His inventions are probably not as medial as those from Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Larry Ellison is, however, the fifth richest American in history, and he made his fortune on IT. More specifically, on databases.
Do you associate Larry Ellison? You read Spider's Web, so many people will confirm it. Ask for the same friends, however. And then check if they know Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. And Ellison definitely fits this group, one of the most influential figures in the world of information technology.
Ellison was born in New York, August 17, 1944. And like many visionaries of the IT revolution, he had a difficult childhood. He was abandoned by his mother before he was one year old when he developed pneumonia as a baby. His education was mainly supervised by his aunt and uncle. He never met his father, and he met his mother at the age of 48. He also never let himself be persuaded to be practiced by his adoptive family of reformed Judaism.
The studies were not something that was particularly interesting to Larry Ellison.
His abandonment of the University of Illinois after only four semesters can be explained by a sudden and important event in his life: his adopted mother died then. Reasons for leaving the IT studies at the University of Chicago after the first semester were not really at all. Ellison at the age of 22 decided to throw everything in hell and go to California.
There he became interested in working in the IT industry. After a short adventure with Amdahl Corporation, he started working for Ampex. His luck was favorable: one of the projects he was assigned to was the creation of a database for the US Central Intelligence Agency called Oracle. Working on the management system of this relational database (RDBMS), he came to the conclusion that he is really good at it. And that means that it is worth to go your own way .
In 1979, Oracle was founded.
Oh, I'm sorry. Actually, the registered name was Relational Software - it was only in 1982 that it was changed to Oracle, which is still known today. Ellison's intention was to create a relational database compliant with IBM System R. The plan failed: the competitor designed the database so that it could not be consulted without its documentation. And this was obviously secret.
Oracle created a competitor, which was called Oracle 2 (Oracle 1 was never created). It debuted in 1979 on the market and was successful. Ellison has become a major player in the market for digital databases and ... so much. These were certainly exciting times for Oracle, but for those outside the company, nothing interesting happened for the next decades. Ot, another of the very numerous competitors dominating the IBM market, which over the years has managed to find enough customers to earn good money.
The first breakthrough came in 1990 and it did not necessarily work in favor of the company.
The world of media dealing with IT business drew attention to Oracle, when in one year it got rid of 400 employees - about 10 percent. your workforce. The company was losing money. What's more, she was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Oracle, as it turned out, posted in the revenue section expected only in the next settlement period. Including those, according to which future customers buy from Oracle the entire software package, after trying it. Why? He failed the incentive system for the rank -and- file merchants who were getting higher bonuses for selling the entire package. Of course, customers of- ten often gave up a large part of the offered software, choosing only what they actually needed. Or they resigned from cooperation.
It sooner or later had to lead to corrections in accounting. Oracle miraculously survived the class action lawsuits.
Better times awaited Ellison. Mainly because of greedy competition.
IBM was the dominant provider of databases for corporate clients, mainly due to DB2 and SQL / DS products. For some reasons, however, he refrained from introducing database products to an increasingly important market for small and medium enterprises using PCs with Windows or Unix. Sybase, Microsoft, Informix and Oracle used it.
Sybase was the most successful in this segment, being in the years 1990-1993 the fastest growing capital company dealing in the creation of databases. This, however, eliminated itself from the market itself, first selling SQL Server in 1993 to Microsoft, and then giving itself to Powersoft in 1996, which significantly slowed down the further development of products.
Informix himself got into trouble too. In April 1997, he announced huge declines in revenues, and his CEO was ultimately sent to prison. The survivors of the company were absorbed by IBM. Ellison remained alone on the market.
Oracle has become one of the most important companies in the industry.
His rivals ended up alone, and Ellison and his company started making huge money. Oracle's founder also went to the board of Apple, but he resigned from this function in 2002. He stated that "there is no time for this". No wonder - Oracle has become one of the very few companies on the market that mean something. The other is Microsoft with its SQL Server. The third is still dominant in IBM mainframes and its DB2.
To strengthen its position, in 2010 Oracle took over Sun for its open source MySQL database. Investors had no doubts what direction to throw money in. And Ellison, thanks to the actions of his company, already in March of the same year became the sixth richest man in the world. A year later it was already the fifth.
In 2013, he resigned as the CEO of Oracle. They were replaced by Mark Hurd and Safra Catz. Ellison himself reduced his role to the president of the board and director of development. And he became interested in Tesla, in which he is the director of the board.
Larry Ellison is simply a standard example of a billionaire.
No wonder that the character of Tony Stark from the Iron Man filming was inspired by him (in the margin: Ellison appeared for a few seconds in the second part of the movie). This one lives exactly as we imagine the stereotypically most powerful businessmen on the planet. Admittedly, he's probably not pummeling the fools around the night, but all the rest would fit in well with someone like Bruce Wayne.
Ellison is a collector of sports cars - the ideal is the Acura NSX. He also bought a 50-percent stake in the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, being a big enthusiast of this sport. He is also the owner of the Indian Wells Masters tournament. He loves yacht races, so he himself funded the BMW Oracle Racing Championship - taking part in them as well.
Like a classic billionaire, it also has its own luxury yacht: the eighth largest in the world, the largest of its kind, for which it paid $ 200 million. He also has several planes - which he himself pilotes - including two military ones: S.211 and MIG-29.
What Ellison does not share with Wayne or Stark is determination to improve the world.
Oracle's founder is definitely not the second Bill Gates. It is true that the billionaire has already handed over hundreds of millions to charity, but a large part of the donations was motivated by fiscal considerations or the willingness to settle on the occasion of various conflicts with the law. And also - in the case of donations with a total value of almost $ 0.5 billion. - for research to let him cheat death and live a little longer. On which, of course, we can also gain.
Sympathy certainly did not arouse his controversial words about Edward Snowden, who betrayed the US authorities, informing the public about the system of mass data collection about citizens without their knowledge and consent. As he argued, "Snowden can not point to one person injured by the actions of the American National Security Agency."
Ellison was married four times, each of the marriages ended in divorce. He has two children. He lives on his shares - including a significant number of Salesforce.com, Quark Biotechnology and Astex Pharmaceuticals. He does not communicate his plans for the future, declaring his satisfaction with his work at Oracle and Tesla. And it does not look like its 74 years on the back of the neck, which suggests that its investments in medicine have at least partly paid off.
He began by creating a database for the CIA. What is Larry Ellison doing today, Oracle founder?