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Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Dot.commers richer than movie stars
Michael Dell, 36, Dell
Michael, America's richest thirty-something says hello

Fortune Magazine's list of "America's Forty Richest under 40" reveals that many of them made their money during the boom. BBC News Online's Jorn Madslien would like to shake their hands.

"Hi, I'm Michael".

"Hello, I'm Pierre - meet my colleague and friend Jeff".

Pierre Omidyar, 34, eBay
Pierre: No suit, no tie, but a big, fat wallet
"Hey there, I'm Ted".

"I'm Jeff, nice to meet you".

If this is what you hear, and the guy with an outstretched hand is in his mid-30s, then you'd better just give it a shake and a broad smile.

Just in case he is one of the few but wealthy survivors who has not lost his casual shirt.

Billion dollar club

With an average age of 36-and-a-bit, Michael Dell of Dell Computer, Pierre Omidyar and Jeff Skoll of eBay, Ted Waitt of Gateway and Jeff Bezos of Amazon have all built up fortunes in excess of $1bn (700m) each.

America's forty richest under 40
Michael Dell, 36, Dell Computer: $16.3bn
Pierre Omidyar, 34, eBay: $4,4bn
Jeff Skoll, 36, eBay: $2,6bn
Ted Waitt, 38, Gateway: $1,9bn
Jeff Bezos, 37, Amazon: $1,2bn

Source: Fortune

Michael - Mr Dell, that is - is the richest under 40 by far, with a personal wealth of more than $16bn.

But the others - Pierre, Jeff, Ted and Jeff - aren't exactly poor either; each of them dwarf showbiz stars like Tom Cruise or sports heroes such as Tiger Woods.

Tom and Tiger are ranked 19th and 40th respectively with their fortunes of $251m and $160m - not quite in the same league as the richest surviving dot.commers.

Ted Waitt, 38, Gateway
Ted: Wealth of charm

Even the Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is ranked below Vinny Smith of Quest Software, David Filo and Jerry Yang of Yahoo, and Rob Glaser of Real Networks.

But these guys' wealth - for the list of forty is almost exclusively made up of men - should not be seen as a recommendation to try to make it in the world.

After all, it would cost Michael Dell $12.4bn to hire every dot.commer laid off since January 2000 at a salary of $100,000.

So these days, making it in Hollywood or in sports may well be easier options.

See also:

05 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Cruise makes Fortune rich list
17 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
Evans slips down rich list
20 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Sir Paul tops rich list
16 Jun 00 | South Asia
India's richest ride on IT wave
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