Eye on Oracle

Jan 9 2008   11:03AM GMT

The quotable Larry Ellison

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Larry Ellison, everybody’s favorite yacht-racing former-playboy billionaire, is beloved by journalists looking for a memorable quip . . . or a blog post. Here are a few amusing ones I’ve come across over the years:

On business:

“A corporation’s primary goal is to make money. Government’s primary role is to take a big chunk of that money and give it to others.”

“When you’re the first person whose beliefs are different from what everyone else believes, you’re basically saying, “I’m right, and everyone else is wrong.” That’s a very unpleasant position to be in. It’s at once exhilarating and at the same time an invitation to be attacked.”

“Bill Gates wants people to think he’s Edison, when he’s really Rockefeller. Referring to Gates as the smartest man in America isn’t right… wealth isn’t the same thing as intelligence.”

“You know, in Rome if they did not like somebody, they threw them to the lions in the coliseum. Today we have the media.”

On being filthy rich:

“When I started Oracle, what I wanted to do was to create an environment where I would enjoy working. That was my primary goal. Sure, I wanted to make a living. I certainly never expected to become rich, certainly not this rich. I mean, rich does not even describe this. This is surreal.”

“I think after a certain amount of time I’m going to give almost everything I have to charity. Because what else can you do with it? You can’t spend it, even if you try. I’ve been trying.”

“Being first is more important to me. I have so much more money. Whatever money is, it’s just a method of keeping score now. I mean, I certainly don’t need more money.”

On parenting:

“My son first wanted to go to Stanford, which I thought was O.K. The weather is pretty good, and it’s a fairly short drive to the beach. But it wouldn’t be as good as let’s say, Pepperdine, which is in Malibu. And he said, ‘Dad, what about the education?’ I said, ‘Clearly, I failed as a parent.'”

On giving hope to slackers and hackers:

“I left school without a degree, came to California. I never took a computer science class in my life. I got a job working as a programmer; I was largely self-taught. I just picked up a book and started programming.”

Enjoy, Tim

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  • Mike Green
    Redistribution of wealth is NOT the government's primary role, nor should it be any role. If you think it is, then such a sentiment should be easy to find in any early government documents or writings. But you can't. It's just that we have been conditioned to think of government as a virtuous Robin Hood -- and so have most modern politicians, evidently.
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  • Colin Robertson
    Surely the point is not that the Government redistribute wealth out of any virtuous sentiment, but because that is what they have to do. Any household, or business requires revenue. Government's main source of revenue is taxes. They take a cut from our wealth so that they can service the needs of the country. It is not through any virtuous thought it is a necessity.
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