Alexandr Wang is a 25-year old billionaire with a net worth of $1 billion. Wang dropped out of MIT at 19 to cofound Scale AI. The six-year-old data firm is now helping bodies like the Air Force, Army, General Motors, and Flexport maximise their raw data.
Scale’s technology analyses satellite data considerably faster than human analysts to evaluate the extent of damage caused by Russian bombs in Ukraine. It is not just helpful for the military. Scale, which Wang founded when he was 19, is used by over 300 organisations, including General Motors and Flexport, to help them mine gold from floods of raw data such as millions of shipping paperwork or raw footage from self-driving vehicles. “Every industry is sitting on huge amounts of data,” said Wang, an Alumnus of the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2018. “Our goal is to help them unlock the potential of the data and supercharge their businesses with AI.”
Here are some crucial business lessons to learn from this tech whiz.
Define your own terms in life
Alexandr Wang was a math genius who competed in national math and coding contests as a child. In sixth grade, he entered his first national math competition, hoping to win a free trip to Disney World. By the time he was 17, he was coding full-time at the question-and-answer site Quora, where he met Scale’s cofounder, Lucy Guo.
Wang took a small detour to MIT to study machine learning before launching Scale with Guo the summer after his first year, with a Y Combinator investment. Wang told his parents it was simply going to be a summer thing, and obviously never returned to school.
You must understand that society has set a basic path for everyone. Go to school, get a job, and the likes. But when you search within yourself and stay true to your potential, this does not necessarily have to be your path in life.
Go for the toughest opportunities
The fear of losing sometimes forces people to stay in the safe lane. But you need to push as hard as you can to break new ground. According to Forbes, in six years, Wang has already secured three contracts worth up to $110 million providing AI services to the US Army and Air Force.
His company, Scale AI secured a $325 million funding round last year, which generates about $100 million annually, with the company at a $7.3 billion valuation. Wang’s estimated 15% stake in the company is valued at $1 billion, making him the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.
That Wang made this leap while studying in school says a lot. If he was scared of big opportunities, or let himself be overwhelmed by the impending weight of success, you probably won’t be reading about him today.