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March 13, 2007

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"A much easier way to become a billionaire would be to marry an heiress."

Anyone who does this might enjoy the lifestyle but will also be eternally bitter and resent the woman for all the money she has because, ultimately, her money will never be her husband's money. This strategy is doomed to failure if the goal is to become a billionaire.

I took a quick look at the list and noticed that of the top 75, the bulk is above the age of 50 and those who are under 50, the bulk is in the technology field. I think it's quite safe to say that it's becoming much harder to become a billionaire nowadays and those who are, are mainly in the technology field.

HS, I think you should do a post on barriers to entry. A lot of programmers who comment here don't seem to understand how barriers to entry help prevent jobs from being outsourced/insourced and how barriers to entry help keep salaries high.

i wonder if there are more dropouts than lawyers or MBAs. names that come to mind are bill gates, dell, ballmer (i believe he never finished his MBA), and others.

Correcting myself - from what I counted there are 15 people who are in their 50's or younger and of those half are in the technology field, therefore, not the bulk.

A much easier way to become a billionaire would be to marry an heiress. This is really a lot easier to do than you might think. I personally dated women whose ancestors were billionaires on more than one occasion.

IMHO, I'm at least as hot as you are, but to my knowledge I've never dated anyone with a solid family connection to a billionaire or anywhere close. It must have something to do with that Ivy League background of yours. Which hardly makes you an everyman.

Piffle...who gives a damn about Billionaires anyway?

The only defining characteristic about billionaires is what they did for other people .

Walton, Gates etc.. changed the world to what it is today. After you have more than a couple of million, its the love of the job that keeps you going.

(Yeah, I know you already mentioned something like this in your post).

Oh, and in case you were thinking, "Ha, that just proves women have to be hotter than men do to hook up with rich people because there's more competition for rich men than rich women," I will note that I never even knew any datable guy who fit that description. So it's not like the billionaires were passing me up.

Given that New York City has a tendency to attract lots of people with trust funds and Half Sigma's aspirational tendencies, it wouldn't be that hard for him to meet and date heiresses. My cousin despite not having a college degree until he reached 30 managed to date many heiresses and other related upper class women as well.

IMHO, I'm at least as hot as you are

LMAO, that's a good one...

>

I am new to posting on this blog, but trying to marry a heiress is IMHO thinking out of the box to a greater extent than the millions of folks who try to play the winner take all Robert Kiyosaki "Be a self made entrepreneur" gam.

By the way,what would be the best way to go about meeting an heiress in the first place.I live in New York City, but am cooped up in a dead end PhD program at CUNY almost all day. Have you ever known of anyone who actually married an heiress in the end? An encouraging story would brighten my day. You should write a post one day suggesting that any sane person should stay completely away from any kind of PhD program( some marketable sciences might be an exception).

From a cursory glance of the list, the majority of the last names seem to imply Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, or Germanic origins with few names white ethnic (e.g. Italians, Eastern European) names.

I also found it very interesting that over half the list is under the $2B mark, and that only the first 21 have net worths of $10B. Given the attention given to the number of billionaires in this country, one would have expected to see more billionaires in the $10B and up range.

From a cursory glance of the list, the majority of the last names seem to imply Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, or Germanic origins with few names white ethnic (e.g. Italians, Eastern European) names.

Well, central and northwestern Euros do make up the vast bulk of the US population. The obviously overrepresented group is Ashkenazi Jews (there may be others): they make up about 2% of the general population, but there are far more than 8 in that list of 400. The "Good ol' boys" days are long, long gone.

Billionaires are just too uncommon to serve as the basis for any sort of lessons. Except maybe to show that plain dumb luck is a very important factor.

>>IMHO, I'm at least as hot as you are,

Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me... don't you?

Ah, the musical arts these days. That song is as much a classic as "Boom, boom, boom, come back to my room, so we can do it all night and I can make you feel right".

>>Billionaires are just too uncommon to serve as the basis for any sort of lessons.

I don't know about that. I'm pretty impressed with how often Stamford is mentioned.

To call Standford "near-Ivy league" is actually a put down. It's kind of unique.

And by mispelling "Stanford" twice in the same post, in different ways, I must win a special prize.

"Damn you fat fingers! Damn you!".

"Boom, boom, boom, come back to my room

Not to quibble, but it's "...take you back to my room."

The most common way to become a billionaire is to inherit wealth. 23 of the 75 richest Americans inherited their wealth

Actually, the most common way is to start a business that becomes very, very successful: 52 of 75 created their wealth through starting powerful businesses. These businesses are, obviously, in very different fields, but creating wealth is the most common way to get a lot of it.

As for Ivy League degrees, that comes back to the signaling v. quality argument. Are Ivy League people successful because they have Ivy League educations or does the Ivy League attract people who are driven to be successful anyway? Gates, IIRC, had a year of Harvard math before he left for his company, which seems to make his Harvard education mostly pointless.

- Josh

BIGLAW starts people out these days with $160K, and there's the chance you could make partner and be making as much as a million dollars a year.

Yeah, if you're willing to work 120 hours a week. Your wife and kids will have a great time with your money, I'm sure.

Reading posts like this, even a capitalist running dog feels compelled to quote T.S. Eliot:

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us--if at all--not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

I suspect that the correlation between Ivy League and near-Ivy Leage is because these schools select for high IQ and drive.

Yeah, if you're willing to work 120 hours a week. Your wife and kids will have a great time with your money, I'm sure.

That's the main reason why I'm not interested in law. Given the hours that you work, the pay just doesn't seem attractive. Plus, if I did have children, I'd prefer to be actively involved in their lives, and I'd prefer to keep my wife company instead of another male doing that job for me.

>>Not to quibble, but it's "...take you back to my room."

So noted. It's been a while since I heard that one.

What's the point of being a modern-day billionare when you're expected to have philanthropies instead of harems? I'm envious of no one on the list except for perhaps Larry Ellison.

So noted. It's been a while since I heard that one.

What song are you old folks talking about?

"Yeah, if you're willing to work 120 hours a week. Your wife and kids will have a great time with your money, I'm sure."

This is bull. New associates at big firms work around 70-80 hours a week, tops. Furthermore, they don’t always work these long hours. Stop exaggerating just because you are a low-paid code monkey.

"That's the main reason why I'm not interested in law. Given the hours that you work, the pay just doesn't seem attractive. Plus, if I did have children, I'd prefer to be actively involved in their lives, and I'd prefer to keep my wife company instead of another male doing that job for me."

David, don't believe every thing you read on this site. Law would be a good career for you to look into since you are majoring in Poly Sci. If you can get into a good law school, then your job opportunities and pay will be far better than if you pursue a job in the government.

This is bull. New associates at big firms work around 70-80 hours a week, tops. Furthermore, they don’t always work these long hours. Stop exaggerating just because you are a low-paid code monkey.

Admittedly, I was working on anecdotal data. I have a relative who's a secretary at a Big law firm. She tells me that all the lawyers at the firm, including partners, work very nearly 365 days a year with very long days. I don't know the precise number.

If you can get into a good law school, then your job opportunities and pay will be far better than if you pursue a job in the government.

Or, for less pay, you can get a VERY cushy job as a lawyer FOR the government.

Medical doctors work similarly ridiculous hours during their residency.

But once you've put in three years or so with BIGLAW, you can move to an easier job if you don't want to stick with it.

At this age, you are 28 years old with your whole life ahead of you.

People avoiding law because they don't want to deal with three hellish years are lacking in proper future time orientation.

At this age, you are 28 years old with your whole life ahead of you.

You mean the rest of life littered with children, cranky wives, aging parents who need more care and attention, and various debilitating ailments?

I'd much rather take my vacations and do fun interesting things with my life when I'm young when I can enjoy them and do them when there's the time and energy to do them properly.

New associates at big firms work around 70-80 hours a week, tops.

Am I weird in thinking that's too many hours, or am I a lazy 35-hr a week Francophile?

>>What song are you old folks talking about?

"Boom, boom, boom, take you back to my room, so we can do it all night and I can make you feel right"

Or possibly, "you can make me feel right". Spungen?

"She tells me that all the lawyers at the firm, including partners, work very nearly 365 days a year with very long days." And my wife met a surgeon's wife who claimed her husband worked a 200-hour week.

"Am I weird in thinking that's too many hours, or am I a lazy 35-hr a week Francophile?"

Aren't you always complaining that women don't want to date you because of your employment situation?

Trust me, if you start working at a big law firm, you will be able to find yourself a good looking white chick FAST.

Aren't you always complaining that women don't want to date you because of your employment situation?

Actually, I've theorized that white girls would turn me down for a date because I'm black and I haven't completed college yet, and I have none of the "social advantages" that a overly masculine ghetto black males has because of my geeky oreo tendencies and traits.

I probably alluded to that when I was complaining about being currently unemployed. Even if I was employed now, I probably wouldn't date a girl my age if she had a college degree, nor would I date the younger female students in classes either.

Trust me, if you start working at a big law firm, you will be able to find yourself a good looking white chick FAST.

Oh, I agree considerably that if I chose that career path, I'd easily find white women. The problem is that I'm not interested in such a career path and my personality isn't the best for somebody in such an career path. BIGLAW requires the alphaish tendencies that I don't have, and I am much too "soft and squishy" for that.

And my wife met a surgeon's wife who claimed her husband worked a 200-hour week.

Is one alluding to the idea of not trusting a woman to measure the amount of time spent on "man's work"?

BIGLAW requires the alphaish tendencies that I don't have

I have no idea why people who read my blog think that.

BIGLAW hires the people with the highest law school grades. These are the guys who spend the most time studying in the law library. Hardly "alpha" in the football player/fratboy sense.

When I states "alphaish tendencies", I was thinking of the stereotypical strong, confident, bold, yet intellectual masculine leader. That's what BIGLAW is probably looking for in terms of an associate.

I was thinking of the stereotypical strong, confident, bold, yet intellectual masculine leader. That's what BIGLAW is probably looking for in terms of an associate.

You've been watching too many movies where a lawyer with those qualities manages to sway the jury and save his client who is really innocent but was wrongly accused.

That's not what BIGLAW associates do. They do legal research, write motions, etc. Nerdy work, not alpha male work.

That's not what BIGLAW associates do. They do legal research, write motions, etc. Nerdy work, not alpha male work.

No arguing in front of judges and juries? Just sitting in a room alone for several hours a day? That sounds a bit more tolerable, but the rumours of the long hours after the introductory years and the rumoured "up and out" processes makes it less appealing. For $150K, it doesn't seem worth it to work for that much money and not be able to enjoy it, but for $500K, that's another case entirely.

"That's not what BIGLAW associates do. They do legal research, write motions, etc. Nerdy work, not alpha male work."

I don't think I've ever met a lawyer that wasn't at least a bit nerdy. I think you have to be minimally nerdy to become a lawyer due to all the studying, reading and research involved.

No arguing in front of judges and juries?

As a BIGLAW associate you will NEVER argue in front of a jury.

If you're good, you might be allowed to argue one of your own procediral motions in front of a judge after a few years, but initially a senior associate or partner will claim your work as his own and argue the motion. I haven't worked in BIGLAW so someone more familiar with BIGLAW would be able to more accurately comment.

Just sitting in a room alone for several hours a day? That sounds a bit more tolerable, but the rumours of the long hours after the introductory years and the rumoured "up and out" processes makes it less appealing. For $150K, it doesn't seem worth it to work for that much money and not be able to enjoy it, but for $500K, that's another case entirely.

Yes, you mostly do your work alone, just like a computer programmer but the work is more interesting.

And the salary for partners at the top BIGLAW firms are more like $1 million and not $500K.

"Up and out" is true, but "out" doesn't mean out on the streets and unemployable, it means you can transition into a cushy 40 hr workweek inhouse counsel gig or move to a smaller firm. The competition is for one of the few $1 million/year slots.

Hmm, to become a rich lawyer, a content yet middle class government employee, or a poor professor trying to figure out "why black people are poor".

Oh the choices we can make...

"Oh, I agree considerably that if I chose that career path, I'd easily find white women. The problem is that I'm not interested in such a career path and my personality isn't the best for somebody in such an career path. BIGLAW requires the alphaish tendencies that I don't have, and I am much too "soft and squishy" for that."

You are hopeless then. If you get a government job, I guarantee you will be complaining that "white women don't want to date me because I'm a lowly government employee".

You have some strange views about the world, and I think you either need to get out more or have your head examined.

You are hopeless then. If you get a government job, I guarantee you will be complaining that "white women don't want to date me because I'm a lowly government employee".

Actually, given the vacation time, health care, job security, somewhat relaxed working hours, and pension benefits that one can rack up doing government work, I'd easily give up white women and all women for that. I can spend my free time doing much more productive and enjoyable things for my social health.

Plus dating females is just too expensive and a waste of time. :)

You have some strange views about the world, and I think you either need to get out more or have your head examined.

A lot of people have said this, and I've yet to figure out why I see the world so differently than most other people. Something must be at the root cause of it, and I can't really isolate my upbringing as the cause of it as I did grow up with strict immigrant parents, but they weren't that unusual or extreme. The only thing that may have a role was my hearing impairment when I was an infant which delayed by social development slightly.

Yes, you mostly do your work alone, just like a computer programmer but the work is more interesting.

Well, don't discount all the asshole partners and associates you're expected to deal with, who hang out in your doorway and look for stuff about your clothes to criticize. But perhaps in a truly whiteshoe firm, one is actually left alone to do work.

Re the alpha male thing: Thinking about male law school classmates who graduated with a BIGLAW job and stayed there (very heavy attrition in the first 3 years), there's a bias to the good-looking athletic non-Coif ones (top-third) rather than the ones with super-high grades. I can think of a few big brains, mostly older guys, who are apparently still at their big firms.

A lot of people have said this, and I've yet to figure out why I see the world so differently than most other people.

Everyone I knew who grew up around a different race is like that. No matter what the race.

By "like that," though, I'm not including the fear/abhorrence of real women. That's something you need to work on. Probably once you get a regular job and get your teeth fixed you won't be so insecure.

The Engineer, a quick Internet search shows we were both wrong, it's "Let's go back to my room." And "You can make me feel right." Which sounds sort of selfish to me ...

Everyone I knew who grew up around a different race is like that. No matter what the race.

You do get a skewed perspective when you're a first generation American, black, and attend mostly white schools.

By "like that," though, I'm not including the fear/abhorrence of real women.

Abhorrence is such a strong word especially since I love women and I had plenty of female friends and I enjoyed their friendship much more than I did with any of my male friends. I may be to scared and nervous to ask a girl out, and I may allude to the lack of sexuality in "real women", but I don't hate women.

David:

Reasons don't matter. You can change the wqay you think now without worrying about all that junk.

Is HS going to bother to tell the readers that the value of MBA is not the classroom instruction itself but the actual connections people make after class? This is the real reason why Harvard MBA trumps State U MBA.

Without such disclaimer, some might think that if they only got a Ivy league MBA money will start rolling in automatically.

"Without such disclaimer, some might think that if they only got a Ivy league MBA money will start rolling in automatically."

You're right. The value are the connections and that is what makes the difference from one school to another. Not so much the teaching.

So does anyone have any thoughts on how to meet a heiress in the first place(if your goal is to one day marry one)?


Actually, I've theorized that white girls would turn me down for a date because I'm black and I haven't completed college yet, and I have none of the "social advantages" that a overly masculine ghetto black males has because of my geeky oreo tendencies and traits.


I think that you way over think this. All you have to do is find someone who wants to piss off their parents, which is almost all 20-25 yo's. I dont believe that these girls care about your college degree.

That might not make for a long term relationship, but was that what you were looking for?

I tried to comment this post on Software/IT Project Management forum "BossTalks" - in this http://www.bosstalks.com/topic/35 thread. In two words - even if I agree to some your points, a couple of them are totally one-sided.

Who ever said you need to be a billionaire (or even a millionaire) to be happy? Happiness has very little to do with how much money you have and much more to do with your attitude toward life. If you could love your job and be truly (or even mostly) happy would you do it...making less than 100K/yr? OK in a big city you may need a little more than that, but you certainly don't need to make millions to survive. Loving your job and being happy with your life are choices you make--they are not determined by your salary. You'd be surprised how good life can be, even in middle-class America, if you learn to be content with what you have instead of always wishing you had more. I've got a book on my shelf (next on my reading list) about abject poverty called "City of Joy" by Dominique Lapierre--it's been recommended to me and I recommend it to you. It's about how the poorest of people can be the happiest of people. Seriously think about how much money you need to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head--then think about how happy you'd be if you had everything you wanted. Discipline yourself to only want what you really need and forget the rest (all the stuff you want but don't really need). Keep a few things you want if it makes you happy, but don't let the things you want get in the way of your happiness. This may seem extreme, but who cares if you don't have lots of money if you're happy that way? I am.

"Why are there fewer billionaire lawyers than computer programmers? Because law is a more egalitarian profession."

Two points:

1) According to a blog entry from a well-known Manhattan blogger, MS created 10,000+ millionaires and God-knows how many deca-millionaires.

http://www.halfsigma.com/2005/05/microsoft_milli.html

2) Law firms have all varieties of partnership ownership and their are indeed billionaire lawyers who own at least 1/3 of their firm.

The main difference is that the billionaires who gained their money in the legal field did so through legal looting backed by a the force of corrupt states whereas Gates, et. al. made their money by creating wealth voluntarily exchanged.

-Mercy

No doubt people who worked at Microsoft in the early years really lucked out. It included non-tech people too, basically everyone who worked there because they all got stock options.

Will that happen again? Not at Microsoft.

If you are smart enough to figure out which company will be the next Microsoft, you don't even have to work there to become a millionaire. Just buy their stock on the public stock exchange.

"Legal looting" sounds like someone has been reading too much Ayn Rand. Microsoft wouldn't make any money if the government didn't enforce its intellecual property by the "threat of guns."

Who's Ayn Rand? ;-) You don't have to be a Thomas Jefferson style libertarian to know that the U.S. tort system is out of control. Even the Europeans know that.

According to Mitt Romney, U.S. Corporations now spend more money defending lawsuits than they do on R&D.

-Mercy

Who's just trying to find white women? Kind of like a "Roots" spin-off. By the way, I am a really hot, mulatta (that mean's both black and white in case you have tunnel vision). Oh yeah, and a Georgetown lawyer. But, you wouldn't like me...because I didn't go to law school for the money. What the hell ever happened to "Do what you love, and the money will follow?"

Actually, the best way to get rich is to choose your parents wisely.

Warren Buffet's father was a high ranking politician.

Bill Gates' mother was personally acquainted with the CEO of IBM.

I'd imagine that many others on the list aren't guys / gals that came from unconnected working class backgrounds. The notable exception is Larry Ellison.

Regards,
-S

I'll admit that I went into computer science because I wanted to become a famous billionaire. I've realized that it's not easy to become a billionaire or to become famous. The barriers to starting a programming business are relatively low. I have ideas, but I'm too lazy and lack the interest to do anything about them. From the looks of the average corporate programmer's lifestyle, I wouldn't want to be one of them. Luckily, I have a non-corporate job that lets me work a flexible 40-hour week in a nice office with little interaction with anyone else. I have lots of savings and a wealthy family, so the moderate pay doesn't bother me that much. If I were a billionaire, most of the money would probably just sit in banks or investments and would not affect my lifestyle. I still want fame, though.

I suppose I could have tried to go into law, medicine, or business, but I would have been even less suited to them than to programming. I don't have the social skills required for law or business, or the debating skills required for law, and I would hate having to show up on time, work long hours, and wear "business" clothes. Medicine also requires many years of education and long hours. I'm kind of hypochondriac, and I would not be able to tolerate being around sick people.

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