Ross Perot, one of the world’s first tech entrepreneurs, who launched his first company in 1962 with USD 1 K and became the first to make USD 1 Bn through tech entrepreneurship, has died at 89.
One of the first persons to ever crack the billion-dollar mark in tech entrepreneurship breathed his last yesterday. Ross Perot is his name and he is arguably one of the world’s very first tech entrepreneurs. Perot died aged 89; it was the culmination of a five-month battle with leukaemia.
In a career that spanned decades, the American billionaire businessman got the hang of raking in significant fortunes from tech entrepreneurship when most people still thought of it as some kind of quirky pastime that didn’t mean much.
Perot was an early tech entrepreneur. Right after college, he put in several years at IBM where he worked in sales. It was the year 1992 when he quit his role at the company and put all his savings — all of USD 1 K — into founding his first company; something he called Electronic Data Systems. That was the company with which he made his first billion.
Two decades after founding his first tech company, Perot launched information technology services provider, Perot Systems, which was to be later acquired by Dell in 2009 for USD 3.9 Bn.
But beyond tech entrepreneurship and leaving a mark in the world of business, Perot did build quite the reputation in politics too, running for President on two occasions as a third-party candidate (1992 and 1996) and giving the favourites a run for their money by fielding unusually strong third-party presidential campaigns. Some say he disrupted politics just as much as he did tech.
Running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and protectionism, Perot won nearly 19 percent of the vote in the 1992 race — by far the biggest slice of the electorate for a third-party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party in the 1912 election.
On the political front, Perot was always something of an outside bet because he stood out from the crowd for his quirks, with his business credentials and lack of experience in establishment politics weighing in just as much.
“I don’t have any experience in running up a USD 4 Tn debt. I don’t have any experience in gridlock government, where nobody takes responsibility for anything and everybody blames everybody else,” he famously said in the 1992 presidential debate.
He did cross the line at various points, his, at times, nonconformist political opinions did divide people across socio-economic lines, but his reputation as an astute businessman has never been in doubt, being one of the pioneers of tech entrepreneurship as it has come to be known.
He has been described as a true American patriot and a man of rare vision, principle, and deep compassion, he touched the lives of countless people through his unwavering support of the military and veterans and through his philanthropy.
Since his demise, there’s been an outpouring of condolences from prominent Americans. He is survived by his wife, Margot, five children, and 16 grandchildren. He would be remembered for his amazing exploits in politics and in business. As of 2018, his net worth stood at USD 4.1 Bn.