The World's Youngest 'Self-Made' Billionaire Is a College Dropout
By Kris Deichler, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
At age 27, Irish born John Collison is officially the world's youngest 'self-made' billionaire. By self-made, we mean it wasn't wealth he inherited or won on the lottery. Not that he made it all by himself either! In fact, the third youngest Billionaire and John's business partner is his elder brother, Patrick (aged 29). The brothers from County Tipperary in the west of Ireland made their money through a tech company most people will never have heard of - Stripe - a software company that makes online business transactions safe, simple and efficient.
So where did the idea for such a company, which last year announced a new round of funding that valued the company at $9.2bn, come from? Mr Collison tells the BBC that:
"We came up with Stripe the way a lot of people come up with similar ideas - we were in the market for something like Stripe [that we could use]."
One of the most interesting things about the Collison brothers' story is that both of them dropped out of studying at prestigious American universities; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for Patrick and Harvard University for John. It's a decision they share with some of the world's most famous billionaires; including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Does this mean a higher-level of education isn't linked to wealth creation? It does seem that way. Not that higher-level education isn't important or valuable, but the idea that it's a requirement for business success is clearly a myth.
What you, I and anyone else out there can learn most from John and Patrick Collison through this story is that the key to generating value is to recognise where it is most needed and to provide it in the best way possible. By being astute enough to see for themselves where a service like Stripe could add a lot of value, not just to themselves, but to all businesses, and looking at how they could provide that value better than any competitors, they have created the foundation for a highly successful venture. The next challenge is sustaining and maintaining what they have created.
There are opportunities around each and every one of us every day for ways in which we can add value to others. The more value we can add, the more we are set to receive... that's so long as if we're looking out for it!! What opportunities have you seen that you could you be capitalising on?
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