Lucrative Industries for Aspiring Self-Made Billionaires

In my first Physics and Mathematics Papers in form 1, I scored 100% and my Physics teacher wrote a comment: “Sky is the limit.” I lived through high school scoring 100% in many papers until it became normal — the sky ceased to be the limit, I needed to achieve more, to aim higher past the galaxies. “Human wants are insatiable” said my business teacher but if there is one thing that should be called “The Sky”, the one thing that should be the next limit, then it is achieving the billion-dollar mark.

In my last article, I stated that “Money does not buy happiness but make sure you make lots of it before saying such nonsense.” I have also told people before that human stability only exists within the process; never at the beginning, never at the end; never upon achieving what you’ve so much wanted for decades. You miss to be happy in the process, you miss happiness entirely. As we work our way towards the billion-dollar mark, we need to be happy in the process and that means we need to make what we love make the billions for us.

“I want to be in the infrastructure. I want to be the brand, instead of just being the face.” Serena Williams

This reminds me so much of Kiyosaki’s anecdotes in his Best-Seller book: Rich Dad Poor Dad. In the book, Kiyosaki says that whereas poor dad teaches us to climb the ladder bottom up, rich dad teaches us to own the ladder. That’s exactly what Serena Williams is talking about; most people are just the face of big brands, satisfied with being on the lower end of the ladder, walking away with remunerations that look great at the moment but that is extremely volatile. That’s what she wants to change, she wants to own the ladder alongside fellow entertainers Jay Z, Rihanna, Madonna and Oprah Winfrey.

Poor dad teaches us to climb the ladder bottom up, rich dad teaches us to own the ladder

A superfluous look into the Forbes Billionaires List shows a male and tech dominated list as we see Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Larry Page and the rest dominating the list. It would appear as though the only way for us to climb the billion-dollar ladder would be by delving into tech industry. A deeper look into the list exposes interesting insights; There are a total of 80 women with a net-worth of $225 million and above with a combined net worth of $81.3 billion. 25 of these 80 women have a net worth above $1 billion and not most of them are in the tech industry. Actually, 11 of these women have made their fortunes through beauty and skin care products — talk of Rihanna Fenty who has made a total of $600 million, Kiley Jenner who has $1 billion, Beyonce with $400 million, Madonna with over $500 million and the list is not wholly enumerable.

When they started, the internet and social media made the pioneers billionaires but today it is making its members billionaires as well. Evan Spiegel is worth slightly above $2 billion for building SnapChat while Kiley Jenner is worth $1 billion for using SnapChat and Instagram to market the Kiley Cosmetics brand of beauty products. Rihanna Fenty teamed up with billionaire Bernard Anault to co-own Fenty Beauty where Rihanna has depended on her millions of followers on Instagram (myself included) to grow Fenty Beauty to a market cap of $3 billion within a span of 2 years, making herself garner a fortune that has made her the richest female musician with a net-worth of $600 million in the process.

This is a revolution — I call it “Social Media Influencers 2.0” — and it is not about the techies building a new phase of social media platforms neither is it about the social media influencers being used to promote other people’s brands; it is about social media influencers using social media to make themselves as rich as the social media tech owners by building their own brands — by owning the ladder.

When we think of billionaires we think of the tech industry; the tech industry has been the face of billionaires for so long a time that tech has become synonymous to billions. It is thus not surprising that most millennials are running left right and center to build the next big thing in the tech industry. What then is left for the non-techies? Are they doomed to follow the Poor Dad’s advice of climbing up the ladder owned by these techies?

The answer is a deafening NO.

I love data science because it gives me the ability to decipher mysteries out of raw data dumps so I decided to employ my data science skills to develop a system that would allow me understand in depth the Forbes Billionaires List. What I did was to analyze this data along only four lines so as to answer the four questions that were disturbing me:

  1. Which industries do these billionaires operate in?
  2. How many billionaires do we have in each of these industries?
  3. What’s the total individual net worth created out of these industries?
  4. What’s the average net-worth of all the players in these industries?

I visualized the data as pie charts that would then help me easily do the comparison and answer my questions above. The main motive I had was to understand the performance of the individual industries and prove/disprove the myth of tech industry being the best to invest in. Let’s see what my findings were.

First, it is important to note that my first important findings are that, from the list of billionaires alone, there are a total of 2195 super wealthy individuals from various countries, their combined net-worth is $ 8.898 trillion and averagely, each of them is worth $4.05 billion.

Finance and Investments leads with the highest number of billionaires; boasting a total of 306 billionaires followed (far off) by Fashion and Retail industry which has 240 billionaires. Real Estatefollows closely with 225 billionaires with Technology at 224 billionaires. Manufacturing follows at 195 billionaires, Food and Beverage at 173 billionaires with Healthcare closing the 100+ mark with 136 billionaires.

Number of billionaires in the top industries
Number of billionaires in the top industries

Finance and Investments industry might lead by giving us the highest number of billionaires but when it comes to the total net-worth of these individuals, it is pushed to a distant 3rd.

Technology leads this category by contributing 14.95% of the $8.89 trillion dollars owned by these special group of people. That’s a total of $1.33 trillion cumulatively being the net-worth of the tech billionaires. Fashion and Retail follows closely with a cumulative value of $1.233 trillion while Finance and Investments closes the over trillion-dollar mark with a total contribution of $1.113 trillion. Real Estate, Food and Beverage, and Manufacturing Industries, whereas not each meeting the trillion-dollar mark, again prove to be very rewarding fields with each of them earning their players over $500 billion in net worth.

Cumulative total net-worth of billionaires in the top industries
Cumulative total net-worth of billionaires in the top industries

When we look at the average net-worth of the billionaires in each industry, we again see a different insight that might be important to an aspiring billionaire. I have to say Forbes data has lied by categorizing Lauren Powell Jobs’ fortunes to be emanating from Philanthropy/NGO or maybe I do not understand what that category means. Lauren’s fortunes are inherited from the late Steve Jobs and hence would better have been placed under Tech. For this reason, I will ignore that category (Lauren is worth $20 billion as at the time of writing this article). With Lauren’s shares ignored, Technologyleads this category by earning its players an average of $5.9 billion each. Telecom, which only has 28 billionaires, comes second with each of them having $5.7 billion. Fashion and Retails then closes the over $5 billion dollar-mark by coming third having earned its players an average of $5.14 billion.

Average Net-worth of every billionaire from the top industries
Average Net-worth of every billionaire from the top industries

I will not make any conclusions for anyone but one thing stands out from my analysis of the Forbes data:

Technology, Fashion & Retail, Finance & Investments, Real Estate, Manufacturing and Food & Beverage industries remain the titans of the world economy.

It is thus only fitting that aspiring billionaires choose wisely and have a foot in at least one of these industries. Combined, these industries alone have 1,363 billionaires with a total net worth of over $5.72 trillion. This tremendous wealth creation implies tremendous value creation and hence if your motive is to create value and help make the world a better place, then these are the industries you should be operating in.

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