Santa Fe Institute

Forbes: The Billionaire Inventors

March 6, 2008 7:31 a.m.
There is little else that unites them, beyond having had an odd idea that, in retrospect, seems so simple and obvious, it provokes the universal reaction, "Why on Earth didn't I think of that?" Take (SFI Trustee) Pierre Omidyar: The French-born computer programmer realized the Internet could match buyers and sellers to create an electronic flea market of unprecedented scale. That light-bulb moment became the online auction site eBay (nasdaq: EBAY - news - people ), launched in 1995. Today, eBay is a primary or secondary source of income for more than a million people--and the basis of Omidyar's $7.7 billion fortune.
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