12 Steps to Turn Kids into Tech Billionaires

How do you set your kids up to be the next Mark Zuckerbergs or Larry Pages?

Serial entrepreneur Charles Tips has the most popular Quora answer on this topic with more than 5,200 upvotes from people like the co-founders of Zynga-owned Farmville and Google-owned Wavii.

Tips has a couple kids and says he has numerous friends who are self-made billionaires. Here are a serial entrepreneur’s 12 steps to turn your kids into future billionaires:

“Make them aware of the full range of life options”

“The world abounds with opportunity to lead whatever life you want, but you have to demystify, demystify, demystify for them to be able to see what makes go businesses go,” says Tips.

“Do NOT send them to public school NOR to the prep schools that are just our public schools on steroids.”

This isn’t the recipe for every billionaire. Mark Zuckerberg attended a prepschool for high school. Other billionaires never graduated 12th grade.

But in Tips’ opinion, someone as atypical as a billionaire is going to need an atypical education. He says his kids began working an assortment of jobs when they were pre-teens and traveled a lot doing things like filming documentaries and driving boats.

“If you want conventional minds, get them a conventional education,” Tips says.

“Teach a love of work”

In other words, don’t let them be lazy. Because, as Tips says, “getting rich takes work” for which you need “stamina.”

“Teach a love of people”

By “loving people,” an entrepreneur is able to know what products other people will want and need, especially people who are different.

“My household was famous for all the people who came trooping through. People I met stranded at the airport. Japanese Homestay girls. Aux pairs. Local homeless guys dropping by for a shower and a meal,” Tips writes. “Make sure [kids] understand that they are not above or below anyone else.”

“Teach generosity”

By generosity, Tips doesn’t mean money. Being present is more valuable for others.

“The only real wealth is the time you have, and whenever you have a chance to use your time well for others, do it and do it fully,” he writes. “Giving money without time can be a way of creating distance.”

“Teach the mental nexus”

The only way to know how tough entrepreneurship is is to live it. If you haven’t, find your kids a mentor who has.

“One must taste failure time and again and be inspired by it. One must be armed with a variety of rationalizations for continuing on despite doubt, buffeting, adverse opinion,” Tips writes. “entrepreneurs must be superhuman to deal with the tragedies they themselves can be the authors of. Trick is, you can’t teach that mental nexus if you have not lived it yourself. If you haven’t, then apprentice them to someone who has.”

“Lie, cheat and steal”

If you teach your kids to only associate with good people, they won’t learn how to deal with the jerks. And your kids will need to know how to interact with and defeat all types of people to win in business.

“The world is full of assholes and swindlers and your kids will need a radar for it, and they need to suffer the consequences so that they develop an arsenal of techniques for dealing with it,” Tips writes. “They need to be superb judges of character. You can’t teach good behavior by isolating them from bad behavior.”

“Make them teen outcasts”

If your kid doesn’t do well in school or have a lot of friends, that may actually benefit his or her entrepreneurial career, Tips says.

“I’ve talked with VCs who confessed to being a little disappointed if they don’t see an F or two on a possible CEO’s college transcript,” Tips claims.

“Teach numeracy”

Your kid needs to be great at math, and preferably able to calculate things on the fly in his or her head, says Tips. Otherwise they will “have a difficult time putting deals together.”

“No allowances. No ‘Joe’ jobs.”

Some kids that get allowances become successful, like Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. But Tips doesn’t recommend spoiling your kids if you want them to become billionaires.

Tips also doesn’t recommend allowing them to get “traditional” jobs because “trading time for money is a loser’s game.” Instead, he suggests nudging them to get a job in sales, because that’s a valuable skill to master.

“Get a grubstake”

A “grubstake” is an investment. If you don’t risk your money and invest it, you won’t make a lot of money in return.

“No grubstake. No billionaires,” Tips writes. “You can’t be a capitalist without capital and the willingness to put it all at risk.”


Tips says worth is the most important thing you can teach your kids to set them up for success.

“No backing comes to those who lack abundant evident character,” Tips writes. He tells his kids, “The sooner you learn to get in touch with your own feelings of what is right and what is wrong, the better.”


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