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You Only Have to Be Right Once

The Unprecedented Rise of the Instant Tech Billionaires

By Randall Lane
15-minute read
Audio available
You Only Have to Be Right Once: The Unprecedented Rise of the Instant Tech Billionaires by Randall Lane

Based on Forbes magazine interviews with some of Silicon Valley’s most successful tech entrepreneurs, You Only Have to be Right Once outlines how today’s tech wunderkinds achieved their successes.

  • Anyone interested in how the world’s most successful entrepreneurs made their money
  • Budding techies and business people
  • The next Mark Zuckerberg

Randall Lane is the editor of Forbes and the former editor-at-large of Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

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You Only Have to Be Right Once

The Unprecedented Rise of the Instant Tech Billionaires

By Randall Lane
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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You Only Have to Be Right Once: The Unprecedented Rise of the Instant Tech Billionaires by Randall Lane
Synopsis

Based on Forbes magazine interviews with some of Silicon Valley’s most successful tech entrepreneurs, You Only Have to be Right Once outlines how today’s tech wunderkinds achieved their successes.

Key idea 1 of 9

Many tech-billionaires achieved their success by boldly pursuing a dream.

If you want to be successful in life, what’s the best path to take? Here’s the conventional answer to that question: work hard at school and then find a mentor to help you along your career — which you should pursue at a slow and steady pace.

Although this approach probably sounds familiar, most of today’s mega-successful young entrepreneurs — the tech-billionaires — followed a different path. For them, success was all about boldly pursuing a dream and ignoring what society expected of them.

Let’s look at one example: when he was just 23-years-old, Evan Spiegel, the co-founder of Snapchat, turned down Facebook’s offer to buy his company for $3 billion. Although it’s too early to tell whether his decision was wise, we can still learn from Spiegel’s stratospheric path to success.

Like many other successful entrepreneurs, Spiegel learned how to get his own way at a young age. When his high-powered lawyer parents split up, Spiegel used it to his advantage: his dad refused to buy him a BMW, so Spiegel moved in with his mother. It wasn’t long before his dad caved and bought him the car.

There’s another similarity between Spiegel and his entrepreneurial peers: that he dropped out of college to pursue his startup. He and Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy came up with the idea for their app while they were still in college, but struggled to get the concept to take off. Although their parents pestered them to look for “proper jobs,” the duo stayed true to their dream.

And finally, they received an investment from a venture capitalist. Spiegel promptly quit college (weeks ahead of graduation) and started on Snapchat day and night.

And of course, you know how this story ends: Spiegel’s efforts paid off and Snapchat became one of the world’s most popular apps — so popular that Facebook offered to buy it for $3 billion.

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