College is a pivotal time in anyone’s life and it is often said that your time in college will not only be the most formative years of your life but it will also play a major part in shaping the life you will lead.
It is also said that the people you meet in college and become friends with will also help to form the person you become through your friendship with them and the experiences that you will share during college and beyond.
For some people, that is more true than it is for others. There are cases where people who meet in college not only become good friends but they also find ingenious ways of working together to make their fortune and set themselves up for life.
Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook
One famous example of friends in college using their relationship to build a financial future for themselves is the story of Facebook. The alleged course of events was profiled in the Oscar-winning movie The Social Network (2010) starring Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield. In real life, Mark Zuckerberg is credited with starting the social networking site with his college friends Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes, Dustin Moskovitz, and Andrew McCollum during their time at Harvard University with the site released initially as an internal social network for the university on 4th February, 2004. However, the friends expanded it to other universities and the popularity of Facebook spread to a global audience within a matter of months. The rest, as they say, is history.
MIT Blackjack Team
Another fascinating example is the MIT Blackjack Team, which is covered in this fascinating article. This group consisted of students and ex-students from the elite Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a selection of other educational institutions such as Harvard Business School and Harvard University who came together under the guidance of Bill Kaplan to use their intelligence with numbers and formula to find a way to win big at the casinos.
The story of the MIT Blackjack Team was covered in the New York Times best-seller Bringing Down The House by Ben Mezrich and also inspired the hit Hollywood movie starring Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess called 21 (2008). The group operated with great success across casinos throughout the US between 1979 and the early part of the 21st century before casinos became aware of their activity and their card counting tactics and complex strategies were clamped down upon by casino security.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen – Microsoft
However, perhaps the most famous instance of friends in college hitting the financial jackpot with their ideas is the story of Microsoft, created by college buddies Bill Gates and Paul Allen who initially set up the company back in 1975 to manufacture and sell BASIC Interpreters for Altair 8800. As time passed by, the technology developed and the duo of Gates and Allen soon branched out their development projects into other areas and gained global attention with their MS-DOS operating system that dominated the personal computer operating system market in the mid-1980s and into the 90s. The company then developed its Windows operating system to accompany the MS-DOS operating system and has not looked back with Gates becoming one of the richest men in the world.
College is a great place to socialize and meet new friends but history has also shown that it is the birthplace of some of the greatest ideas modern mankind has developed and is the setting for where some of the most innovative and creative relationships have been formed.