Back at the beginning of the twentieth century, the world’s only billionaire was one JD Rockerfeller who built his wealth dabbling in the then burgeoning petroleum industry.
Fast forward a century and billionaires are more common than national lottery winners – or so it would seem. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Evan Spiegel, Mark Zuckerberg – the list goes on.
If you’re planning on joining this exclusive list of extremely wealthy individuals, here’s what you’ll need to ensure your bank balance resembles a couple of mobile phone numbers put together in sequence:
Knowledge of the tech industry
A significant number of recently made billionaires acquired their wealth by developing a disruptive technology that ended up turning an entire industry on its head. You’ll therefore need to dig out your old copies of Computer World and get some hardcore reading done whilst sitting on the toilet.
Find a niche
You’ll need to focus on ideas that differ from what has gone on before. There’s no point going onto Dragon’s Den with something round called a wheel and expecting the investment cash to roll in. Look for ideas that solve those everyday problems that nobody ever really thought of as a solvable problem before, like:
- Not being able to hire a cab (Uber)
- Not being able to afford a decent hotel (Air bnb)
- Continually forgetting your USB flash drive (Dropbox)
- Having mates that don’t want to know what your state of mind is, what you had for breakfast or where you are at every given moment of the day (Facebook)
Be a bit crazy
“Personal computers will never catch on…….” said somebody once that is now probably not a tech billionaire. Mega-rich titans of technology tend to be pretty darn good at visualising the impossible and turning it into reality.
The commitment of a zealot
Footie at the weekend, your favourite rock band’s only festival appearance of the year, relationships and pretty much everything else – becoming a tech billionaire will require so much time and effort that there won’t be much left for anything else. Maybe when you sell your multi-billion dollar start-up you can factor in the fact that you’ll never have to work again, so will therefore have lots of time to make up for the things you sacrificed. Then again if you’re a tech billionaire, you’ll probably want to spend your time working out how to send humans to Jupiter or something equally insane.
Don’t fear failure
It would seem Rome was not built in a day. Some of today’s most successful brands experienced repeated failure before they finally got the formula right for success. James Dyson, inventor of the sector transforming vacuum cleaner is a notable example. It apparently took him the best part of two decades and numerous re-jigs of his prototype over this period before he hit pay dirt. Now it’s fair say he’s, er – hoovering up the cash.
If possible, have an obsessive compulsive disorder
The devil, as the saying goes is in the detail. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was well known for his obsessive attention to detail. It will take small things to make big differences so bear this in mind on your stratospheric rise to the summit.
Every Roy Rodgers needs a Champion the Wonder Horse, every Bonnie a Clyde and every Sid requires a Nancy. Double acts are the stuff of which multi-billion dollar tech firms are made. Think Bill Gates and Paul Allen, or Apple’s two Steves. You’ll need somebody by your side to bounce ideas off and make the tea on your great trek to Silicon Valley.
Always Remember the Customer
No matter how good your idea for the next Facebook is, remember that it’s ultimately all about improving the lives of your customers. Get that part right and you’ll be drinking champagne on the deck of your own superyacht in no time.