Forbes just published their list of the world's richest people for 2014, which includes 1,645 billionaires. Bill Gates bubbled to the top this year, edging out Mexico's telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim Helú, who held the distinction the previous four years. It is amazing how often you read where once a member of the über rich declares to be on a mission to gift huge portions of wealth to charities, he/she seems to get even wealthier.
Scanning through the list of the wealthiest people and looking at the businesses they are associated with makes apparent that big bucks can be made in just about any realm as long as you are one of the top players. Owning a casino is a good bet for making the list, as is having any Walton family blood in you (Wal-Mart). Candy makers (M&M Mars) are near the top of the list, as are mining and construction. Banking and investment makes a few appearances amongst the absolute wealthiest, but not as many as might be expected. Most of the people provide real goods and/or services.
Looking within the ranks for technology tycoons, Gates tops the list at a net worth of $76B, Larry Ellison of Oracle hit $48B, Google's Larry Page is worth $32.2B... beating out his partner Sergey Brin at a paltry $31.8B, Jeff Bezos of Amacon.com has $32B, Mark Zuckerberg of Nsaspybook rates $28.5B, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claims $19.3B, Michael Dell has profited to the tune of $17.5B, MS co-founder Paul Allen is worth $15.9B, Wipro dude Azim Premji hit $15.3B, Dish Network chairman Charles Ergen is worth $15B, Disney shareholder Laurene Powell Jobs is at $14B, China's Internet magnate Ma Huateng (aka Pony Ma) is at $13.4B, and China's largest Internet search engine guy Robin Li is worth $12.1B, and finally, to finish off the Top 15 Tech Rich list is Shiv Nadar at $11.1B.
A few more names you might recognize in the technology sector are Gordon Moore, of Moore's Law fame, at $5B. Another form of Moore's Law is that Gordon's wealth will double approximately every 18 months. Anton Kathrein, Jr., being the third generation to lead his family's Kathrein-Werke AG, "the oldest and largest antenna manufacturer in the world," is worth $1.35B. Terry Gu, who runs Hon Hai Precision, is one of Apple's largest parts suppliers and has a net worth of $5.4B.
How did the various countries fare for their share of the billionaire pie? USA topped the list, as usual, with 492, Canada claims 32 and Mexico 17, China has 153 and Russia has 112 (being a capitalist pig is OK for a Commie as long as he is the one who is rich), the UK has 47 billionaires and Germany 85, Australia has 29 and Japan has 27, Israel has 19 and Egypt has 8, France has 43, Spain has 27 and Sweden has 19. Headlines maker Ukraine claims 10 billionaires. All 4 of Finland's richest have ridden elevators and escalators to the top.
If you hope to be in the list someday but think maybe high tech is not within your capabilities, do not despair. Herbert Kohler, Jr. , amassed $6.3B by selling toilets. Hope to see you (and me) in the list next year!
Posted March 14, 2014