Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates Really ‘Self-Made’? This Viral Twitter Thread Debunks the Myths

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

Bill Gates is known as someone who dropped out of college. But did you know his mother convinced IBM to hire Microsoft?

  • Last Updated: July 13, 2020, 9:58 AM IST

In 2018, Forbes listed Kylie Jenner, of Kylie cosmetics and reality TV fame, as one of the richest ‘self-made’ people in America.

However, the (then) 21-year-old’s nomination stirred up a controversy about what the tag ‘self-made’ really meant. Many felt that considering she is part of the Kardashian clan and has appeared on her step sisters’ unnecessarily famous TV show from age 13, the cosmetics moghul is barely on her own and that Kim Kardashian’s star-power was enough to propel young Kylie forward, not to mention her family wealth.

When people use the ‘self-made’ tag, it’s usually associated with people who built their way up with almost none or minimal wealth to start, and is usually associated with the other richest people in the world – Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates. We’ve all their viral ‘origin’ stories, of how they started their companies in garages and it then grew from small businesses to the world-dominators they are today. But were these companies really self made?

A week or so ago, a journalist tweeted about how Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in his garage, in 1994.

A psephologist pointed out however, that while he did in fact start it from his garage, his parents had invested almost 250,000 dollars in the company.

Aiden’s shot wasn’t in the air. In 2018, CNBC had found that Jeff’s parents, Jackie and Mike Bezos invested $245,573 in Amazon in 1995.

Jeff Bezos wasn’t the only one who had a one-up from destiny – Bill Gates, whose inspiration story we’re told as someone who “dropped out of college,” also conveniently misses the fact that his mother was already in a position of power, and influenced IBM to hire Microsoft.

This too is confirmed in a New York Times report, as Mary Gates, had enough leeway to convince IBM to invest in her college-dropout son’s company.

It’s also not just people from the 90’s, even in recent times, ‘self-made’ billionaire Mark Zuckerberg also had more than just fate and skills to help him along, he had the nudge of his wealthy parents.

Mark Zuckerberg had actually confirmed this in a 2010 interview to The New Yorker.

While them having an already early start to their respective companies doesn’t take away from their achievements, because that does require skill to be successful, it does raise the question of what we qualify as ‘self-made,’ and if we make exceptions for some people, and leave out others according to our standards of what we hold as ‘achievements.’

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