Steve Ballmer is a name that may not ring a bell but he may soon become richer than Bill Gates.
The irony is that Ballmer started his career as Bill Gates’ assistant.
Ballmer dropped out of Stanford business school to become the 30th employee at Microsoft in the 1980.
Back then, the company was a little more than a start-up so that move was actually pretty bold.
Ballmer had met Gates at Harvard undergrad just a few years prior to that, and after joining Microsoft, he essentially became Gates’ assistant.
His job was to make Microsoft more professional, he had to make it look and work more like a company rather than a small start-up.
He ran the company from 2000 to 2014.
However, after 14 years, Ballmer began regularly having ‘differences’, ie arguments, with the board, which is why he ultimately decided to step down.
After leaving Microsoft, he became the owner of the L.A. Clippers basketball team.
But that’s not the reason why he got so rich.
Ballmer needs to thank his own vision, cunning – and luck – for that.
Joining Microsoft in the 1980s looked like a gamble, but it was the right move.
In addition to that, Ballmer acquired billions worth of Microsoft stock, mostly through stock options he was given as part of his salary.
Most CEOs are paid (in part) in stock options so that bit is not particularly surprising.
However, back then, buying Microsoft stock was, again, a bit of a bet.
Ballmer was the right man in the right position at the right time.
Today, Steve Ballmer has a net worth of $106 billion, making him the ninth richest man on the planet.
To put that in perspective, Bill Gates is ‘only’ $7 billion richer than Ballmer.