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Viral Thread Busts The Myth About Famous Billionaires Starting Out “Poor”
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People1 year ago

Viral Thread Busts The Myth About Famous Billionaires Starting Out “Poor” Interview With Author

We all love stories about scrappy underdogs who overcome the odds and make it big through relentless hard work, unwavering grit, and sheer force of will. However, the stories about how some of the richest and most powerful people made their millions (and billions) are too romanticized and gloss over some very important details.

That’s the point that Aidan Smith made in a viral Twitter thread where he explained how Jeff Bezos and others had a huge leg-up when it came to helping lay the foundations of their business empires. Namely—having families with lots of money.

Aidan told Bored Panda that the US isn’t the only country where a lot of people believe myths about businessmen while the truth is a Google search away. “It’s far from a U.S.-exclusive phenomenon, but in America, it’s easier for most people to imagine becoming a billionaire themselves than it is to imagine an economic order in which a handful of people own half the world’s wealth. Social mobility from working-class to middle-class is increasingly out of reach and the illusion that one can conceivably amass a net worth of over a billion dollars is a comforting fantasy for many people.” Scroll down for the rest of the interview.

Jon Erlichman posted how Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in his garage, suggesting that he was a self-made billionaire

Image credits: JonErlichman

Image credits: JonErlichman

However, Aidan Smith pointed out that Bezos’ parents invested more than 245k dollars into Amazon to help him out

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Aidan then went on to explain how other famous billionaires had a lot of help because they had wealthy and powerful family members. Here’s what he said about Bill Gates

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

This is what Aidan said about Warren Buffett

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Mark Zuckerberg might not be who he is today without the expensive tuition he received

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Aidan then talked about the Waltons and the Kochs

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

Not to mention how Kylie Jenner is far from the self-made billionaire some claim her to be

Image credits: AidanSmith2020

The moral of the story is that people shouldn’t beat themselves up for being poor because a lot of very successful people had financial help and support

Aidan told us that he has a decent-sized following and is used to his posts going moderately viral. “But I’m pleasantly surprised by how much of an impact this tweet in particular had.”

According to him, believing that certain famous billionaires are self-made when they might not be is harmful for a variety of reasons. “For one, even in the rare cases in which people from working-class backgrounds amass exorbitant wealth, it’s still not ‘self-made’ given that amassing wealth on that scale will always have come from ruthless exploitation of others.”

While Bezos may have started Amazon in his parents’ garage when he was 30, people tend to focus on this part, not the fact that his parents invested 245,573 dollars in Amazon in 1995, nor that Bezos worked in Wall Street before committing to Amazon.

Bloomberg found that if Bezos’ parents kept all of their holdings in the company, their shares would have been worth around 30 billion dollars in 2018.

As of now, it’s unclear how much of the stock Jackie and Mike Bezos still own. They could secretly be among the world’s wealthiest 30 people (possibly even ahead of Elon Musk at the time).

Bezos and others might be successful, talented, dedicated, and not afraid to take risks (nobody is trying to diminish their accomplishments or effort) but they’re not entirely self-made.

Aidan’s thread definitely got the internet’s attention: it got more than 489k likes, nearly 150k retweets, and started a discussion.

Some people were surprised to learn some of the things that Aidan shared on Twitter. Others fully agreed with his message. Meanwhile, some Twitter users questioned why people are getting upset at people becoming successful, even if they did use their parents’ money. To which some internet users responded that fake underdog stories lead to poor people being told it’s their own fault for not becoming rich.

People had different opinions after reading Aidan’s posts. Some thought that success is success no matter what while others agreed with Aidan’s ideas

Image credits: Landoooo15

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Hey pandas, what do you think?
Aria Whitaker
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

The point seems to have gone over some of the head of those responding. He is not saying that it is not smart to flip a quarter million into a billion, what he is saying is that people who really are "self made", who really came from "nothing"....do not have parents that can afford to give them hundreds of thousands of dollars!! They do not have parents that own homes with large garages to practice tinkering on computers or to house a start up...they do not have the huge leg-up that having access to those things gives you in life. Bezos, Zuckerburg, Warren, Gates....all were upper-middle class at the least...which, in America is worlds away from being lower class....like on an entirely different planet. Pretending they were dirt poor with no help, imo, takes away from the success that they have achieved, albeit with lots of help.

Karen Johnston
Community Member
1 year ago

Exactly. And thank you. The people responding that these people may have had help but turned it into billions are missing the point of the story. They weren't born poor, like they like to make it out. And anyone that thinks that having help from wealthy parents isn't what got them there are being obtuse.

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 year ago

The comments fascinate me. "Of course parents lend their kids money to help them out." Uh... your parents have money to lend? OK, you're right there better off than most!

KT
Community Member
1 year ago

Some parents won't lend any help even if they can. We were extremely lucky that my husbands dad gave us $50,000 to help us buy a home last year. Without that help we wouldn't have a home of our own today

Load More Replies...
K Witmer
Community Member
1 year ago

No one seems to see the point of this. This is about privilege. People assume if you're poor you don't work hard and if you're rich you must've worked hard and deserved it bc you're so much better than others. Getting help from your parents w large sums of money is not self made. It's not righteous and they're not better than a poor person working a hard job making minimum wage.

K.Kobayashi
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

The problem is, middle-class Americans think they earned everything themselves, and don't even recognize the help they got from their family as "help." Paying for your daycare & various lessons, paying you to do chores, buying you your own car (or "selling" their car to you for cheap), helping pay for tuition, letting you stay in their house or giving you a no-interest loan when you are short on money, etc. These are all luxuries poor people don't have, but rich people don't think of as luxuries.

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Aria Whitaker
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

The point seems to have gone over some of the head of those responding. He is not saying that it is not smart to flip a quarter million into a billion, what he is saying is that people who really are "self made", who really came from "nothing"....do not have parents that can afford to give them hundreds of thousands of dollars!! They do not have parents that own homes with large garages to practice tinkering on computers or to house a start up...they do not have the huge leg-up that having access to those things gives you in life. Bezos, Zuckerburg, Warren, Gates....all were upper-middle class at the least...which, in America is worlds away from being lower class....like on an entirely different planet. Pretending they were dirt poor with no help, imo, takes away from the success that they have achieved, albeit with lots of help.

Karen Johnston
Community Member
1 year ago

Exactly. And thank you. The people responding that these people may have had help but turned it into billions are missing the point of the story. They weren't born poor, like they like to make it out. And anyone that thinks that having help from wealthy parents isn't what got them there are being obtuse.

Load More Replies...
Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 year ago

The comments fascinate me. "Of course parents lend their kids money to help them out." Uh... your parents have money to lend? OK, you're right there better off than most!

KT
Community Member
1 year ago

Some parents won't lend any help even if they can. We were extremely lucky that my husbands dad gave us $50,000 to help us buy a home last year. Without that help we wouldn't have a home of our own today

Load More Replies...
K Witmer
Community Member
1 year ago

No one seems to see the point of this. This is about privilege. People assume if you're poor you don't work hard and if you're rich you must've worked hard and deserved it bc you're so much better than others. Getting help from your parents w large sums of money is not self made. It's not righteous and they're not better than a poor person working a hard job making minimum wage.

K.Kobayashi
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

The problem is, middle-class Americans think they earned everything themselves, and don't even recognize the help they got from their family as "help." Paying for your daycare & various lessons, paying you to do chores, buying you your own car (or "selling" their car to you for cheap), helping pay for tuition, letting you stay in their house or giving you a no-interest loan when you are short on money, etc. These are all luxuries poor people don't have, but rich people don't think of as luxuries.

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