Tech billionaires dominate the 2016 Forbes rich list
Forbes’ annual analysis of America’s most wealthy people is upon us, and it’s striking just how tech-heavy the whole thing is. Four of the top five names in the list made their fortune through the kind of thing that we at Alphr like to follow on a daily basis.
Top of the list, for the 23rd year running, is Bill Gates. With a net worth of $81 billion, he’s pretty much unassailable, even as he tries to give much of his wealth away in the fight against malaria. I say unassailable: Jeff Bezos – the founder of Amazon.com – is gaining some ground, leapfrogging Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet to second place with a net worth of $67 billion. According to Forbes, Bezos gained a whopping $20 billion in the course of 2016 – more than anyone else in the list. Buffet ($65.5 billion) hasn’t been in third place for 15 years.
After Buffet, it’s back to plain technology with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ($55.5 billion) hitting fourth place for the first time at the expense of Oracle’s founder Larry Ellison ($49.3 billion) who hit his lowest ranking since 2007.
After a brief break from tech for ranks six through eight (Michael Bloomberg and the Koch brothers), ninth and tenth slots belong to Google co-founders Larry Page ($38.5 billion) and Sergey Brin ($37.5 billion). Things go a bit quiet for technology after that, but there are still slots in the top 20 for Steve Ballmer ($27.5 billion) and Michael Dell ($20 billion). Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs is 23rd, with $17.7 billion – though much of that is via Disney riches. Oh, and for reference, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is 156th, with $3.7 billion.
It’s always nice to have an excuse not to be listed, and in this case I have two, being neither American nor rich. I’ve got a year to correct both those things before the 2017 list is published.