List”.By giving people the power to share, we are making the world more transparent - Mark ZuckerbergClick To Tweet
#3 Steve Jobs
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower – Steve Jobs
World knows Steve Jobs for his creation of the world’s most valued company – “Apple”. Apple has really revolutionized the entire world.
Although, Steve Jobs is no more and sadly, ended his life facing cancer in 2011, we still remember him for what he has given to us.
Jobs attended Reed College in United States which was very expensive. Jobs decided to drop out of there so that he could attend the classes that looked more interesting to him! After college dropout, he founded Apple company which is best known for iPhones and Mac computers & laptops.
Later, he went on to find NeXT & PIXAR – the two great companies in the world of computer software & animation respectively. (There is an interesting story behind these two companies. Will cover them later!)
Steve’s innovations & his great companies earned him billions of dollars. As per Investopedia, at the time of his death, Jobs’ net worth was estimated at USD 10.2 billion.Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower - Steve JobsClick To Tweet
#4 Michael Dell
You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream – Michael Dell
Michael Dell is the founder of “Dell Technologies”, the company behind Dell computer and laptops.
By the time Michael was in junior high, he was addicted to computers and later Michael registered Dell company as “Dell Computer Corporation” in 1984 while studying in the University of Texas & dropped out of the University in his first year when he was just 19!
One thing that make Michael different from others was that he was very clear about what he wanted to do in life. Michael said:
I always knew I wanted to run a business someday.
Entrepreneur Magazine reported about Michael Dell as under:
His parents were furious when he told them he wanted to drop out of college, so to appease them, Dell agreed to go back to school if the summer’s sales proved disappointing. In his first month in business, Dell sold some $180,000 worth of PCs. He never returned for his sophomore year.
As of May 2018, Michael holds net worth of USD 2,350 crore as per Forbes and is ranked at Number 39 in the Forbes’ 2018 “The World’s Billionaire List”.You don't have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream - Michael DellClick To Tweet
Want to explore Dell’s journey through his childhood adventures, ups and downs, and mistakes made along the way? Get his self-authored book – ‘Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry’.
#5 Julian Assange
Have you heard of WikiLeaks – the giant public library of world’s most secret, censored & restricted documents & news leaks, focused to make public the ‘evidence of trust’! Currently, the site claims to have 10 million of such documents.
Julian is the founder of WikiLeaks. He is the extraordinary & supremely genius person, responsible for the fear of many wrongdoers, because of his creation i.e. WikiLeaks.
Before founding WikiLeaks, he attended the University of Melbourne in Australia, but dropped out before completion of his degree program. After all, he was a talented hacker, who started hacking at just 16. After hacking many international sites (including site of NASA, US Department of Defense, Stanford University, Citibank, Xerox, Motorola), he as rewarded for his ‘passion – driven – misdeeds‘ in the form of a penalty order directing him to pay Australian Dollar 2100 in fine & furnish a ‘good behavior bond‘.
#6 Evan Williams
Evan William is the man behind one of the most popular social media network & one of the top 10 sites on the internet – ‘Twitter‘!
Before gifting the world with Twitter, Evan attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in United States. He left the college just after one and a half year.
After college dropout & before coming up with the idea of Twitter (which perhaps, is the biggest milestone in Evan’s career life), Evan tried his entrepreneurial luck with several work opportunities & business ventures like:
- Tech jobs in startup companies
- Running his family farm
- Computer Code Contractor
- Co-founded ‘Blogger’ – the kinda pioneer platform in the world of blogging, which was acquired by Google in 2003
- Working at Google’s blog unit (Evan left Google in October 2004)
- Co-founded Odeo (a podcast company), which was sold by Evan to a New York based startup
Evan founded Twitter in 2006 & is a billionaire now.
Today, no one can deny that Evan is a successful entrepreneur, who is a college dropout too!
Later, in 2012, Evan founded Medium (an online publishing platform to publish longer stories). As of 2018, Medium has about 100 million users who use the platform to listen to other’s stories ‘n’ ideas and tell theirs!
So, Evan has built Blogger, Odeo, Twitter, Medium, and we don’t know what’s next in his mind! That makes Evan a true inspiration for all the college dropouts in the world.
#7 Larry Ellison
Born in New York City, Larry Ellision is more than just a college dropout entrepreneur. Larry is widely known as the founder of Oracle, and as of November 2018, he has a net worth of $61.2 billion.
Passion was not the reason for Larry’s college dropout. Here is the reason, I found on Wikipedia about the college dropout of ‘The Oracle Billionaire’:
Ellison left the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign after his second year, not taking his final exams, because his adoptive mother had just died. After spending a summer in Northern California, he attended the University of Chicago for one term, where he first encountered computer design. In 1966, aged 22, he moved to Northern California.
After dropping out of the University of Chicago, Larry build a database for Central Intelligence Agency. Impressive! Isn’t it?
Later in 1977, when he was about 33, Larry co-founded his first company called ‘Software Development Laboratories’ or ‘SDL’, with an investment of $1200 & two other partners. Later, in 1979, SDL was renamed as ‘Relational Software Inc’ which was ultimately renamed to ‘Oracle Software Inc’ (thanks to its flagship product – Oracle Database) in 1982.
Today, billions are familiar with the name of Oracle, which is the third largest software maker in the world, ranked behind just after two companies – Microsoft & Alphabet. [Ironically, Microsoft was also founded by a college dropout! Yes. It’s Bill Gates!]
😲 Non-Plus Info: Apart from being a college dropout, founder of Oracle, and Billionaire, Larry Ellison is also a licensed aircraft pilot! 😲
Takeaway From College Dropouts List
Did you get the point of ‘Successful College Dropouts List’? It simply tries to let you know that if you are not good at academics, that doesn’t mean that you can’t fly high. If college dropouts can build multi-billion-dollar companies, you can too.
People we just learned about, are the ones who invented something useful in their life, going beyond typical education system and set new standards for success. If you have any suggestions for further people or better, personalities, do let us know.
Note: The solo purpose of this Billionaire College Dropouts List is to motivate you to do something for the betterment of your life. We are not encouraging anyone not to study or to drop out from their schools and colleges. After all, nothing can replace a better education. Whatever field you want to make your career in, you need to learn about that field to be successful. In other words, if you want to drop out of your school or college, you need to drop in elsewhere to learn the things you want to do.Only passion is not sufficient - I'm Skyward BoundClick To Tweet
In short, by dropping out, you can’t replace the continued learning, hard work & efforts that you need to put into your work, throughout your lifetime. So, get this article in a positive way. Further, we would like to mention that blindly following your passion is no way to success. Only passion is not sufficient. It requires proper planning, dedication, hard work and will power to be successful.
There are very few & countable people who dropped out to pursue their passion & turned out to be successful. At the same time, there are countless people who also dropped out to pursue their passion & failed miserably. So, plan your move carefully. Plan for all the possible outcomes as financial stability is one of the most important aspect of a happy life. Don’t take risk, take calculated risk. It’s the best approach to stay Inspired, relaxed & being Skyward Bound.
I’m Skyward Bound: say it to yourself & say it to the world!
One more thing, if you know some person, who is a college dropout and deserve a place in Briefian’s ‘College Dropouts List’, do let us know via your comments or contact us!
I Flickr – Julian Assange photograph.
II Flickr – Evan Williams Photograph.
III Flickr – Larry Ellison Photograph.
I Wikipedia – Michael Dell.
II Wikipedia – Julian Assange.
III CNET – Blogger founder leaves Google.
IV Wikipedia – Evan Williams (Internet entrepreneur).
V WIRED – SONIC MOUNTAIN SNAPS UP ODEO.
VI Wikipedia – Larry Ellison.
VII Wikipedia – Oracle Corporation.
VIII Forbes – Larry Ellison.