Home Finance Ray Dalio, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey started their careers as teenagers.

Ray Dalio, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey started their careers as teenagers.

by YAR

Most kids between the ages of 8 and 13 spend their days riding bikes, playing video games, and avoiding homework. Ray Dalio, Bill Gates and Jack Dorsey were not the majority of the children.

The trio of billionaires found their professional calling before their 15th birthday. And while their early exposure to finance, technology and business was somewhat fortuitous, Dalio says he doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that they’ve all achieved massive financial success over the years. as.

In a recent episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast hosted by actor Dax Shepard, Dalio suggested that his career path, and those of Gates and Dorsey, were set when he learned to navigate the stock market at age 12. He gave her naive confidence, he said, 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 some scientific evidence to back up Dalio’s musings. A 2018 study by MIT scientists found that “a large body of evidence suggests” that children, especially those under the age of 10, have an easier time becoming fluent in a language and mastering grammatical rules. “The underlying causes remain unknown,” the study noted.

An October study by psychologists at UC Berkeley showed similar results and suggested that children appear to be more curious than adults because they are less concerned about making 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 build lucrative careers:

Ray Dalio was introduced to the stock market at age 12.

In the 1960s, 12-year-old Dalio caddyed for Wall Street executives at a golf course on 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 himself 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’ve ever heard of selling for less than $5 a share.” He fortuitously tripled that investment and, according to the nonprofit Academy of Achievement, he built a stock portfolio worth thousands of dollars by the time he graduated high school.

“It was so dumb and lucky,” Dalio said on the podcast.

Dalio built on that early success at Bridgewater Associates, the hedge fund he launched in 1975. Over roughly four decades, he built it into the world’s largest hedge fund before stepping down as chief executive in 2017.

Bill Gates started writing computer programs at the age of 13.

When Gates was in the eighth grade, he learned to write software programs. He and his classmate-turned-business partner, Paul Allen, designed an automated class scheduling system for their high school.

In 1993, Gates told the Smithsonian Institution that the experience of learning and failing at writing computer code at such a young age gave him the opportunity to try something he was “good at or interested in,” but that I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it in a classroom.

“Self-exploration [at that age] it’s great because you develop a sense of self-confidence and an identity of, ‘Hey, I know that very well. I know this better than the professors… Maybe I’m pretty good at it,” Gates said. “If their program is wrong… then they fix it and try again. It’s a feedback loop.”

Together, Gates and Allen launched Microsoft in 1975. Gates was 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 dispatch routing.

When Dorsey was a child, his father, an engineer, would sometimes bring circuit boards home from work. That led young Dorsey to be “very interested in taking things apart,” he said on Harvard Business School’s “The Business” podcast in 2014.

That interest turned to programming after his father brought home a computer, Dorsey told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in 2013. And as a teenager, he said, his interest extended to dispatch routing programs that assign routes to vehicles such as taxis, couriers, and emergency medical services: He would spend time listening to the verbal codes that the emergency services used on police scanners.

Brief exchanges conveying vehicle locations and driver activity eventually inspired Twitter, Dorsey said. He co-founded Twitter in 2006 and ran the company until 2008, then again from 2015 to 2021.

Dorsey also co-founded Block, formerly known as Square, in 2009 and remains CEO of that company today. And throughout that career, he has contributed millions of dollars to educational coding programs, emphasizing the importance of developing skills at an early age.

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