Donald Trump was reportedly desperate to gain the approval of Silicon Valley execs soon after the 2016 election: ‘Everybody in this room has to like me’

From left: Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sheryl Sandberg met with President-elect Donald Trump in December 2016 at Trump Tower
From left: Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sheryl Sandberg met with then President-elect Donald Trump in December 2016 at Trump Tower

  • Former President Donald Trump wanted tech executives’ approval, The New York Times reports.
  • Trump told a meeting of tech leaders in 2016 that “everybody in this room has to like me.”
  • Trump ultimately had a strained relationship with several execs throughout his administration.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In December 2016, Donald Trump, then president-elect, invited about a dozen tech leaders for a meeting at Trump Tower in New York.

The group, which included Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google cofounder Larry Page, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was recorded by press photographers who captured a row of unhappy-looking tech executives.

But for Trump, it was important to gain the approval of some of the most powerful executives in the world.

“Everybody in this room has to like me,” Trump told the assembled group, according to The New York Times’ Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, who investigated the relationship between Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and COO, Sandberg, as part of a forthcoming book about Facebook.

Read more: Facebook just changed how it reviews employee performance, and it could be a sign the social-media giant is maturing

While attendees at the meeting put a positive spin on it – Bezos said afterward that the meeting was “very productive” – things had been strained between the tech world and Trump. Bezos had suggested shipping Trump off to space aboard a Blue Origin rocket, Apple had declined to fund the Republican National Convention because of Trump, and, according to The Times, Sandberg was still in shock following Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump and barely spoke at the meeting.

Still, Trump was optimistic about working with Silicon Valley leaders during the meeting, according to The Times.

“You’ll call my people, you’ll call me. It doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “We have no formal chain of command over here.”

A 2016 Times report about the meeting said that Trump called the assembled guests a “truly amazing group of people” and told them that he was “here to help you folks do well.”

But in the years following, Trump’s relationship with many Silicon Valley leaders became increasingly strained. He made Bezos a frequent target and openly feuded with Twitter, and reportedly made his displeasure about some Facebook policies known to Zuckerberg directly. Tech leaders spoke out against Trump’s immigration policies and condemned the siege on Capitol Hill.

Soon after the riots, Silicon Valley delivered the ultimate condemnation of Trump’s policies: locking him out of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, a temporary measure that has been extended indefinitely.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jeff Bezos is about to step down as Amazon CEO. Here’s how he built Amazon into a $1.7 trillion company and became the world’s richest person.

Jeff Bezos inside Amazon's Spheres at its Seattle headquarters
Jeff Bezos inside Amazon’s Spheres in 2018.

  • Jeff Bezos will step down as Amazon CEO on July 5, 27 years to the day after he founded the company.
  • Bezos got his start as a New York hedge-funder and grew Amazon into a $1.7 trillion business.
  • Along the way, he faced antitrust scrutiny, weathered scandal, and became the world’s richest man.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

After 27 years in charge, Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO.

Over the last 16 months, Amazon experienced a surge in demand as the coronavirus pandemic forced people to shop online more than ever. And as Amazon’s stock has hit new highs, Bezos’ net worth has jumped as well: These days, he’s worth $199 billion, according to Bloomberg.

He’s also jetted across the globe with his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, he’s attended the exclusive Met Gala, and in a few weeks, he’s about to launch into space aboard a Blue Origin rocket.

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, however. Bezos began his career in the hedge fund world in the 1990s, then left a cushy job to launch his own startup that didn’t turn a profit for years. In 2018, he weathered a high-profile divorce scandal, and Amazon has faced scrutiny over how it treats its workers and the impact it has on the environment.

Here’s how Bezos got his start and built a trillion-dollar empire.

Allana Akhtar contributed to an earlier version of this story.

Jeff Bezos’ mom, Jackie, was a teenager when she had him in January 1964. She had recently married Cuban immigrant Miguel Bezos, who adopted Jeff. Jeff didn’t learn that Miguel wasn’t his real father until he was 10, but says he was more fazed about learning he needed to get glasses than he was about the news.

jeff bezos miguel bezos
Jeff Bezos with his father, Miguel Bezos.

Source: Wired

When Bezos was 4, his mother told his biological father, who previously had worked as a circus performer, to stay out of their lives. When Brad Stone interviewed Bezos’ biological father for Stone’s book “The Everything Store,” Bezos’ dad had no idea who his son had become.

Ringmaster Monte Carlo circus
Not Jeff Bezos’ father.

Source: The Everything Store

Bezos showed signs of brilliance from an early age. When he was a toddler, he took apart his crib with a screwdriver because he wanted to sleep in a real bed.

Baby crib

Source: The Everything Store

From ages 4 to 16, Bezos spent summers on his grandparents’ ranch in Texas, doing things like repairing windmills and castrating bulls.

jeff bezos young 1999

Source: The Everything Store

His grandfather, Preston Gise, was a huge inspiration for Bezos and helped kindle his passion for intellectual pursuits. At a commencement address in 2010, Bezos said Gise taught him “it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

jeff bezos
Jeff Bezos.

Source: Business Insider

Bezos fell in love with reruns of the original “Star Trek” and became a fan of later versions too. Early on, he considered naming Amazon MakeItSo.com, a reference to a line from Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

star trek

Source: The Everything Store

In school, Bezos told teachers “the future of mankind is not on this planet.” As a kid, he wanted to be a space entrepreneur – now, he owns a space-exploration company called Blue Origin.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin

Source: Wired

After spending a miserable summer working at McDonald’s as a teen, Bezos, together with his girlfriend, started the Dream Institute, a 10-day summer camp for kids. They charged $600 a kid and managed to sign up six students. The “Lord of the Rings” series made the required reading list.

Jeff Bezos Thumb

Source: Wired

Bezos eventually went to college at Princeton University and majored in computer science. Upon graduation, he turned down job offers from Intel and Bell Labs to join a startup called Fitel.

Princeton University
Princeton University.

Source: The Everything Store

After he quit Fitel, Bezos considered partnering with Halsey Minor – who would later found CNET – to launch a startup that would deliver news by fax.

fax

Source: Wired

Instead, he got a job at the hedge fund D.E. Shaw. He became a senior vice president after only four years.

india stock market
The rising graph of the Bombay Stock Index is reflected in the glasses of Senior broker and Assistant Vice President of Motilal Oswal Securities Limited, Jitendra Prasad, as he looks into a computer in his firm in Bombay November 15, 2001. India’s key share index finished up more than two percent on Thursday to its highest level since September 11, as investors bet on a recovery in global equity sentiment. The 30-share Bombay Sensitive Index closed up a provisional 2.65 percent at 3,195.52 points. YEAREND PICTURES 2001

Source: The Everything Store

Meanwhile, Bezos was taking ballroom dancing classes as part of a scheme to increase his “women flow.” Just as Wall Streeters have a process for increasing their “deal flow,” Bezos thought analytically about meeting women.

Ballroom dancing

Source: The Everything Store

He married MacKenzie Tuttle, a D.E. Shaw research associate, in 1993. She’s now a novelist. The couple had four kids together.

Jeff Bezos + Mackenzie

Source: The Everything Store

In 1994, Bezos read that the web had grown 2,300% in one year. This number astounded him, and he decided he needed to find some way to take advantage of its rapid growth. He made a list of 20 possible products to sell online and decided books were the best option.

girl in bookstore

Source: The Everything Store

Bezos decided to leave D.E. Shaw even though he had a great job. His boss at the firm, David E. Shaw, tried to persuade Bezos to stay. But Bezos was already determined to start his own company – he felt he’d rather try and fail at a startup than never try at all.

amazon bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is silhouetted during a presentation of his company’s new Fire smartphone at a news conference in Seattle, Washington June 18, 2014.

“When you are in the thick of things, you can get confused by small stuff,” he said later. “I knew when I was 80 that I would never, for example, think about why I walked away from my 1994 Wall Street bonus right in the middle of the year at the worst possible time. That kind of thing just isn’t something you worry about when you’re 80 years old.”

“At the same time, I knew that I might sincerely regret not having participated in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a revolutionizing event,” he added. “When I thought about it that way … it was incredibly easy to make the decision.”

Source: Wired

And so Amazon was born. MacKenzie and Jeff flew to Texas to borrow a car from his father, and then they drove to Seattle. Bezos was making revenue projections in the passenger seat the whole way, though the couple did stop to watch the sunrise at the Grand Canyon.

jeff and mackenzie bezos

Source: The Everything Store

Bezos started Amazon.com in a garage with a potbelly stove. He held most of his meetings at the neighborhood Barnes & Noble.

Barnes and Noble store

Source: Wired

In the early days, a bell would ring in the office every time someone made a purchase, and everyone would gather around to see whether anyone knew the customer. It took only a few weeks before it was ringing so often they had to make it stop.

jeff bezos young 2001

Learn more about some of Amazon’s early employees here

In the first month of its launch, Amazon sold books to people in all 50 states and in 45 different countries. And it continued to grow: Amazon went public on May 15, 1997.

amazon ipo jeff bezos

Source: Business Insider

When the dot-com crash came, analysts called the company “Amazon.bomb.” But it weathered the storm and ended up being one of the few startups that wasn’t wiped out by the dot-com bust.

jeff bezos

Source: Barron’s

Amazon has now gone beyond selling books to offering almost everything you can imagine, including appliances, clothing, and even cloud computing services.

amazon warehouse
An Amazon warehouse.

In the early days, Bezos was a demanding boss and could explode at employees. Rumor has it he hired a leadership coach to help him tone it down.

Jeff Bezos
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

Here are some of the strategies Bezos used in building his Amazon empire. 

Bezos is known for banning PowerPoint presentations at Amazon. Instead, he requires his staff to turn in papers of a specific length on their proposals to encourage critical thinking over simplistic bullet points.

Pens and paper with the Amazon logo are seen at the logistics center in Brieselang, Germany November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
Pens and paper with an Amazon logo are seen at the logistics center in Brieselang

Source: The Everything Store

Bezos is also known for creating a frugal company culture that doesn’t offer perks like free food or massages.

Amazon office 61
An Amazon office.

In 1998, Bezos became an early investor in Google. He invested $250,000, which was worth about 3.3 million shares when the company went public in 2004. Those would be worth billions today (Bezos hasn’t said whether he kept any of his stock after the initial public offering).

Larry Page Sergey Brin

Source: All Things D

What does Bezos do with all his money? In 2012, he donated $2.5 million to defend gay marriage in Washington.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos.

Source: The Washington Post

Bezos has also donated $42 million and part of his land in Texas to the construction of The Clock Of The Long Now, an underground timepiece designed to work for 10,000 years.

Clock of the Long Now

Source: Business Insider

In August 2013, Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million.

Jeff Bezos

Source: The Washington Post

His space company Blue Origin made history in 2015 when it became one of the first commercial companies to successfully launch a reusable rocket.

Blue Origin

Source: Business Insider

Bezos’ interest in flying has gotten him into trouble in the past. In 2003, Bezos almost died in a helicopter crash in Texas while scouting a site for a test-launch facility for Blue Origin.

august 2011 helicopter crash wreckage missouri
This isn’t Bezos’ helicopter.

Source: CNN

But in early 2016, he flew his personal jet to Germany to pick up and bring home Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who had been detained by Iran.

Jeff Bezos

Source: Business Insider

Bezos is said to own a 5.35-acre estate on Seattle’s Lake Washington that includes 200 yards of shoreline.

Amazon plane Lake Washington
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 freighter, nicknamed Amazon One, flies over Lake Washington.

Source: Curbed Seattle

He bought a seven-bedroom, $24.5 million mansion in Beverly Hills in 2007. There’s a greenhouse, tennis court, pool, and guest house on the property, and it neighbors Tom Cruise’s estate.

Jeff Bezos Beverly Hills Home
Bezos’ house in Beverly Hills.

Source: Forbes

In January 2017, Bezos purchased the Textile Museum, a pair of mansions in Washington, D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood. The property sold for $23 million and is the largest in Washington. He’s currently spending $12 million to renovate the place.

Jeff Bezos DC house

Source: The Washington Post, Business Insider

Here’s another look at the mansions.

Bezos

Bezos also owns four apartments at 212 Fifth Avenue in New York City. His most recent purchase in the building was last April, when he paid a reported $16 million for a three-bedroom unit, bringing his total real estate holdings in the building to nearly $100 million.

Madison Square Park
Madison Square Park in New York City.

Source: Forbes, Business Insider

In February 2020, Bezos became the new owner of the Warner estate, a sprawling compound in Beverly Hills, California, that he reportedly purchased for $165 million. A few months later, Bezos added to the compound with an adjacent house worth $10 million.

Jeff Bezos Warner estate Beverly Hills

Source: Business Insider

Now, more than 20 years after going public, Amazon has a market cap of over $1.56 trillion.

Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Source: Markets Insider

In August 2017, Amazon officially acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. The Amazon influence became immediately clear: Customers who are Amazon Prime subscribers can get 10% of sale prices, and you’ll see some Amazon branded items offered, including tech products like the popular Amazon Echo line.

whole foods amazon echo

Source: Business Insider

In July 2017, Bezos became the world’s richest person for the first time, surpassing Microsoft founder Bill Gates. At the time, his net worth was more than $90 billion.

Jeff Bezos Bill Gates Tennis

Source: Markets Insider, Forbes

Despite his high net worth, Bezos doesn’t actually take home a high salary, comparatively speaking: His annual salary comes out to $81,840, according to Bloomberg.

Jeff Bezos Sun Valley
Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, and John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, walk together during the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 12, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Source: Bloomberg

In January 2019, Bezos and his wife of 25 years, novelist MacKenzie Bezos, announced they were divorcing. “As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” the couple wrote in the statement. “If we had known we would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.”

Jeff Bezos MacKenzie Bezos

 

Shortly after the Bezoses announced their divorce last January, news broke that Bezos was dating TV host and helicopter pilot Lauren Sanchez.

Lauren Sanchez Jeff Bezos

At the time, the National Enquirer said it had conducted a four-month investigation into Bezos and Sanchez’s relationship and had obtained texts and explicit photos the couple had sent to each other.

Almost immediately, questions arose about the Enquirer’s motives for investigating Bezos and Sanchez and the tabloid’s connection to President Trump — Bezos immediately launched an investigation into who had leaked his personal messages.

Then, in February, Bezos dropped a bombshell of his own: an explosive blog post titled “No thank you, Mr. Pecker,” in which he accused Pecker and AMI of trying to blackmail him. As a result, Bezos published the emails he’d received from AMI.

“Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten,” Bezos wrote.

The Bezoses announced on Twitter they had finalized the term of their divorce in April 2019. MacKenzie retained more than $35 billion in Amazon stock, making her one of the world’s richest women.

FILE PHOTO: 89th Academy Awards - Oscars Vanity Fair Party - Beverly Hills, California, U.S. - 26/02/17 - Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo
Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos.

Source: Business Insider

Since then, Bezos and Sanchez have had a whirlwind two years, attending Wimbledon together, yachting with other moguls and celebrities, and vacationing in Saint-Tropez and St. Barths.

jeff bezos lauren sanchez

Source: Business Insider

During the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon saw a surge in demand as more people were forced to shop online. Amazon created more jobs and raised pay for workers, but Bezos and the company faced scrutiny over worker safety during the outbreak.

Amazon worker protest
Former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls, stands with fellow demonstrators during a protest outside of an Amazon warehouses in the Staten Island borough of New York on May 1, 2020.

Source: Business Insider

The company is also facing antitrust concerns, particularly the company’s practices when it comes to third-party sellers on its platform. Bezos and other major tech CEOs will testified in front of Congress at the end of July 2020.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos threw his weight behind the US military.

Source: Business Insider

After the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed, Bezos was outspoken about his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, publicly shaming customers who sent racist emails about his and Amazon’s support. In an Instagram post, he posted a screenshot of a customer email and described the man as “the kind of customer I’m happy to lose.”

black lives matter sign
A person holds a “Black Lives Matter” sign at a protest in Seattle, Washington on June 1, 2020.

Source: Business Insider

In recent months, Bezos and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk have seen their respective net worths spike. The two moguls have flip-flopped for the spot of world’s richest person, though it appears Bezos is staying on top with a fortune worth nearly $200 billion.

Jeff Bezos Elon Musk space

Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg

On Tuesday, February 2, Bezos announced he would step down as Amazon’s CEO after 27 years.

jeff bezos star trek
Jeff Bezos attends the premiere of “Star Trek Beyond” in 2016.

In a letter to Amazon employees published on the company’s blog, Bezos announced that he would transition to executive chairman, where he’ll focus on “new products and early initiatives.”

“Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming,” Bezos wrote. “When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else.”

Bezos said that while he will still be involved in important initiatives at Amazon, he plans to spend more time on philanthropy — including the Bezos Earth Fund and his Day 1 Fund — as well as his two other major endeavors: the Washington Post, which he purchased 2013, and his rocket company, Blue Origin.  

Bezos’ next adventure won’t take place on planet Earth. On July 20, he’ll take an 11-minute voyage to the edge of space aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft. He’ll be accompanied by his brother, Mark; a mysterious bidder who bought the seat for $28 million; and Wally Funk, an 82-year-old aviator who trained to go to space in the ’60s but was ultimately denied the opportunity because she was a woman.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin

Source: Business Insider

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is the latest major tech founder to step down as CEO. Here’s what others are up to now.

jeff bezos
Jeff Bezos poses with a Pikachu doll and drill in 1999.

  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is stepping down as the company’s CEO.
  • Bezos was among the few founders of major tech companies still running their “startups.”
  • Here’s what the former founder-CEOs of Google, Microsoft, and other tech giants are up to now.

Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his garage in 1994 as a way to sell books online. In 26 years as its CEO, he transformed the company into a behemoth in ecommerce, web services, logistics, robotics, groceries, AI, media, and more. 

On Tuesday, Bezos said he will step down as CEO in the third quarter of 2021, passing the reins to Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy and taking a backseat as executive chairman of Amazon’s board of directors.

Before the pandemic hit, Bezos had spent several years mostly focused on long-term projects. and said in his letter to employees Tuesday that he plans to shift that focus to “other passions” like his space startup Blue Origin, philanthropies (Day 1 Fund and Earth Fund), and The Washington Post, which he acquired in 2013.

Bezos’ plans track closely with those of other high-profile tech founders who ran, and eventually left, their own startups-turned-tech-giants to pursue pet projects and philanthropic endeavors.

He was also one of the few remaining founder-CEOs of a generation of tech companies born in the past 50 years that played major roles in bringing computers, the internet, ecommerce, and social networking to the masses. That shrinking crowd still includes Facebook CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO and cofounder Jack Dorsey, and Netflix co-CEO and cofounder Reed Hastings.

But Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others have since bid farewell to the founders who had led their companies for years. Here’s what those tech icons are up to now.

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs died in 2011.

Steve Jobs
Apple cofounder Steve Jobs in 1979.

After Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976, the company had a long line of CEOs. Jobs was eventually ousted after a failed board takeover in 1985, before returning in 1996 with a successful board takeover, eventually transforming the struggling company into the $2.3 trillion giant it is today.

Jobs left Apple in early 2011 as his health deteriorated, turning over the reins to CEO Tim Cook. Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in October 2011.

Wozniak, who left Apple in 1985 but is still technically an employee and is paid $50 per week, has since started multiple companies. Most recently, he launched a cryptocurrency business that helps companies raise money for eco-friendly projects, according to CNBC.

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is working on global health initiatives through his philanthropy.

Bill Gates 1998
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates in 1979.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen cofounded Microsoft in 1975, and by the time Gates stepped down as CEO in 2000, he had helped build the company into such a dominant player in the tech industry that it became the subject of one of the biggest antitrust cases ever.

Gates stayed on the company’s board until March 2020, when he said he would focus full-time on his philanthropic work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates has pledged to give away a majority of his wealth within his lifetime — though he and 75% of signatories of the “Giving Pledge” have actually become wealthier since signing on.

Gates has for years focused on global health and warned about the dangers of pandemics, and the Gates Foundation has poured $1.75 billion into coronavirus-related causes.

 

Google cofounder Larry Page is working on secretive flying-car startups.

Larry Page (L), Co-Founder and President, Products, and Sergey Brin, Co-Founder and President, Technology, at Google's campus headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google, the popular Internet search engine company, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 29, 2004 to raise as much as $2.72 billion in its long-awaited stock market debut. They founded the company in 1998. (Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)
Google cofounder Larry Page in 2003.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google in 1998, and Page led the company until 2001, when Eric Schmidt was brought in as “adult supervision.” But Page stepped back in as CEO in 2011 and eventually became the CEO of its parent company Alphabet in 2015, working mostly on “moonshot” projects and recruiting talented people.

Page and Brin stepped down as Alphabet CEO and President in December 2019, with then-Google CEO Sundar Pichai taking over, though both remain on the board. Page has since focused mostly on his investments in flying-car startups Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk.

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar has invested in media, social impact fintech startups, and a basic income experiment.

GettyImages 799286 F 343440 11: Chairman and founder Pierre Omidyar and CEO Meg Whitman of EBay.com, the online auction service. California, June 15, 1998. (photo by James D. Wilson / Liaison Agency) ***EXCLUSIVE***
eBay founder Pierre Omidyar in 1998.

Pierre Omidyar launched Auction Web, which ultimately became eBay, in 1995. The company eventually brought in Meg Whitman as CEO in 1998, and Omidyar stayed on the company’s board until September 2020.

After leaving day-to-day operations at eBay, Omidyar — a Hawai’i resident — started a local investigative journalism outlet, the Honolulu Civil Beat, and founded First Look Media, a digital journalism company that owns The Intercept. He also launched a $300 million fund to back social impact-focused fintech startups, and has given to a range of philanthropic causes, including basic income and pandemic response.

 

AOL co-founder and CEO Steve Case got into venture capital and philanthropy.

America Online Inc chairman Steve Case talks to reporters at a Tokyo hotel April 14. In Tokyo to announce the launch of AOL's online service in Japan, Case said he expects the Japanese market to become the largest market outside of the United States of AOL's online services. Case declined to comment on market rumours of merger talks with CompuServe Corp, an affiliate of H&R Block Inc. JAPAN ONLINE
AOL co-founder Steve Case in 1997.

America Online, known to most people as AOL, was founded from the ashes of its short-lived predecessor, Control Video Corporation, by Jim Kimsey, Marc Seriff, and Steve Case.

Case ran AOL from 1991 until 2001, when the company completed its — ultimately ill-fated — merger with Time Warner, becoming chairman of the combined company until resigning that position in 2003 amid criticism from investors.

After leaving AOL’s board outright in 2005, Case launched a venture capital firm, Revolution, that has focused on funding startups outside of Silicon Valley. He has also launched a philanthropic foundation and chairs the board of the Smithsonian Institute.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Billionaire tech mogul Larry Ellison says he and Elon Musk are ‘close friends.’ Here are 8 other tech exec friendships that have thrived in the competitive world of Silicon Valley.

Mark Zuckerberg driving car
Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, left, and Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Silicon Valley might be competitive, but it also appears to be a breeding ground for friendships among its famous execs.
  • Elon Musk is close friends with Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. 
  • Larry Ellison gave the eulogy at Steve Jobs’ funeral, and he has a love/hate relationship with Salesforce’s Marc Benioff. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Elon Musk and Larry Ellison. Jeff Bezos and Barry Diller. 

What do all these high-profile pairings have in common? They’re all close friendships within the world of tech. 

Silicon Valley may be known for its competitive spirit, but it’s also fostered several years-long friendships among some of its most famous executives. Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett, for example, have been buddies for nearly 30 years. And Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff have been friends for decades, even though their respective enterprise software companies are technically rivals.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has several close pals in tech, including friends he’s defended online or taken for Tesla test drives. 

Here’s a closer look at some of the friendships among tech CEOs. 

Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey

Elon Musk Jack Dorsey
Elon Musk, left, and Jack Dorsey.

While it’s not clear if Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey actually hang out in real life, they do seem to have a solid virtual friendship. 

As far back as 2016, Dorsey said Musk was “a really good model” for how to use Twitter. More recently, Dorsey said in an interview that Musk is his favorite Twitter follow, to which Musk responded, “Thanks Jack, Twitter rocks!”

Then, in January, Dorsey and Musk spoke over video chat in front of Twitter employees, and Musk gave Dorsey advice on how to improve the platform. 

In March, as Dorsey faced a possible ouster at the hands of an activist hedge fund, Musk publicly tweeted his support of the CEO. 

“Just want to say that I support @jack as Twitter CEO,” Musk tweeted. “He has a good <3.” 

Jeff Bezos and Barry Diller

Jeff Bezos Barry Diller
Jeff Bezos, left, and Barry Diller.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and IAC Chairman Barry Diller appear to have been friends for years. 

In January 2016, Diller correctly predicted that Bezos would become the richest person in the world.

And in the last few years, as Bezos has gone through changes in his personal life, he’s been spotted hanging out with Diller and his wife, designer Diane von Furstenberg, more often. Diller and von Furstenberg have reportedly attended multiple parties hosted by Bezos, and Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, have sailed aboard von Furstenberg’s yacht. The two couples were also reportedly spotted exploring Venice together.

Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs

Larry Ellison Steve Jobs
Larry Ellison, left, and Steve Jobs.

Oracle founder Larry Ellison and late Apple CEO Steve Jobs were friends for 25 years before Jobs’ death in 2011. 

Ellison and Jobs used to be neighbors in Woodside, California, and the pair often went hiking together. It was during one of those hikes that Ellison helped Jobs plot how to regain control of Apple after he was ousted — Ellison even suggested buying Apple himself and installing Jobs as CEO.

It was Jobs who came up with the idea that Apple should acquire his company, Next, instead. When Ellison questioned how the pair would make money, Jobs said to him, “Larry, this is why it’s so important that I’m your friend. You don’t need any more money,” Ellison said in a commencement speech in 2016. 

Ellison said he spent time with Jobs in his final days, taking shorter walks around the block with him as he became weaker. Ellison gave a eulogy at Jobs’ funeral. 

Elon Musk, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin Elon Musk Larry Page
From left: Sergey Brin, Elon Musk, and Larry Page.

Elon Musk has been friends with the cofounders of Google for a long time.

In the early days of Musk’s tenure at the electric car maker, he took Brin and Page on a test drive. Unfortunately, a software bug prevented the car from going any faster than 10 miles per hour, Musk recounted at a company shareholder meeting in 2016. Despite “the world’s worst demo,” however, the duo ended up investing in Tesla anyway, Musk said. 

Over the years, Musk and Page especially have become close friends — Musk even sometimes sleeps at Page’s house when he’s in town, and Page once said he’d rather leave his money to Musk than give it away to charity.

Brin, Page, and Musk also reportedly used to hang out in a Google-owned apartment and brainstorm ideas. 

“It’s fun for the three of us [including Google cofounder Sergey Brin] to talk about kind of crazy things, and we find stuff that eventually turns out to be real,” Page told Ashlee Vance, who wrote a 2015 biography about Musk.

Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff

Larry Ellison Marc Benioff
Larry Ellison, left, and Marc Benioff.

Ellison and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff met when Benioff began working at Oracle when he was 23. He was a star early on, earning a “rookie of the year” award that same year and becoming Oracle’s youngest VP by age 26. He spent 13 years at Oracle, during which he became a trusted lieutenant to Ellison. 

The pair became such close friends that rumors swirled about their relationship’s backstory — people wondered if they were related, or if Ellison had been Benioff’s childhood babysitter. Ellison and Benioff took trips together, sailed on Ellison’s yacht, and went on double dates

Benioff began working on Salesforce with Ellison’s blessing, and Ellison became an investor, putting in $2 million early on. 

The duo has publicly feuded over the years — including when Benioff fired Ellison from Salesforce’s board — but Benioff has also described Ellison as his mentor. 

“There is no one I’ve learned more from than Larry Ellison,” Benioff said in 2013.

Read more: Oracle employees say Safra Catz and Larry Ellison don’t talk about their Trump ties internally. After the US Capitol siege, some want action: There’s ‘blood on their hands’

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett Bill Gates
Warren Buffett, left, and Bill Gates.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates met in 1991 when Buffett was invited over to Gates’ mother’s house. Neither man was very interested in meeting the other, but they ended up hitting it off. Soon after, Gates asked Buffett for a business book recommendation, and Buffett loaned him his copy of “Business Adventures” by John Brookes — Gates still has it today. 

Since then, the duo has done everything from play table tennis together to participate in Berkshire Hathaway’s annual newspaper toss competition. And Gates, his wife Melinda, and Buffett launched the Giving Pledge together in 2010, vowing to give away the majority of their wealth in their lifetimes or in their wills. 

While Buffett owns a major stake in Apple, he’s said that he’ll never invest in Microsoft due to his friendship with Gates. 

Larry Ellison and Elon Musk

Larry Ellison Elon Musk
Larry Ellison, left, and Elon Musk.

Ellison and Musk appear to be two of the friendliest CEOs in tech, if their relationships with Benioff and Jobs, and Page, Brin, and Dorsey are any indication. So it’s not much of a surprise that the two moguls are “very close” friends with each other, too. 

Back in 2018, when Ellison was named to Tesla’s board of directions, he highlighted his relationship with Musk. 

“I think Tesla has a lot of upside,” Ellison said at the time. “I am not sure how many people know, but I’m very close friends with Elon Musk, and I’m a big investor in Tesla.”

It makes sense that Ellison and Musk would get along well, as they’re two of the most colorful personalities in tech. Ellison owns an entire $300 million island in Hawaii, likes to race yachts, and doesn’t mind trash-talking his competitors. Musk spends his money on rare cars, has had multiple high-profile relationships, and is often outspoken on Twitter. 

Mark Zuckerberg and Drew Houston

Mark Zuckerberg Drew Houston

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have apparently been friends for years, with the former often turning to the latter for advice

“[Zuckerberg’s] given me a lot of advice just on company scaling, how do you organize people, how do you set up these systems,” Houston told Bloomberg in 2015.

That same year, a Fast Company profile on Dropbox described Houston as a “close friend” of Zuckerberg’s. The pair has been photographed together everywhere from Houston’s birthday party at a ping-pong club to the prestigious Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. 

This past February, Houston was appointed to Facebook’s board of directors

“Drew brings valuable perspective to our board as a leader of a technology company with services used by millions of people and businesses,” Zuckerberg said in a statement at the time. “He thinks deeply about where technology is going and how to build a culture that delivers services that always work well.”

Kevin Systrom and Jack Dorsey

Kevin Systrom Jack Dorsey

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey started out as close friends, but it’s hard to tell where they stand these days.  

According to the book “No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram” by Sarah Frier, the pair met when they were early employees at Odeo, the audio and video site created by eventual Twitter cofounders Ev Williams and Noah Glass. Dorsey expected to dislike Systrom when he joined as a summer intern in the mid-2000s, but the pair ended up bonding over photography and expensive coffee. 

Systrom and Dorsey stayed in touch even after Systrom got a full-time job at Google — he was an early proponent of Twitter (then known as Twttr), and when Systrom was working on Burbn, the precursor to Instagram, he reached out to Dorsey for guidance. Dorsey ended up becoming an early investor, putting in $25,000. When Burbn pivoted to Instagram, Dorsey became one of the app’s biggest fans, cross-posting his Instagrams to Twitter and helping the app go viral soon after it launched. Dorsey eventually attempted to buy Instagram, but Systrom declined, saying he wanted to make Instagram too expensive to be acquired, according to Frier. 

But the Dorsey-Systrom relationship appeared to have soured in 2012, when Dorsey found out through the grapevine that Instagram had signed a deal to be acquired by Facebook, Twitter’s biggest rival. According to Frier, Dorsey was hurt that Systrom hadn’t called him to discuss the deal, or to negotiate one with Twitter instead.

Dorsey hasn’t posted to his Instagram account since April 9, 2012, when he snapped a photo of an unusually empty San Francisco city bus — according to Frier, it was taken the morning he found out Instagram had sold. 

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