Ray Dalio, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey started their careers as teenagers
Most kids between the ages of 8 and 13 spend their days riding bikes, playing video games, and dodging homework. Ray Dalio, Bill Gates and Jack Dorsey weren’t most kids.
The trio of billionaires each found their professional vocation before they were 15 years old. And while their early exposure to finance, technology and business was somewhat coincidental, Dalio says he doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that they’ve all achieved huge financial success over the years. since.
In a recent episode of the ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast hosted by actor Dax Shepard, Dalio suggested that his career trajectory – and those of Gates and Dorsey – fell into place when he learned how to navigate the market. scholarship at age 12. It gave him naïve confidence, he says, but more importantly, his brain absorbed information differently when he was younger.
“You think differently before puberty than after puberty,” Dalio said. “You learn differently. And [the] experiences… can have a very big effect. You can learn in a way that you can’t learn later.”
There is scientific evidence to support Dalio’s thoughts. A 2018 study conducted by MIT scientists found that “a lot of evidence suggests” that children – especially under the age of 10 – have an easier time mastering a language and mastering grammar rules. “The underlying causes remain unknown,” the study notes.
A study from October conducted by psychologists at the University of Berkeley contained similar results and suggested that children seem to be more curious than adults because they are less concerned about mistakes.
The three billionaires have publicly reflected on how their teenage interests led to successful professional lives. Here’s how their early passions helped them develop lucrative careers:
Ray Dalio went public at age 12
In the 1960s, 12-year-old Dalio caddyed for Wall Street executives at a golf course in Long Island, New York. He overheard them talking about the stock market and decided to invest his caddy salary – not really knowing what he was getting into.
Dalio, now 72, said on the podcast that he chose to invest in Northeast Airlines – which merged with Delta Air Lines in 1972 – because it was “the only company I have never heard of selling for less than $5 a share”. He fortuitously tripled that investment, and according to the nonprofit organization Achievement Academybuilt a stock portfolio worth thousands of dollars by the time he graduated from high school.
“It was so dumb and lucky,” Dalio said on the podcast.
Dalio built on that early success in Bridgewater Associates, the hedge fund he started in 1975. For about four decades, he made it the world’s largest hedge fund before stepping down as CEO in 2017.
Bill Gates started writing computer programs at age 13
When Gates was in eighth grade, he learned to write software. Him and classmate-turned-business partner Paul Allen designed an automated lesson-planning system for their prep school.
In 1993, Gates told the Smithsonian Institution that the experience of learning – and failing – to write computer code at such a young age gave him the opportunity to try something he was “good at or interested in”, but didn’t probably couldn’t have done in class.
“Self exploration [at that age] is great because you develop a sense of self-confidence and a “Hey, I know that very well” type of identity. I know that better than the professors… Maybe I’m good enough at it,” Gates said. “If your program is wrong…then you correct it and try again. It’s a feedback loop.”
Together, Gates and Allen started Microsoft in 1975. Gates served as the company’s CEO until 2000. As of Friday afternoon, the company has a market capitalization of $1.85 trillion.
Jack Dorsey started programming before he was a teenager and became ‘obsessed’ with routing shipments
When Dorsey was growing up, his father – an engineer – sometimes brought circuit boards home from work. This led young Dorsey to become “very interested in taking things apart,” he told Harvard Business School.Dealspodcast in 2014.
This interest turned to programming after his father brought home a computer, Dorsey Told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2013. And as a teenager, he says, his interest extended to dispatch routing programs that assign routes to vehicles like taxis, couriers and emergency services medical: he spent time listening to emergency verbal codes. answering machines used on police scanners.
The short exchanges that relayed vehicle locations and driver activity ultimately inspired Twitter, Dorsey said. He co-founded Twitter in 2006 and led the company until 2008, then again from 2015 to 2021.
Dorsey also co-founded Block – formerly known as Square – in 2009 and remains that company’s CEO today. And throughout his career, he’s contributed millions to coding education programs, emphasizing the importance of developing skills at a young age.
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