11 Outrageous Things Billionaire Larry Ellison Has Taught The World

Larry ellisonEzra Shaw/Getty ImagesOracle CEO Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison is without a doubt one of the people who has influenced the tech industry the most.

Today’s news that he is stepping down as CEO comes a shock.

Ellison, who is co-founder and now CTO of Oracle, has influenced the tech industry, business world, and your daily lives in numerous ways, whether you realise it or not.

College degree not required

Young Larry Ellison vs. Ellison today

Larry Ellison certainly isn't the only billionaire college dropout to find success in Silicon Valley but he was one of the first: Before Bill Gates, before his best friend Steve Jobs, before Michael Dell.

Ellison dropped out of college not just once, but twice, before moving to Northern California at age 22, in 1966.

He stayed in school long enough to learn about computer design and, a few years later, invented a database by reading a paper about it written by an IBM scientist.

Today that database is run by all of the world's biggest companies. Just about every time you use a credit card, book an airline ticket, or get a prescription drug, Oracle has helped you do it.

Never retire

Like Ellison, EMC CEO Joe Tucci postponed retirement

In just a couple of months, Larry Ellison will turn 70. He was the longest-running founder CEO the tech industry has ever seen. He held the CEO role at Oracle since 1977.

Back then, a 70-year-old CEO would have been unheard of. Even today, IBM has a tradition where CEOs are asked to retire at age 60.

With Ellison as a role model, other CEOs have decided to staying on longer, too, including Cisco's John Chambers and EMC's Joe Tucci.

Ellison has never even publicly discussed retirement and even though he will no longer be CEO, he still isn't really retiring. He will stay on as both executive chairman of Oracle and as its CTO.

A competitive spirit is the greatest motivator

Ask Ellison why he still comes to work every day -- what drives him after all he's achieved -- and he'll tell you the same answer: he loves to compete.

'I'm addicted to winning. The more you win, the more you want to win,' he says.

More recently he described his motivation like this:

'What drives me is this constant testing of limits. Constant learning. ... How can you move the world just a bit, make a difference, change lives ... and how much can I help (while) discovering my own limits?'

Be greedy

In 2013, Ellison was paid twice as much as Disney's Bob Iger

Ellison, worth an estimated $US51 billion, is the fifth richest man in the world, reports Forbes.

He got there by setting the standard for high executive pay.

Oracle paid Larry Ellison $US76.9 million last year, making him the highest paid executive in the land, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Yet, that wasn't even the biggest haul he ever had. In 2011, Oracle paid Ellison a whopping $US96.2 million.

He was the highest-paid executive of the 2000s, with total compensation of $US1.84 billion, CNBC reports.

There's been some shareholder activism attempts to get Oracle's board to trim his paycheck, but it seems unlikely Ellison will curb his salary anytime soon.

Be generous

Warren Buffett talked Ellison into a public Giving Pledge

Larry Ellison has been called a closet philanthropist.

Unlike other billionaires such as Bill Gates, he doesn't talk much about his philanthropic efforts, though he's focused on medical research and green energy.

When he signed the Giving Pledge organised by Gates and Warren Buffet, Ellison revealed that he planned to give billions of dollars to charity. This is what he wrote:

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If you've got it, spend it

The fabulously wealthy Ellison spends big money as easily as he makes it. He's got mansions, a private golf course, tennis tournaments and yachts. He collects aeroplanes, boats, cars and art.

He even owns two airlines, and a Hawaiian island, or at least most of one. He paid $US300 million for 98 per cent of island of Lanai, Hawaii. He is using Lanai create a model of sustainable farming and living.

Ellison set the bar for lavish spending among tech industry billionaires.

Know how to break the rules

Oracle America's Cup race

Ellison doesn't play by anyone's rules but his own.

The latest biggest example was the 2013 America's Cup.

After winning it in 2010, he was allowed to dictate the kind of boats to be raced in the next championship. He chose an extremely fast, expensive but dangerous design. And a sailor died during a training run when the boat capsized: British sailor and gold medal Olympian Andrew 'Bart' Simpson.

Ellison's team was also penalised for cheating.

None of that mattered in the end. The world held its breath as Ellison's team won in spectacular televised comeback.

Enjoy some smack talk

Oracle ad that appeared in the Wall Street Journal

Before Larry Ellison, corporate CEOs were a mostly stodgy bunch who didn't publicly slam their competitors.

Ellison raised corporate smack talk to a new level, never hesitating to discuss (and diss) competitors during Oracle conferences, on quarterly calls with Wall Street analysts, even in ads.

Oracle was chastised repeatedly by the advertising self-regulation body, the National Advertising Division, for its attack ads against IBM.

Never stop growing

Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy.

Ellison drove Oracle to be the world's biggest provider of database software, then he moved on to dominate the business software industry, conducting one of the nastiest hostile take-overs in tech history to do it, with his purchase of PeopleSoft for $US10.3 billion.

A few years ago, he pushed Oracle again into new areas, the hardware business, by buying Sun Microsystems (a company that didn't figure out how to reinvent itself).

Ellison taught the Valley that no matter how big you get, you only survive through reinventing yourself.

Geeks can be bad boys, or superheros

If all of that were not enough, Larry Ellison is also the original 'bad boy' geek, a daring adventurer who dates models, races fast vehicles on land, air and water, and has wound up in surgery for injuries from sports ranging from body surfing to mountain biking.

Ellison was said to be the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, the bad boy billionaire in the 'Iron Man' movies, CNBC reports.

Compare Ellison's goatee to Stark's to see the resemblance.

Ellison even had a walk-on role in 'Iron Man 2.'

More stories about Ellison's leadership

Here's the full Ellison profile put together by CNBC.

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