August 17, 1944 marks the birth of now famed Oracle founder and CEO, Lawrence Ellison. Ellison was born to 19 year old Florence Spellman, but was later adopted by his great Aunt and Uncle, Lillian and Louis Ellison. His adopted parents took him to Chicago and raised him as their own.
Lawrence attended high school in Chicago and eventually attended school at the University of Illinois. He did well in school and received the honor of “Science Student of the Year.” Tragedy struck during Ellison’s second year of college. His adopted mother Lillian fell ill and eventually died. Ellison dropped out of school to return home and to spend time with his uncle, but Ellison still thought of school and gave college a second chance at the University of Chicago. This was not meant to last either and within his first year of attendance, Ellison dropped out.
With a little money and a general idea of computer programming, Ellison headed west and stopped in Berkeley, California. While there, Ellison worked a number of different jobs, not staying at any one for long. He eventually landed his first serious job with Amex, an assignment to design and build a database for the CIA, code name Oracle.
In 1977, Ellison left Apex to start his own company. He took his supervisor, Robert Minor, with him and together they founded Software Development Labs. While consulting for large corporations, Ellison read the book “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks.” IBM passed up the idea, but Ellison saw value and developed what is now know as “SQL,” a database program compatible with mainframe and desktop computers. In 1980 IBM adopted SQL and Ellison’s company, now know as Oracle, rapidly grew raising $31.5 million in its first public offering.
Oracle is now the leading provider of information management systems, second only to Microsoft in software development, a problem Ellison is trying to remedy by buying other computer software companies. In The last three years Ellison has purchased 21 software companies for $19 billion dollars. He also plans on releasing a new software suite Fusia, in 2008.
Ellison has not limited himself to databases. He heavily invests in, and serves as chairman of Quark Biotech Inc, a research and manufacturing company focused on gene based drugs for cancer patients. He also sits on the board of Apple and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Ellison constantly challenges established presuppositions about business, technology, and life which has allowed him and Oracle to stay new and fresh and on the forefront of software development.
Additional Information on Larry Ellison:
The SF Gate published an article about the lifestyle of Larry Ellison.
The Forbes profile of Larry Ellison.
AskMen.com also has a detailed profile of Larry Ellison.
YouTube has a video of Larry Ellison giving a speech at the Oracle Openworld2007.