97. Gabe Newell


Newell’s pro­gram­ming ca­reer took off thanks to his brother, an early Mi­crosoft em­ployee. Newell hung around his si­b­ling so much that Mi­crosoft CEO Steve Ballmer got tired of his dis­tract­ing pres­ence—and of­fered the Har­vard stu­dent a job to make ac­tual use of him: “I learned more in 3 months work­ing with those guys at Mi­crosoft than I did the en­tire time I was at Har­vard.” He dropped out of Har­vard in 1983. Thir­teen years later, he and an­other Mi­crosoft alum co­founded videogame de­vel­oper Valve Corp., a force in on­line PC game sales thanks to its suc­cess­ful dig­i­tal store, Steam.

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