When you get caught up in the billion-dollar success stories of tech entrepreneurs, it’s easy to overlook some of the adversities they had to overcome.
But some of the most successful tech leaders have faced a reading disorder called dyslexia. It’s a form of learning disability that hampers your ability to read or write.
About 10% to 15% of the US population are dyslexic, but only a small portion of them recognise it and receive treatment.
These 8 tech entrepreneurs and CEOs didn’t let their reading disabilities to slow them down.
Title: Founder and ex-CEO of Apple
Net worth: $US10.2 billion (as of 2011)
Jobs grew up with dyslexia, but that didn't stop him from building one of the most innovative tech companies ever. Jobs didn't show any signs of a reading disorder in his career. And it didn't hamper his public speakng either. He's still considered one of the all-time greats.
Title: Founder of Virgin Group
Net worth: $US4.8 billion
Branson was also dyslexic, which made him fail school exams and get terrible IQ scores. But he was still able to launch Virgin Group in 1970 and turn it into a massive conglomerate making over $US24 billion in annual sales.
Title: CEO of Cisco
Net worth: $US1 billion
Chambers says having dyslexia affected his self-esteem, and even to this day, his hands sweat when he talks about it. But he says it's also helped think faster, as he told Business Insider, 'I can go A, B … Z with speed.'
Title: Cofounder of Hewlett-Packard (HP)
Net worth: $US9 billion (as of 2001)
Hewlett's early academic record was unimpressive as he struggled with dyslexia. But it also led him to develop remarkable memorization skills. After graduating from Stanford, he launched HP with his friend David Packard, and the rest is history.
Title: Founder of O'Leary Financial Group; Founder of SoftKey, an educational software
Net worth: $US600 million
O'Leary says when he was a child, he could read a book upside down or in front of a mirror - but not if it was put in front of him. Yet, he was still able to overcome dyslexia and build an educational software company that was later sold for over $US3.7 billion. Now he's one of the biggest TV personalities with his role on 'Shark Tank.'
Title: Founder of McCaw Cullular and Clearwire Corporation
Net worth: $US1.85 billion
McCaw is one of the early pioneers in the mobile phone industry, having sold his company, McCaw Cellular for $US12.6 billion to AT&T. His next company, Clearwire Corporation, also merged with Sprint Nextel in 2008. McCaw credits part of his success to dyslexia, as he says, 'People are either defeated by (dyslexia), or they become much more tenacious.'
Title: Founder of Turner Broadcasting System (including CNN and TNT)
Net worth: $US2.2 billion
Turner isn't shy of sharing his experience growing up with dyslexia. He says it's why he always surrounds himself with people specialised in different areas, which makes it easy for him to tackle any problem. He's one of the most successful media moguls, having founded CNN and TBS.
Title: Chairman and CEO of Meckler Media and Mediabistro.com
Net worth: $US400 million
Meckler is one of the leaders in the tech publishing business, having launched magazines like Internet World, CDrom World, and Virtual Reality World. He was also the chairman and CEO of Mediabistro, a website dedicated to media professionals.
But before his business success, Meckler had to overcome dyslexia, which caused him walking and driving issues. He says he still prefers to listen to someone explain a problem to him, rather than reading about it.
Ingvar Kamprad: Ikea's founder is now worth $US3.5 billion.
Tommy Hilfiger: The fashion designer says he 'performed poorly in school and was perceived as stupid' when he was a kid.
Paul Orfalea: The founder of Kinko's says dyslexia helped him see things from a broader perspective. He even wrote a book about dyslexia.
Charles Schwab: The founder of the brokerage firm Charles Schwab is now worth $US5.1 billion. He has a foundation that's dedicated to parents of children diagnosed with dyslexia.