Accidental Billionaires: How Seven Academics Who Didn’t Want To Make A Cent Are Now Worth Billions


“We were a bunch of University of California Berkeley hippies, and we just wanted to change the world,” Ghodsi says. “We would tell them, ‘Just take the software for free,’ and they would say ‘No, we have to give you $1 million.’ ”

Databricks, a big data spin-out of University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), has achieved a significant breakthrough in big data sorting.

Horowitz was initially skeptical of entrusting Databricks to a career academic with no experience running a business. But by the VC’s own admission, Ghodsi has become the best CEO in Andreessen Horowitz’s portfolio, which spans hundreds of companies.

Yearly “sky is falling” exercises generate detailed action plans in case the market dries up or the economy slows down. When Covid struck, these contingency plans helped Databricks manage extreme turbulence as years of digital transformation were compressed into just months.


Snowflake (software-record $33 billion IPO in September 2020) relocates executive office from California to Bozeman, Montana, as company goes distributed

Snowflake, the cloud data analytics vendor that held the biggest U.S. software IPO ever last year, has become the latest tech company to jettison California.


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