I originally wrote this post on Quora dated April 25, 2019.
None of this is true! Let’s look at how each of the companies were founded! Get ready to have your mind blown.
- William Harley & Arthur Davidson designed a bike. They needed to build a manufacturing facility to make some prototypes to sell. Lucky for them, Arthur Davidson had a rich uncle James McKlay loaned them the start up money
2. Jeff Bezos’ parents lent him $250k to start Amazon
3. Larry Page had a dad who was very distinguished in computer science.
Larry went to his dad’s Alma Mater on a legacy admission (University of Michigan thankfully discontinued that practice in 2018)
After page graduated from University of Michigan Computer Science (The same department his dad studied at), he worked in industry to pad his resume and got into Stanford.
One of Larry Page’s professors introduced Larry and Sergey to Sun Microsystems’ Billionaire Andy Bechtolsheim and he wrote a check after the professor vouched for him.
4. Steve Jobs were working in Atari and Steve Wozniak was working for Hewlett Packard, while they were playing around to make a computer. Steve Wozniak made the computer with parts he was able to get around.
Actually, I’ll let Steve Wozniak tell the truth! He made a computer! A friend from the computer club ordered 50 units a a test (network)
Based on this order, they got credit from the electronics company
After selling 50 units, a colleague introduced them to Mike Mikkula who gave them the initial seed money!
5. Walt Disney actually grew up poor, and went to night school to study art! He opened up a cartoon company. He got lucky and met this film distributor Margaret Winkler (not sure if she is related to Henry).
She contracted 12 short films about a cartoon character named Oswald
But, then she cheated him because she owned the copyright and reneged paying him! He also couldn’t get any royalties, so he had to file for bankruptcy in 1923.
It looked like this bankruptcy didn’t completely wipe his saving! After this bankruptcy, Disney had some start-up money and he mortgaged his house to create a new company, where he thought of the idea of an animated cartoon that spoke and he released Steamboat Willie in 1928
Steamboat Willie was a success, but it didn’t earn him much money! But, it did give him contracts for new films.
But you see, back then cartoons required a lot of labor:People had to draw frame by frame.
I made a mistake! They had to make 32 frames per second! So one minute of animation would require: 1920 illustrations and 1 hour would require: 115200 hand-drawn drawings!
In 1937, after 4 hard years of work, and 750 animators, Disney released Snow White.
IT MADE A LOT OF MONEY! It made $7.8 million ($136,000,000 today).
He increased his staff and started production Pinochio! Although, it made money, it didn’t make enough “profits” after paying for the staff!
Around this time, he wanted to do Dumbo, but animators who were routinely working ungodly hours with low pay, started a union and went on Strike in 1941
Posters calling for a boycott on Disney films from 1941:
I forgot, the cartoonists were getting like $12 an illustration and if they made a mistake, they illustration had to be done over and they didn’t get paid.
How did Disney respond to the cartoonists unionizing? Oh yeah, He wrote a letter to the FBI accusing them of being communist infiltrators.
After this trick, no one wanted any Disney films…but Uncle Sam bailed him out and paid for propaganda! (Mostly anti Soviet propaganda with a few anti nazi films sprinkled in)
Oh yeah, here is Disney blacklisting all the cartoonists who dared to ask for wages at HUAC
6. As for Mattel, Ruth Handler went to Germany, saw this perfect Aryan toy Bild Lili. Brought it home, copied it!
She also was indicted and convicted of fraud!
7. As for Bill Gates, his dad was a partner at a big law firm in Seattle called “Preston Gates” (Where partners routinely make over $500k a year) and his grandfather was the CEO of a bank.
8. Elon Musk’s dad owned an Emerald mine
9. Warren Buffett’s dad Howard was a congressman
10. Howard Schultz had a rich uncle who gave him money
11. In 1886, Fulton County (where Atlanta is) banned alcohol. John Pemberton made a drink laced with cocaine to help people get intoxicated in alternative ways
13. Sheldon Adelson had rich uncle
14. The Walton Family: Sam Walton’s father-in-law gave him money.
15. Hewlett-Packard’s founder Bill Hewlitt was a legacy admission to Stanford. He literally got in through neopotism
16. Michael Dell’s parents were so rich they let him play around with stocks and commodities as a child!
17. Henry Ford was lucky enough to have job at Edison Electric Co. Basically, they played him to experiment and play around. After he copied the assembly line idea from a German industrial worker, he got the mayor of Detroit to invest in his company!
But, after World War I, Germany had restrictions on the military build up! Very few people wanted to deal with the consequences! So where he made his real money was helping Nazi Germany build its armaments!
Here is Henry Ford with Nazis being lauded for his efforts
18. Mark Zuckerberg’s dad was a dentist and mom a doctor. Mark loved programming so much that his dad hired a private tutor.
That’s not all! Mark went to a very elite high school and look at their tuition
19. Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, had a dad who was an attorney! I’m not sure how much money he made, but he sure could afford this very expensive private school!
Her grandfather lived in Bel Air and owned a clothing store!
20. Business insider in 2015 tried to call Prince Al Waleed a self-made billionaire!
So to debunk it… grandpa was king and daddy was a prince
21. Elizabeth Holmes, founder of weird blood-sucking firm Theranos, is a lot like her father who was VP at Enron!
Do iphones automatically add “self-made” in front of billionaires?
22. Donald Trump’s dad left him with millions. If he had just put it in the bank, he would be richer! But, instead he had multiple failed ventures bailed out by multiple rich people.
He was so incompetent he bankrupted a casino.
23. Mark Cuban seems to have grown up middle class! But imagine what kind of human being you have to be to be a scab at age 16!
(I’m having trouble searching cause his family changed names)
Watch him admit to that here
24. Coco Channel did grow up poor. Her mother died of tuberculosis. She spent her teen years at a convent. Then, in her 20s, she was in Vichy France performing as a singer. She met Étienne Balsan. Etienne Balsan’s family were super wealthy textile makers who supplied for the army
Etienne Balsan gave her an apartment and a network of aristocracy and she started making hats for them.
A few years later, she met Arthur Chapel. Another rich man. He gave her a ritzy apartment in Paris and gave her money to start her shop. With this money, she employed 3000 French women.
World War 2 began. She closed her factory because she claimed it wasn’t a time for fashion! Chanel was retaliating agains workers who general labor strike in France in 1936.
Apparently, she was also a traitor and a Nazi spy.
World: So, What’s your excuse?
You: I don’t have a rich uncle.
Now I’m not undermining their work but it’s always better to have a safety-net before you jump from the proverbial mountain (venturing into Startup world). Always take calculated risks. Because, don’t believe when they say “An entrepreneur is someone who will jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.” That happens in fantasies only. In real world, Everyone Dies™.