The youngest self-made billionaire in the world, Austin Russell, insists that building a successful business requires two things in the person who builds it, which are not rare among humans.
Russell, 28, has a net worth of $1.6 billion, thanks to his startup Luminar Technologies, which currently has a market capitalization of $2.4 billion. The company, which Russell founded 11 years ago as a teenager, develops hardware and software aimed at powering self-driving cars.
But very few teenagers – or people in their 20s or 30s – can launch and sustain this type of business. A Thiel Fellowship — a fellowship pioneered by billionaire Peter Thiel through his foundation — gave Russell $100,000 to drop out of Stanford and grow his company full time.
But rather than focusing on technological expertise or business acumen, Russell credits his journey so far to two common qualities among the younger generations: “energy and passion,” according to what was reported by “CNBC”, and viewed by “Al Arabiya.net”.
“People in their 20s have a lot of energy,” Russell said. “I’m certainly no exception to that. But maybe it defines me as trying to hit my limit, and that’s very helpful.”
A 2020 SAP survey of 10,000 people found that millennials are more passionate than baby boomers and generation X. Currently, the only group ahead of them is Generation Z – which will likely be surpassed with the advent of the next generation.
“I was 16 or 17 years old when I set out to implement my vision of creating a new type of laser system that would allow cars to be able to drive themselves,” Russell said. “I was confident that I would outpace Google in this world, and all the major automakers.”
Today, Luminar has hundreds of employees. The company’s technology may be available in your car if it is manufactured by “Mercedes-Benz” or “Volvo”. But Russell also admits that building such a company takes more than just passion and energy.
“I think I’ve memorized the periodic table — at about the age of two,” he told CNBC in 2018. “I was obsessed with learning certain things… kinds of scientific fields.”
Russell believes that many people in their 20s and 30s have a more open mind. “Then, it’s like, over time, people just shut down, or ingrain in certain ways of doing things. A lot of times, you just have to approach problems from a new perspective.”