Jerry Yang, 29
In book publishing, indexing is almost an afterthought. In electronic publishing, indexers are kings of the jungle. What started in 1993 on a Stanford grad student’s home page as "Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web"--a categorized list of sites, managed by a search engine--became "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle." Today, millions know it as Yahoo!, and it has become the second-most-visited site on the Web. Thanks to Jerry Yang’s irreverent tone, and to top-notch programming by a fellow Stanford grad student, David Filo, Yahoo! had a huge part in making the Web accessible to people who didn’t consider themselves computer-wise. After dropping out of grad school to take Yahoo! public, Yang has seen his worth in stock and options top $1 billion.
Born Chih-Yuan Yang in Taiwan, he was 10 when his family immigrated to Silicon Valley. Speaking recently on "The Motley Fool Radio Hour" about his astounding success, Yang said, "It’s a dream come true, and in many ways it’s what America is all about: Nowhere else in the world could people like me do something like this." Having described himself as "lazy" in grad school, now he is known at Yahoo! as Grumpy (his official title: ChiefYahoo) due to his fixation on staying ahead of the competition.
Is Happy in his future?