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The latest news on Billionaires from Business Insider

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    Howard Schultz Starbucks

    Starbucks announced Thursday that its CEO Howard Schultz is stepping down next year. Schultz will be appointed executive chairman and and Kevin Johnson, the company's current president and COO, will assume the CEO position April 3.

    Schultz got into the coffee business 30 years ago with one goal in mind: to enhance the personal relationship between people and their coffee.

    He's now responsible for Starbucks, one of the world's most beloved brands and the largest coffee chain on the planet, with a market capitalization of $84 billion as of December. Last year, Starbucks' profits reached $2.8 billion on revenues of $19 billion, both record highs.

    But Schultz hasn't been singularly focused on the traditional bottom line. He's a dynamic model of a progressive CEO who's as animated by social issues and employee welfare as he is profit margins. In fact, in a letter to employees in October, Schultz announced wage raises ranging from 5% to 15% for all US employees. The wage hike reinforces Schultz's longstanding commitment to investing in his employees' success, and it positions Starbucks as a key player in the biggest economic story in America today.

    How did Schultz, who came from a "working poor" family in the Brooklyn projects, overcome adversity and grow a quaint Seattle coffeehouse into the world's largest coffee chain and a model for conscious capitalism?

    Scroll through to learn the story behind Starbucks and the man responsible for much of its success.


    SEE ALSO: I had a $12 coffee at the fanciest Starbucks in America, and it was only OK

    Schultz was born on July 19, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said that growing up in the projects — "loosely described as the other side of the tracks"— exposed him to the world's wealth disparity.


    He experienced poverty at an early age. When Schultz was seven years old, his father broke his ankle while working as a truck driver picking up and delivering diapers. At the time, his father had no health insurance or worker's compensation, and the family was left with no income.

    Source: "Pour Your Heart Into It"

    In high school, Schultz played football and earned an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University. But by the time he started college, he decided he wasn't going to play football after all.

    To pay for school, the communications major took out student loans and took up various jobs, including working as a bartender and even occasionally selling his blood.

    Source:"Pour Your Heart Into It"

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    howard schultz starbucks

    Not every billionaire was born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

    In fact, many came from nothing at all.

    The "rags-to-riches" trope may be a cliché, but it's one that's definitely grounded in reality.

    Through extraordinary grit and perseverance, individuals across the globe have beat the odds and achieved their own rags-to-riches stories.

    Here are 19 people who started off life poor and went on to become billionaires:

    SEE ALSO: 26 weird jobs famous people had before making it big

    DON'T MISS: Brothers share what it was like quitting their corporate jobs to sell ties on the beach and cofound Vineyard Vines, a company worth nearly $1 billion

    Starbucks' Howard Schultz grew up in a housing complex for the poor

    Net worth: $2.9 billion

    In an interview with the Mirror, Schultz says: "Growing up I always felt like I was living on the other side of the tracks. I knew the people on the other side had more resources, more money, happier families. And for some reason, I don't know why or how, I wanted to climb over that fence and achieve something beyond what people were saying was possible. I may have a suit and tie on now but I know where I'm from and I know what it's like."

    Schultz ended up winning a football scholarship to the University of Northern Michigan and went to work for Xerox after graduation. Shortly after, he took over a coffee shop called Starbucks, which at the time had only 60 shops. Schultz became the company's CEO in 1987 and grew the coffee chain to more than 16,000 outlets worldwide.

    Born into poverty, Oprah Winfrey became the first African American TV correspondent in Nashville

    Net worth:$2.9 billion

    Winfrey was born into a poor family in Mississippi, but this didn't stop her from winning a scholarship to Tennessee State University and becoming the first African American TV correspondent in the state at the age of 19.

    In 1983, Winfrey moved to Chicago to work for an AM talk show which would later be called "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

    Montpellier rugby club president and Entrepreneur of the Year Mohed Altrad survived on one meal a day when he moved to France

    Net worth:$1.03 billion

    Born into a nomadic tribe in the Syrian dessert to a poor mother who was raped by his father and died when he was young, Altrad was raised by his grandmother. She banned him from attending school in Raqqa, the city that is now capital of ISIS.

    Altrad attended school anyway, and when he moved to France to attend university, he knew no French and lived off of one meal a day. Still, he earned a PhD in computer science, worked for some leading French companies, and eventually bought a failing scaffolding company, which he transformed into one of the world's leading manufacturers of scaffolding and cement mixers, Altrad Group.

    He has previously been named French Entrepreneur of the Year and World Entrepreneur of the Year.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    donald trump golfing

    When billionaires have free time, they have the means for extravagant hobbies, whether it's collecting classic cars or jet-setting across the globe. But the most common hobby billionaires pursue isn't a display of wealth — it's philanthropy. 

    Wealth-X, a company that conducts research on the ultra-wealthy, recently released its annual billionaire census, which explores the trends and habits of the world's richest people. The census tracked billionaires' passions, interests, and hobbies, providing us with a peek into how the super wealthy spend their free time.

    Philanthropy proved the most popular hobby, with more than half of all billionaires pursuing charitable activities. This generosity comes as no surprise, though, thanks to the rise in recognition of endeavors such as The Giving Pledge, a promise started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes during their lifetime. 

    "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Giving Pledge have instilled a sense of humanitarian responsibility in billionaires to use their vast wealth to make a difference in the world," Wealth-X notes. 

    From art and fashion to hunting and fishing, read on to see the 20 most common hobbies and passions of the world's richest people, as well as the percentage of billionaires who participate in each.

    SEE ALSO: 13 hobbies highly successful people practice in their spare time

    DON'T MISS: The 50 richest people on earth

    20. Skiing — 7.2%

    19. Watches — 7.7%

    18. Fishing — 7.8%

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Xanadu 2.0 Bill Gates house

    With a net worth of $83.9 billion, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is the richest man in America.

    It shouldn't be too surprising that one of the wealthiest people in the world also has an insanely extravagant home.

    It took Gates seven years and $63 million to build his Medina, Washington, estate, named "Xanadu 2.0" after the fictional home of Charles Foster Kane, the title character of "Citizen Kane."

    At 66,000 square feet, the home is absolutely massive, and it's loaded to the brim with high-tech details.

    We've rounded up some of Xanadu 2.0's most over-the-top features here.

    SEE ALSO: WHERE ARE THEY NOW? What happened to the people in Microsoft's iconic 1978 company photo

    It's worth at least $124 million today.

    According to the King County public assessor's office, the property is worth $124.99 million as of this year. Gates purchased the lot for $2 million in 1988.

    Per public filings, he paid $1,080,443.17 in property taxes in 2016.

    Half a million board-feet of lumber was needed to complete the project.

    The house was built with 500-year-old Douglas fir trees, and 300 construction workers labored on the home — 100 of whom were electricians.

    A high-tech sensor system helps guests monitor a room's climate and lighting.

    When guests arrive, they're given a pin that interacts with sensors located all over the house. Guests enter their temperature and lighting preferences so that the settings change as they move throughout the home. Speakers hidden behind wallpaper allow music to follow you from room to room.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Evan Spiegel - Sun Valley

    Life is good for Evan Spiegel.

    His company, Snap Inc., is preparing for one of the most hotly anticipated initial public offerings of 2017 at a valuation of about $20 billion. The Snapchat app is beloved by teens everywhere, and Snap's recently released Spectacles glasses are one of the most sought-after gadgets.

    And with an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion, Spiegel, 26, is the youngest self-made billionaire in the world, according to Forbes.

    He lives a charmed life and he knows it.

    "I am a young, white, educated male," he once said at a Stanford business conference. "I got really, really lucky. And life isn't fair."

    We've pulled the highlights of Spiegel's spectacular life and career from profiles by LA Weekly, Forbes, Business Insider, court documents, and more.

     Now meet the secret power players who run Snapchat

    Spiegel grew up in the Pacific Palisades, a ritzy Los Angeles enclave just east of Malibu. He is the oldest son of two Ivy League-educated attorneys. His parents divorced when he was in high school.

    When Spiegel turned 16 and got his driver's license, he was given a Cadillac Escalade, which he parked in the gated Southern California Edison parking lot next to his school. Spiegel's father represented Edison during the energy crisis.

    Source: LA Weekly

    Spiegel spent his early years at an ultra-exclusive school called Crossroads in Santa Monica, which costs tens of thousands per academic year. Other notable alumni include Tinder cofounder Sean Rad, Kate Hudson, Jonah Hill, Jack Black, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    charles chuck feeney

    Billionaire Charles "Chuck" Feeney is remarkable.

    In a story about Feeney's philanthropy, his legacy, and how his experience compares with that of US President-elect Donald Trump, New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer writes about the $8 billion Feeney has given away in his lifetime.

    The billionaire calls it "giving while living."

    Feeney signed over his entire fortune to Atlantic Philanthropies, a collection of private foundations, over three decades ago and kept the funds growing through tech investments in companies like Facebook and Alibaba. None of the 1,000 buildings he has funded bear his name, Dwyer points out.

    "It's more than money. It's satisfaction that you're achieving something that is helpful to people," Feeney said of his giving in video posted on the Atlantic Philanthropies site.

    Now in his 80s, Feeney has left himself with about $2 million worth of wealth to live on — less than 0.001% of the $8 billion he's given away.

    Dwyer's details about how Feeney lived his day-to-day life may be equally remarkable. Feeney:

    • Flew coach until he was 75 years old
    • "... and carried reading materials in a plastic bag"
    • Skipped luxury lunches in New York City in favor of burgers at one of the ubiquitous Upper East Side pubs
    • Rents his home, a San Francisco apartment

    For the average person, or perhaps even the average millionaire, these everyday habits aren't so out of the ordinary. But Feeney is — or was, anyway — a billionaire. Billionaires don't have to fly coach.

    His cramped airplane seats and casual burgers put him squarely in the company of billionaires like investor Warren Buffett, who lives in the Omaha, Nebraska, house he bought for a little over $31,000 in 1958 (Buffett and Feeney have signed The Giving Pledge, the pledge Buffett helped start in which billionaires promise to give more than half of their wealth to philanthropy and charity), and Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen, who is known for packing a brown-bag lunch every day.

    But they aren't cheap. They're frugal. Spending on things they care the most about — in Feeney's case, philanthropic causes around higher education, public health, human rights, and scientific research — and hardly sparing a dime for the things they don't.

    "I'm not here to tell anyone what to do with their money," Feeney said in the Atlantic Philanthropies video. "You make your money, you do what you want with it. But I think there is an obligation, certainly for the haves, to reach out and to see what they can do."

    Read the full story at the New York Times »

    SEE ALSO: The surprisingly frugal habits of 8 extremely wealthy people

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The most important things to do with your money before 2016 ends

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    432 Park Avenue

    A mystery buyer just scooped up one of 432 Park Avenue’s priciest penthouses for $65.6 million — the second-highest price paid to date for a pad at the luxury tower.

    The buyer of Unit 85 — identified as Parklight LLC — went into contract on the full-floor spread in April 2013, according to public records. Haroon Hamid was an "authorized" signatory on the deed.

    Since closings began in late 2015, the Rafael Vinoly-designed tower, developed by Macklowe Properties and CIM Group, has racked up a spate of big-ticket sales.

    Saudi retail magnate Fawaz Al Hokair reportedly closed on the building's $87.7 million penthouse in September for over $10,600 per square foot (though he received a generous $56 million loan from CIM Group), and five units at 432 Park were among the top 10 priciest residential sales of 2016.

    Unit 85, a full-floor residence with five bedrooms, a library and wood-burning fireplace, sold for $8,144 per square foot, a premium for the building. Lew Sanders, the former CEO of asset manager AllianceBernstein, forked over $60.89 million, or just under $7,600 per foot, for Unit 88 last year. And a Los Angeles-based corporation, 432 Crotona Park Avenue LLC, plunked down $59.1 million, or $7,337 per foot, for Unit 79.

    SEE ALSO: This relatively unknown town in Florida has become a playground for the richest of the rich

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside London's mega-basements — the subterranean mansions complete with swimming pools and cinemas

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    bill gates

    As the global elite descend upon Davos for the World Economic Forum to rub elbows, Oxfam released a report today which it introduced in this way:

    It details how big business and the super-rich are fueling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to influence politics. It calls for a fundamental change in the way we manage our economies so that they work for all people, and not just a fortunate few.

    Last year in its report, if figured that 62 people owned the same wealth as “the poorest half of the planet,” but this year more data became available. Had this data been available last year, it would have shown that 9 men owned as much as the poorest half of the planet. Now it’s down to just 8:

    1. Bill Gates
    2. Amancio Ortega
    3. Warren Buffett
    4. Carlos Slim
    5. Jeff Bezos
    6. Mark Zuckerberg
    7. Larry Ellison
    8. Michael Bloomberg.

    The press release continues:

    It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day. Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies, and undermining democracy.

    Across the world, people are being left behind. Their wages are stagnating yet corporate bosses take home million dollar bonuses; their health and education services are cut while corporations and the super-rich dodge their taxes; their voices are ignored as governments sing to the tune of big business and a wealthy elite.

    And in its detailed 48-page report (PDF), Oxfam dives into the inequalities and their causes. Four years ago, according to the report, the World Economic Forum identified rising economic inequality as a major threat to social stability, and the global elite sighed up sanctimoniously to lower inequality. Yet since then, “the gap between the rich and the rest has widened.”

    Here are some morsels from the report:

    • Since 2015, the richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet.
    • Eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world.
    • Over the next 20 years, 500 people will hand over $2.1 trillion to their heirs – a sum larger than the GDP of India, a country of 1.3 billion people.
    • The incomes of the poorest 10% of people increased by less than $3 a year between 1988 and 2011, while the incomes of the richest 1% increased 182 times as much.
    • In the US, new research by economist Thomas Piketty shows that over the last 30 years the growth in the incomes of the bottom 50% has been zero, whereas incomes of the top 1% have grown 300%.

    But even in “rich countries,” inequalities are now leading to major frustrations, as more and more people “are no longer willing to tolerate the status quo. Why would they, when experience suggests that what it delivers is wage stagnation, insecure jobs, and a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots?”

    Oxfam found seven causes of inequality.

    1. Corporations, working for those at the top

    [T]he world’s 10 biggest corporations together have revenue greater than that of the government revenue of 180 countries combined.

     Businesses are the lifeblood of a market economy (and have a big role to play)…. In pursuit of delivering high returns to those at the top, corporations are driven to squeeze their workers and producers ever harder – and to avoid paying taxes which would benefit everyone, and the poorest people in particular.

    2. Squeezing workers and producers

    While many chief executives, who are often paid in shares, have seen their incomes skyrocket, wages for ordinary workers and producers have barely increased, and in some cases have got worse.

    Across the world, corporations are relentlessly squeezing down the costs of labor – and ensuring that workers and producers in their supply chains get less and less of the economic pie. This increases inequality and suppresses demand (emphasis added).

    3. Dodging Corporate taxes

    Corporations maximize profit in part by paying as little tax as possible. They do this by using tax havens or by making countries compete to provide tax breaks, exemptions and lower rates. Corporate tax rates are falling all over the world, and this – together with widespread tax dodging – ensures that many corporations are paying minimal tax.

    What is driving this behavior by corporates? Two things: the focus on short-term returns to shareholders and the increase in “crony capitalism.”

    4. Super-charged shareholder capitalism

    (Maximizing returns to shareholders) means not only maximizing short-term profits, but paying out an ever-greater share of these profits to the people who own them. In the UK, 10% of profits were returned to shareholders in 1970; this figure is now 70%…. This has been criticized by many, including Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock and Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England.

    The increased return to shareholders works for the rich, because the majority of shareholders are among the richest in society, increasing inequality.

    Every dollar of profit given to the shareholders of corporations is a dollar that could have been spent paying producers or workers more, paying more tax, or investing in infrastructure or innovation.

    5. Crony capitalism

    [C]orporations from many sectors – finance, extractives, garment manufacturers, pharmaceuticals, and others – use their huge power and influence to ensure that regulations and national and international policies are shaped in ways that enable continued profitability. 

    Even the technology sector, once seen as a sector that is relatively above board, is increasingly linked to charges of cronyism. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has become one of the biggest lobbyists in Washington and is in constant negotiations in Europe over anti-trust rules and tax.

    Crony capitalism benefits the rich, the people who own and run these corporations, at the expense of the common good and of poverty reduction. It means that smaller businesses struggle to compete and ordinary people end up paying more for goods and services as they face cartels and monopoly power of corporations and those with close connections with government.

    6. The role of the super-rich in the inequality crisis

    The 1,810 dollar billionaires on the 2016 Forbes list, 89% of whom are men, own $6.5 trillion – as much wealth as the bottom 70% of humanity. While some billionaires owe their fortunes predominantly to hard work and talent, Oxfam’s analysis of this group finds that one-third of the world’s billionaire wealth is derived from inherited wealth, while 43% can be linked to cronyism.

    Once a fortune is accumulated or acquired it develops a momentum of its own. The super-rich have the money to spend on the best investment advice, and the wealth held by the super-rich since 2009 has increased by an average of 11% per year. This is a rate of accumulation far higher than ordinary savers are able to obtain.

    Whether via hedge funds or warehouses full of fine art and vintage cars, the highly secretive industry of wealth management has been hugely successful in increasing the prosperity of the super-rich.

    But the super-rich are not just benign recipients of the increasing concentration of wealth. They are actively perpetuating it.

    7. Avoiding Taxes & Buying politics

    Paying as little tax as possible is a key strategy for many of the super-rich. To do this they make active use of the secretive global network of tax havens, as revealed by the Panama Papers and other exposés. Countries compete to attract the super-rich, selling their sovereignty. Super-rich tax exiles have a wide choice of destinations worldwide (and $7.6 trillion of wealth is estimated to be hidden offshore.)

    Africa alone loses $14bn in tax revenues due to the super-rich using tax havens – Oxfam has calculated this would be enough to pay for the healthcare that could save the lives of four million children and to employ enough teachers to get every African child into school.

    Many of the super-rich also use their power, influence, and connections to capture politics and ensure that the rules are written for them. Billionaires in Brazil lobby to reduce taxes, and in São Paulo would prefer to use helicopters to get to work, flying over the traffic jams and broken infrastructure below.

    Some of the super-rich also use their fortunes to help buy the political outcomes they want, seeking to influence elections and public policy.

    This active political influencing by the super-rich and their representatives directly drives greater inequality by constructing “reinforcing feedback loop” in which the winners of the game get yet more resources to win even bigger next time.

    This hard-hitting summary of what ails the economic and social fabric of the world was delivered just when the very subjects of the report are hobnobbing in Davos.

    But the report falls short in one aspect. It fails to name some of the main culprits: central banks. Is Oxfam too afraid of them? It doesn’t even mention “central bank” or any specific central bank, such as the Federal Reserve or the ECB, not even in passing, though they’ve been the engineers of the described wealth and income inequalities, with their very vocal and successful efforts to fire up rampant asset price inflation at the expense of everyone else mentioned in the report, including “savers.” And that omission, given its magnitude, cannot possibly be a mere oversight.

    SEE ALSO: 2 reasons growth is going to pick up in 2017

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist reveals exactly how long you need to work out to get in great shape

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    Want to learn about the history of economics, how to code with Ruby on Rails, or the essentials of string theory? It’s all out there for free on the internet, and anyone who has the time or energy can learn it directly from the experts.

    The Information Age grants us an unprecedented amount of access to the world’s knowledge – and some thinkers like James Altucher or Peter Thiel see this leading to a path where the role of colleges and universities will continue to diminish.

    We share that sentiment. The most recent crop of successful entrepreneurs like Evan Spiegel or Mark Zuckerberg already proves that entrepreneurs can make billions without spending a full four years in the classroom. The forthcoming generation will be even less tied to attending brick-and-mortar institutions.

    There’s one caveat to this line of thought, however, and it coincides with this week’s chart. While one can say that the actual academic value of these institutions may be undermined by access to the digital world, the value of these as places to “rub shoulders” with up-and-comers still remains entrenched.

    Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist



    Talk to any successful person in business and they will tell you that developing a strong network is half of the battle. As far as schools go, Harvard is the perfect example of the “network effect” at work.

    To date, a total of 35 of the richest 500 people in the world have emerged from the storied halls of Harvard. In fact, more billionaires have graduated from Harvard than all of those hailing from Saudi Arabia and Spain combined.

    The total net worth of the top 35 Harvard billionaire graduates? It’s $309 billion – roughly equivalent to the GDP of Hong Kong or Ireland. With alumni like Charlie Munger, Meg Whitman, John Paulson, Steve Ballmer, Paul Singer, Ken Griffin, Ray Dalio, and Michael Bloomberg among the ranks of Harvard graduates, it’s a powerful hub to tap into. Today’s Harvard students and professors take advantage of this prestigious network every day.

    Elite universities still serve as filtering mechanisms that only bring in students that are smart, well-connected, or both. Top schools like Stanford or Harvard have acceptance rates less than 6%, and this exclusivity gives graduating students a connected and privileged network from the get-go.

    One hundred years from now, will these institutions still have the same track records from the exclusivity factor alone? It remains to be seen, but for now they are still undisputed billionaire making machines until proven otherwise.

    SEE ALSO: New drilling technology will create an explosion of oil

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Wendy's is roasting people on Twitter, and it's hilarious

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    The wealthiest man in the video game industry has a name you likely haven't heard; he runs a company you probably haven't heard of; he wears a wild beard and, often, the same black polo. 

    Yet, Gabe Newell is worth over $4 billion, and the company he founded, Valve Software, is one of the most successful game companies in the world.Gabe Newell, 2013

    Notably, Newell just showed up at No. 134 on 2016's Forbes 400 list, sandwiched between oil and gas tycoons. Unlike his contemporaries, though, Newell made his billions in technology and video games. His career started as one of the original creators of the Windows operating system at Microsoft; he even followed the collegiate path of Microsoft founder Bill Gates in dropping out of Harvard to work in computing.

    Using money earned from being an early Microsoft employee, Newell (and former partner Mike Harrington) created Valve Software. The company initially focused on creating traditional, narrative-driven single-player games. Classics like "Half-Life" and "Half-Life 2" came from this era, but what really put Valve on the map was Steam. 

    Sound familiar? It should: Steam is, by far, the most widely-used digital storefront online.


    It's got nearly 200 million active users around the world, and every time those folks buy a game, Valve takes a cut. (Though that cut is variable, the average is about 30% of each sale.)

    Notably, Valve remains a private company. Outside of operating Steam, the Bellevue, Washington-based company also makes some wildly popular games: "DOTA 2" and "Team Fortress 2" are among the most popular games on Steam.

    Valve also co-produces the HTC Vive virtual reality headset, and the hardware is powered by — you guessed it — Steam. Like Apple, Valve created an ecosystem that hundreds of millions of people bought in to in Steam; it's the equivalent of Apple's App Store, only for PC and Mac computers. Steam is also far better than Apple's App Store on Mac.

    As such, Steam users are fiercely loyal — competing services like EA's Origin and Microsoft's Windows 10 storefront capture a tiny fraction of Steam's massive userbase. That combination of massive numbers and loyalty adds up to a very profitable business — one that turned Newell into a billionaire many times over.

    SEE ALSO: 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We got to try Nintendo’s new Switch console — here’s what it was like

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    Ralph Lauren

    Ralph Lauren has a long history of working with important American figures. The designer's most recent credits include dressing first lady Melania Trump for the 2017 inauguration.

    Trump wore a powder blue Ralph Lauren suit, which many compared to the pale blue suit that Jackie Kennedy wore to her husband's inauguration in 1961. Ralph Lauren also designed the cream-colored suit that Hillary Clinton donned for the 2017 inauguration. 

    Ralph Lauren is a name synonymous with American fashion. His net worth is now estimated to be nearly $6 billion, according to Forbes. And yet, the story of how he built one of the largest fashion companies in the world from nothing isn't quite so well-known.

    Here's how he amassed that wealth, and what he uses it for.

    SEE ALSO: See inside the $5.3 million Washington, DC, home that the Obamas will move into after they leave the White House

    Ralph Lifshitz was born in New York City in 1939, the youngest of four by Russian Jewish immigrants. As a teenager, he changed his last name to Lauren and walked around his Bronx neighborhood wearing outlandish styles like army fatigues and tweed jackets.

    Source: O, The Oprah Magazine

    After dropping out of Baruch College two years in, he enlisted in the US Army and served from 1962 to 1964. He then had a short stint as a tie salesman at Brooks Brothers and another, now-defunct tie company.

    Source: O, The Oprah Magazine

    By 26, he was designing and selling his own neckwear. He put together "rags" and fashioned them into ties. He designed a fatter, European-style neck tie, making them "out of a drawer" in the Empire State Building.

    Source: O, The Oprah Magazine

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Vivos Bunker

    The Silicon Valley elite may be among the most active — and potentially successful — doomsday preppers, according to a riveting new essay in The New Yorker.

    Leaders of industry from Silicon Valley to Wall Street are joining the survivalism movement, The New Yorker's Evan Osnos writes. That list includesSteve Huffman, cofounder and CEO of Reddit; Marvin Liao, a former Yahoo executive and a partner at 500 Startups; and Robert A. Johnson, a managing director of hedge fund Soros Fund Management.

    reid hoffman vc vestReid Hoffman, the cofounder of LinkedIn and a notable venture capitalist, told the New Yorker he estimates more than 50% of Silicon Valley billionaires have bought some level of "apocalypse insurance," like an underground bunker.

    Fortified shelters, built to withstand catastrophic events from viral epidemic to nuclear war, seem to be experiencing a wave of interest in general as hints of a new Cold War ramp up.

    But billionaires are channeling their inner Bear Grylls for a number of reasons. Hoffman told The New Yorker that some rich people fear a backlash against Silicon Valley as artificial intelligence takes away an increasing number of jobs from humans. The CEO of a large tech company cited Russian cyberattacks as evidence of risk that the US might fall into disorder.

    vivos xpoint tour 13.JPG

    Some members of the Silicon Valley elite are wasting no time in preparing for the apocalypse.

    Huffman, the Reddit CEO, who lives in San Francisco, bought a couple of motorcycles, guns, and ammo, so that he can "hole up in my house for some amount of time" in case of a disaster. In 2015, he had laser eye surgery because he thought it would improve his odds of surviving.

    Antonio García Martínez, a former Facebook product manager who also lives in San Francisco, shelled out for five wooded acres on an island in the Pacific Northwest where he can ride out Armageddon in peace. His island home features generators, solar panels, and weaponry.

    Liao, of 500 Startups, took archery lessons so he could protect his family.

    The Hunger Games 4

    In an interview with The New Yorker, Hoffman, the billionaire LinkedIn cofounder, recalled a time when he thought of visiting New Zealand, and a friend asked him if he planned to buy apocalypse insurance. The small island nation has become a top destination for preppers.

    "Saying you're 'buying a house in New Zealand' is kind of a wink, wink, say no more. Once you've done the Masonic handshake, they'll be, like, 'Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they're nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in,'" Hoffman told The New Yorker.

    The New Yorker's Osnos writes that private Facebook groups serve as forums where wealthy survivalists trade tips on the best equipment to buy and locations to hide out in.

    Vivos E1 Ventilation Equipment 2

    "The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely," Yishan Wong, an early Facebook employee and the former CEO of Reddit, told The New Yorker. "They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this ... is a logical thing to do."

    You can read The New Yorker's doomsday prepper story in full here.

    SEE ALSO: This luxury condo development featuring 'DEFCON 1 preparedness' is built for the apocalypse

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: These doomsday shelters for the 1% make up the largest private bunker community on earth

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    MONACO - NOVEMBER 19: (L-R) Prince Albert II of Monaco, Andrea Casiraghi, his daughter India,Tatiana Santo Domingo,Charlotte Casiraghi,Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo attend the Monaco National Day Celebrations in the Monaco Palace Courtyard on November 19, 2016 in Monaco, Monaco.

    Europe's wealthiest individuals are a mixed group.

    Some of them hold fortunes derived from centuries-old dynasties, while others are hard-nosed entrepreneurs who scrabbled up from humble backgrounds.

    There are those in eastern Europe who made their money recently after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there are industrialists from Scandinavia with fortunes derived from old industry, and there are some in Western Europe with ancient royal connections.

    Business Insider has used Forbes' rich list to determine the wealthiest individual in each European state, ranked from the least-wealthy upwards.

    In some countries, no residents made the Forbes list, and the countries were therefore not included in this ranking.

    Mike Bird contributed to an earlier version of this post.

    Romania's Ion Tiriac — NET WORTH: £804,000 ($1 billion)

    Romania's richest man is known as the "Brasov Bulldozer." A retired professional tennis and ice hockey player, he made his fortune following the collapse of Communist Romania in 1989 with a number of business investments across banking, retail, and insurance.

    Monaco's Tatiana Casiraghi — NET WORTH: £1.8 billion ($2.3 billion)

    Beer heiress Tatiana Casiraghi is Monaco's richest resident, and she also happens to be a royal there. Casiraghi inherited the bulk of her fortune from her late grandfather, who sold his Colombian brewery Bavaria for billions in 2005. She is married to Prince Andrea Casiraghi of Hanover, who is fourth in the line to the Monaco throne.

    Finland's Antti Herlin — NET WORTH: £2.9 billion ($3.6 billion)

    Finland's richest man made his money in an unlikely way — the escalator and elevator business. He's the great-grandson of Harald Herlin, who purchased the KONE engineering company in the 1920s.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    sheep new zealand

    New Zealand, home of rolling hillsides, endless sheep, and film locations for "The Lord of The Rings" trilogy, has racked up a new claim to fame.

    Silicon Valley billionaires are reportedly buying property on the small island nation so that they have somewhere to flee in the event of a global catastrophe. "Buying a house in New Zealand" has become a sort of code for getting "apocalypse insurance."

    A new essay in The New Yorker digs into the ways some of the wealthiest people in America are preparing for doomsday. Reid Hoffman, the cofounder of LinkedIn and a notable venture capitalist, told the New Yorker he estimates more than 50% of Silicon Valley billionaires have bought some level of apocalypse insurance, like an underground bunker.

    Hoffman recalled a time when he thought about visiting New Zealand, and a friend asked him if he planned to buy apocalypse insurance while he was there.

    "Saying you're 'buying a house in New Zealand' is kind of a wink, wink, say no more," Hoffman told The New Yorker. "Once you've done the Masonic handshake, they'll be, like, 'Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they're nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in.'"

    peter thiel new zealandPeter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and a member of President Donald Trump's transition team, became a New Zealand citizen in 2011 and owns real estate there. According to The New Zealand Herald, Thiel bought a mansion in the southern resort town of Queenstown in 2011 and a sprawling estate on the shores of Lake Wanaka — valued around $10 million — in 2015.

    A real estate listing described the 477-acre property as "a most beautiful and picturesque farm," offering "a secluded and peaceful setting." It sounds like a nice place to wait out Armageddon, though the venture capitalist has yet to expressly name New Zealand his "backup country."

    Y Combinator president Sam Altman allegedly wants to fly to Thiel's property in the case of a pandemic.

    Tech billionaires are channeling their inner Bear Grylls for a number of reasons. Hoffman told The New Yorker that some rich people fear a backlash against Silicon Valley as artificial intelligence takes away an increasing number of jobs from humans. The CEO of a large tech company cited Russian cyberattacks as evidence of risk that the US might fall into disorder.

    In response to all of this, Recode's Kara Swisher shared a joke she heard from a techie.

    "In the event of doomsday, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is I have a bunker in New Zealand. The bad news? Peter Thiel is my neighbor," Swisher wrote.

    SEE ALSO: Silicon Valley billionaires are preparing for the apocalypse with motorcycles, guns, and private hideaways

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    mark zuckerberg hawaii kauai 2x1

    More than eight million visitors come to the Hawaiian Islands every year for the state's pristine parks, beaches, native cuisine, and rich cultural traditions.

    It's no wonder that when Silicon Valley billionaires are plotting their next vacation home, they often look to Hawaii. Over the years, tech icons from Marc Benioff to Larry Ellison (who owns an entire island) have purchased a slice of paradise.

    The trend isn't without its conflicts. Mark Zuckerberg brought a lawsuit against hundreds of Hawaiians in December in an effort to buy the islanders out of their parcels on his 700-acre oceanfront estate. He dropped the lawsuit after threats of protest outside his gates.

    Take a look at the multimillion-dollar estates where the tech elite take vacation.

    SEE ALSO: A pair of Harvard students have designed tiny houses that could be the future of weekend getaways

    Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg reportedly shelled out over $100 million for a sprawling estate on the North Shore of Kauai in 2014. It includes a pristine white sand beach.

    Source: Business Insider

    The property sits on a former sugarcane plantation, and is now used by local farmers to produce turmeric and other spices and fruits, according to Facebook post from Zuckerberg.

    Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla's 1-year old daughter, Max, reportedly gets a kick out of the property's chickens, sheep, baby pig named Porkchop, and endangered albatross.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Jorge Lemann

    Jorge Lemann is behind some of America's most iconic consumer brands.

    The Brazilian billionaire's investment company, 3G Capital, has invested in or backed takeovers of Kraft, Heinz, Burger King, Tim Hortons, Anheuser Busch and SAB Miller.

    Now, Kraft Heinz — which counts Lemann and Warren Buffett among its top shareholders — is pushing for a deal for Unilever

    Unilever has rejected the approach, but Kraft said in a statement that is is looking "forward to working to reach agreement on the terms of a transaction." Unilever said in a statement is does not see a basis for any further discussions.

    A deal would put a huge chunk of the world's best known brands in the hands of one company. 

    Combinations of large consumer companies are Lemann's signature: 3G created the world's fifth-largest food company by investing $10 billion into a merger of Kraft and Heinz, and engineered a fast-food giant after buying Burger King in 2010 for $3.3 billion and putting it together with Tim Hortons for another $11.3 billion.

    "I think above all you must always be building something," he says in this video interview with Falconi Consultants posted on YouTube. "We always want to arrive somewhere, to improve, and we are always trying to get there by making things better around us ... these are the things that guide me."

    The Harvard graduate has gone from journalist to national tennis champion to banker and now billionaire investor with a net worth of over $29 billion, according to Forbes. Here's his story:

    This is an updated version of an article published earlier this month about Jorge Lemann.

    SEE ALSO: See the 33 richest hedge fund managers in America

    Lemann was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1939. His father was a Swiss businessman who immigrated to Brazil in the 1920s. His family had been Swiss cheese merchants for over 300 years.

    His mother was from a family of cocoa merchants in Bahia, who were more ambitious, Lemann said during the interview with Falconi. That was where he got his drive.


    At 17, he left Brazil to attend Harvard, earning his bachelor's degree in economics in 1961. At first, he didn't like it there and didn't do well — he loved the beaches of Brazil. But his mother stopped him from leaving Harvard to become a surfer or a tennis player.

     Now he has a great relationship with Harvard, setting up scholarships for Brazilian students.

    Harvard even recommended that he take a yearlong break from school because he wasn't mature enough. Instead, Lemann finished school in three years by interviewing students, professors, and looking at old tests before choosing a class. He was 20 when he graduated.

    Though he now regrets not taking more advantage of the faculty at Harvard, for example speaking with Henry Kissinger or Paul Samuelson, according to a speech Lemann made to his foundation, Estudar, translated by Forbes.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Mark CubanMark Cuban knows a thing or two about money. The self-made entrepreneur has a net worth of $3.3 billion, according to Forbes, and he famously sold the video portal for $5.6 billion to Yahoo in 1999.

    Since then, the Dallas Mavericks owner has added chairman and CEO of AXS TV to his resume. To top it off, he's an investor in a variety of companies including Landmark Theaters, Dropbox and Axon Sports.

    If you're struggling with your finances — or want to start a business — get inspired by these motivating tips and quotes on managing your money.

    1. Don't take the easy way out

    "There are no shortcuts in business," Cuban wrote in a 2014 article in Entrepreneur magazine. He detailed the six things needed for success in business:

    1. Know how to sell
    2. Put yourself in the customer's shoes
    3. Be tech savvy
    4. Have an eye for innovation
    5. Ask if your product will make the customer's life better or easier
    6. Be nice

    2. You can build something from nothing

    Cuban once tweeted, "It was right around this date in November when I was 27 years old that I remember looking at a 0 dollar bank balance at the ATM."

    Knowing that a billionaire has also fallen on hard times reminds you that even some of the richest started with nothing. Use this as a motivator if you're feeling discouraged by a low bank account balance no matter your age.

    3. Easy money is a thing of the past

    "The market for sub 25mm dollar raises is effectively dead," Cuban wrote in a 2015 LinkedIn Influencer post describing why the current tech bubble is worse than the previous one in 2000. In the early millennium, popular companies people were investing in were public, he explained, so investors were able to sell stocks at their leisure.

    However, he explained that companies that are a part of the current tech bubble are private, without the ability to go public, due to SEC regulations instated since 2000. This means investors can only earn money if the company is sold or if the business turns a profit — which he said won't equate to the outsized payouts realized at the turn of the century.

    4. Numbers don't lie but stockbrokers might

    "Price-earnings ratios, price-sales, the present value of future cash flows, pick one," Cuban wrote on his blog, Blog Maverick. "Fundamentals are merely metrics created to help stockbrokers sell stocks, and to give buyers reassurance when buying stocks. Even how profits are calculated is manipulated to give confidence to buyers."

    Cuban doesn't follow a textbook approach to investing. Instead of reviewing standard metrics, he explained his process of asking how soon he'll get his money back and how much he can make from the venture when he's asked to invest.

    5. Hire the best

    In 2012, Cuban wrote an Entrepreneur article listing 12 rules for startups. In it, he outlined a detailed approach to hiring and compensating employees.

    "Pay up for people in your core competencies," Cuban wrote. "Get the best. Outside the core competencies, hire people that fit your culture but aren't as expensive to pay."

    6. It's not your dream school if you can't afford it

    "Unless your parents are wealthy or you qualify for a full ride or something close, the days of picking a school because that is the school you always wanted to go to are gone," Cuban wrote.

    In a blog post aimed at high school and college students, Cuban emphasized the importance of obtaining a higher education, despite ever-increasing tuition costs. He recommended budget-savvy students complete at least some courses at local or online schools to save money. That way, they can avoid paying sky-high tuition at the most expensive colleges.

    7. Do your due diligence

    "There will be another flash crash, and probably a crash far worse than the May 2010 flash crash simply because there are too many players looking for the trillion dollar score," Cuban wrote on his blog. "They can't all win, yet how many do you think wouldn't risk everything, even what is not theirs, for that remote chance to score big?"

    A strong opponent of high-frequency trading, Cuban believes Wall Street needs a major overhaul. He wants regulators to step in and help bring the markets back to a place of creating capital for businesses and allowing investors to be true shareholders.

    8. Choose solid investments

    "If you really think of it, when a stock doesn't pay dividends, there really isn't a whole lot of difference between a share of stock and a baseball card," Cuban wrote on his blog. "If you put your Mickey Mantle rookie card on your desk, and a share of your favorite non-dividend paying stock next to it, and let it sit there for 20 years. After 20 years you would still just have two pieces of paper sitting on your desk."

    Cuban is saying if you buy a stock without dividends, make sure it's marketed well so the value increases and you can eventually sell it for a profit. Anything less isn't worth your investment.

    9. Perfect your business idea before raising capital

    "The best time for little guys to start a business is when the big guys are worrying about surviving in theirs," Cuban wrote on his blog. "You don't need to raise money. You need to be smart and be focused."

    Prior to the 2012 presidential election, Cuban wrote a blog post explaining why he believes the solution to solving America's economic problems is reviving the country's entrepreneurial spirit. While big companies focus on tax rates, he encouraged entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams of starting companies and creating amazing products that will breathe fresh life into the economy.

    10. Read, read, read

    "If you are considering investing in the market, any part of it, or if you are considering giving your hard-earned money over to someone else to manage, please, please read 'The Number' first," Cuban wrote on his blog.

    In a 2004 blog post, Cuban emphasized the importance of understanding exactly where your money is going, before turning it over to a broker. He encouraged prospective investors to read the book, "The Number: How the Drive for Quarterly Earnings Corrupted Wall Street and Corporate America" by Alex Berenson.

    man reading

    11. Beware of student debt

    "The crush of college debt has taken an entire generation of graduates, current and future out of the economy," Cuban blogged. "[This] is exactly why the economy hasn't grown and won't grow beyond microscopic growth rates we have seen so far."

    Cuban compared the current college debt crisis to the housing bubble — for awhile it was easy for anyone to get a loan, but after people realized they couldn't turn a profit or afford the loan payments, the market tanked.

    Similarly, he said the same thing is happening to the economy due to the student loan crisis. Americans are so bogged down with debt, they don't have much money left in their paycheck to spend after paying monthly living expenses, which is slowing the economy.

    12. Be realistic with your business ventures

    "'Follow your passion' is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get," Cuban wrote.

    When it comes to money and career, Cuban is strongly against basing future plans solely on passion. Everyone is passionate about something, he notes, but that alone doesn't make it a profitable venture. Instead, he advises taking a close look at where you spend most time of your time to determine your best route to success.

    13. Live like a college student

    "Your biggest enemies are your bills," Cuban blogged. "The more you owe, the more you stress. The more you stress over bills, the more difficult it is to focus on your goals. More importantly, if you set your monthly income requirements too high, you eliminate a significant number of opportunities."

    So, quit wasting your money on that nice apartment, flashy car and designer wardrobe. Live within your means. Cuban said it's okay to live like a student — even if you aren't one — because the ability to afford your lifestyle is the most important thing.

    14. Don't choose a job based on the size of your paycheck

    "It's really easy to know if you are in the right job," Cuban wrote. "If it matters how much you get paid, you are not in a job you really, really love."

    Clearly, billionaire Cuban wasn't saying there's anything wrong wanting to make lots of money and working hard to earn a high salary. He simply meant you should choose a job for happiness, not a hefty paycheck.

    15. Eliminate your debt before you invest

    "If you've got $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, you're better off paying off any debt you have because that's a guaranteed return," Cuban told Business Insider. Instead of trying to beat the market with your investments, Cuban thinks paying off debt first is always the better move.

    16. Hard work is the only way to build a successful business

    "It's not about money or connections — it's the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone when it comes to your business," Cuban said in an interview with Entrepreneur magazine. "And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time."

    The "Shark Tank" star encouraged entrepreneurs to focus on building a great business that adds value, instead of spending all their time trying to network and raise cash.

    17. Buy in bulk to save money

    "Do a budget and look at the things you buy repetitively and then go and buy those things in bulk," Cuban said in an interview with Entrepreneur magazine. "Stuff you'll need all year, like toothpaste, shampoo and soap ... As long as you've got a little room under your bed, if you buy a year's worth or even two years' worth of toothpaste, you're going to get a 50 percent discount. If you save $1,000 a year doing that, that's more than you're going to earn on $10,000 in investing."

    So, put your Costco membership to work. You have Cuban's approval.

    18. Steer clear of credit cards

    "Credit cards are the worst investment, unless you pay them off every 30 days. Even then, don't do it," Cuban said in an interview with Entrepreneur. He said the best way to boost your bank account is to pay off your credit card debt or never take on any in the first place.

    19. Money buys you freedom

    In his debut monthly column for Men's Fitness, Cuban was asked how much money is 'enough.'

    "'Enough' is what it takes to not worry about the bills," he wrote. "'A lot' is enough that you never have to worry about working again. 'F--- you' money means you can rent a jet to go wherever you want, whenever you want and no party is out of reach. 'F--- everyone' money means you can have your favorite band in your backyard, not care how much it costs and lend them your jet to get there."

    20. Time is money

    When questioned about the smartest and dumbest thing he's ever spent money on, Cuban gave this reply to Men's Fitness:

    "Smartest? A plane," he said. "It is obviously brutally expensive, but time is the one asset we simply don't own. It saves me hours and hours. And the dumbest? Let's see ... if I could remember them, I could list you a couple hundred bar tabs with my buddies."

    SEE ALSO: 9 of the most fascinating TED Talks about money

    DON'T MISS: A financial planner's simple sketches can teach anyone 9 important lessons about money

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Alibaba IPO Jack Ma

    President Donald Trump has verbally sparred with both China and Mexico since winning the presidency in November, accusing China of currency manipulation and stealing American jobs and antagonizing Mexico with trade threats and ominous promises of a border wall whose estimated $20 billion price tag would be supported by Mexico.

    But the richest people in China have seen their fortunes soar since the new president took over the world's largest superpower, while Mexico's richest have been far less fortunate, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

    Since Trump's November 8 win, the 36 Chinese billionaires tracked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index have seen their wealth climb 13.2%, a $39.2 billion bump that puts their combined wealth at $336 billion. Jack Ma is China's richest, with a net worth of $35.7 billion.

    The fortunes of Mexico's eight billionaires tracked on the index, suffering from a battered peso, have fallen by 5.1%.

    Carlos Slim — the Mexican telecom magnate who also holds stakes in Philip Morris and The New York Times — has been the biggest loser under Trump. His fortune fell by $4.2 billion to $50.7 billion, which still makes him the world's sixth-richest person.

    Overall, the richest people across the globe saw only a 4.7% increase to their net worth over the same period, according to the index, which Bloomberg recently expanded online to track the world's 500 richest people. These 500 tycoons increased their net worth by $207 billion to a combined $4.6 trillion since November 8, according to the daily ranking. billionaires post election

    Their financial performance has lagged behind that of the broader market, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average improving by 10.5% and 13.5% since the election.

    And what of the richest in Russia, the nation with which Trump has been perceived to have the coziest relations? The 28 Russian billionaires tracked on the index have increased their wealth by 10.5%, raising their aggregate fortunes by $24.4 billion to $256 billion. They've benefitted from currency and commodities gains, according to Bloomberg.

    The 171 US billionaires on the index have seen their combined net worth rise by about 4.7% since the election, adding $85 billion for a combined $1.9 trillion.

    Read the full story on Bloomberg »

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Trump jack ma

    Jack Ma made headlines recently after visiting President Trump and announcing that he would help create a million jobs in the US.

    But the Chinese billionaire has not held back voicing scepticism of Trump's protectionist policies, warning "if trade stops, war starts."

    When it comes to trade, Ma knows what he's talking about. According to Forbes, he's worth an estimated $29 billion, which includes his 7.8% stake in Alibaba — China's answer to Amazon — and a nearly 50% stake in payment-processing service Alipay.

    Ma is a true rags-to-riches story. He grew up poor in communist China, failed his university-entrance exam twice, and was rejected from dozens of jobs, including one at KFC, before finding success with his third internet company, Alibaba.

    Jillian D'onfro contributed to an earlier version of this post.

    SEE ALSO: How self-made billionaire Jack Ma used charisma and masterful speaking skills to build the Alibaba empire

    Jack Ma — born Ma Yun — was born on October 15, 1964, in Hangzhou, located in the southeastern part of China. He has an older brother and a younger sister. He and his siblings grew up at a time when communist China was increasingly isolated from the West, and his family didn't have much money when they were young.

     Source: 60 Minutes, USA Today


    Ma was scrawny and often got into fights with classmates. "I was never afraid of opponents who were bigger than I," he recalls in "Alibaba," a book by Liu Shiying and Martha Avery. Still, Ma had hobbies just like any other kid. He liked collecting crickets and making them fight, and was able to distinguish the size and type of cricket just by the sound it made.

    Source: USA Today, Business Insider

    After President Nixon visited Hangzhou in 1972, Ma's hometown became a tourist mecca. As a teenager, Ma started waking up early to visit the city's main hotel, offering visitors tours of the city in exchange for English lessons. The nickname "Jack" was given to him by a tourist he befriended.

    Source: 60 Minutes


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    jeff bezos 3

    The wealthiest 30 people in the world control a staggering portion of the world economy: $1.23 trillion — more than the annual GDP of Spain, Mexico, or Turkey. 

    That's according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which recently relaunched and expanded online to include 500 billionaires across the globe. The ranking updates daily to provide up-to-the-minute data on the world's wealthiest men and women. You can read about the ranking's full methodology here.

    Business Insider has culled the 30 richest from the ranking as of March 1, when the index relaunched in its expanded format.

    Billionaires need a minimum net worth of at least $22.5 billion to crack the top 30. Eighteen from this group hail from the US and two-thirds are completely self-made, having built some of the world's most powerful companies, including Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, Google, Facebook, and Oracle.

    The two biggest gainers in the past year were Wang Wei, who added $22.7 billion to his fortune as the founder and majority owner of China's largest package delivery company, and CEO Jeff Bezos, who boosted his fortune by $21.9 billion thanks to Amazon's strong performance. 

    From tech moguls and retail giants to heirs and heiresses, here are the billionaires with the deepest pockets around the globe.

    Note that Bloomberg does not report the net worth of its founder and owner Michael Bloomberg, who does not appear on this ranking, though other sources peg his fortune at roughly $45 billion

    SEE ALSO: The 50 best places to live in America

    DON'T MISS: The 22 best places to live in America if you want to make a lot of money

    30. Ma Huateng

    Net worth:$22.5 billion

    Age: 45

    Country: China

    Industry: Technology

    Source of wealth: Self-made; Tencent Holdings

    Software engineer Ma Huateng (aka Pony Ma) founded China's largest internet portal, Tencent Holdings, in 1998. He was 26. Ma's company has a number of successful and widely used platforms in its portfolio, including QQ, its instant-messaging service, which is one of the world's 10 largest websites; a mobile-texting service (WeChat) with over 800 million users; a mobile-commerce product (WeChat Wallet); and an online-gaming community (Tencent Games), the largest in China.

    Ma's wealth has increased by $4.7 billion in the past year.

    29. Phil Knight

    Net worth:$25 billion

    Age: 78

    Country: US

    Industry: Retail

    Source of wealth: Self-made; Nike

    After a stint in the US Army, and with a Stanford MBA under his belt, Phil Knight convinced Tiger-brand shoemaker Onitsuka in the early 1960s to allow him to distribute Tiger shoes under the name Blue Ribbon Sports — the name Knight picked that predated his swoosh-logo-clad company Nike. Knight worked full-time as an accountant as he launched his new brand, and by 1968 he had built up enough of a rapport with customers that he was able to leave the CPA life behind. Knight now serves as chairman emeritus of Nike.

    Nike has built its success on celebrity and athlete endorsement deals, starting with running prodigy Steve Prefontaine in 1973 and continuing with one of the most successful shoe marketers of all time in Michael Jordan, whom Nike signed to a five-year endorsement deal in 1984 worth roughly $500,000 per year. The biggest NBA star today is still under the Nike roof, with LeBron James signing a lifetime contract with the brand in 2015 reportedly in excess of $1 billion.

    Knight's wealth has decreased by $1 billion over the last year.

    28. George Soros

    Net worth: $25.2 billion

    Age: 86

    Country: US

    Industry: Hedge funds

    Source of wealth: Self-made; Soros Fund Management

    Born in Budapest, George Soroslived through the Nazi occupation of Hungary during WWII before fleeing to the UK and later settling in the US. Touted as "the man who broke the bank of England," he's best known for the Quantum Fund, a hedge fund he launched in 1973 under his Soros Fund Management company. In 1992 he shorted the British pound, a risky move that ended up earning the fund $1 billion in a single day and solidifying Soros' place in the finance world. Quantum Fund also generated annual returns over 30% under Soros' leadership, making it one of the most successful hedge funds of all time.

    Today, Soros remains chairman of Soros Fund Management, which manages more than $25 billion in assets, including stakes in prominent companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix. He's also chairman of Open Society, an organization he founded in 1979 that operates as a network of foundations and partners across the globe that promote the values of open society and human rights.

    Soros' wealth decreased by $800 million over the last year.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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