Larry Ellison is without a doubt one of the people who has influenced the tech industry the most.
In fact, CNBC just named him No. 10 in its new list of the 25 business people who had the most profound impact on business and finance in the past 25 years.
Ellison, who is co-founder and CEO of Oracle, has influenced the tech industry, business world, and your daily lives in numerous ways, whether you realise it or not, CNBC pointed out in its profile of him.
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.
In just a couple of months, Larry Ellison will turn 70. He is the longest-running founder CEO the tech industry has ever seen. He's 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.
Ellison has never even publicly discussed retirement.
With Ellison as a role model, other CEOs are staying on longer, too, including Cisco's John Chambers and EMC's Joe Tucci.
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?'
Ellison, worth an estimated $US49.5 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 $US78.4 million last year, making him the highest paid executive in the land, according to CNN Money's annual list. It was double the pay of the No. 2 executive on the list (Disney's Bob Iger at $US34.3 million).
Yet, it was an 18 per cent pay cut from what Oracle paid Ellison the year before, which totaled a whopping $US90.7 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.
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:
(image url='http://static.businessinsider.com/image/535fdeab69beddb8496d5793/image.jpg' link='lightbox' size='primary' align='center' clear='true')
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.'
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.