Morning Coffee: 25 year-old billionaire has shocking LinkedIn profile. A most terrible thing happened on Zoom

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Morning Coffee: 25 year-old billionaire has shocking LinkedIn profile. A most terrible thing happened on Zoom

If you want to get ahead in the world as a 20-something of high ability and higher aspiration, you need a LinkedIn profile - right? And it needs to be filled with the sorts of signals that identify you as a fully-engaged member of the meritocracy who's been through multiple internships, a tier one school and has some Olympiad wins. 

But what if this just indicates that you're the sort of excellent sheep berated by a Yale University professor a few years ago? What if the real ballers have different sorts of LinkedIn profiles entirely?

The LinkedIn profile of Austin Russell, the 25 year-old founder and chief executive of Luminar Technologies, is a case in point. Russell didn't waste his time on taster days, spring internships, and summer programmes. He didn't even allow for the distraction of a degree. Now he's a billionaire, and everyone else with all those things is earning a low six figure salary plus bonus

Russell isn't a banker. He isn't a software engineer. His special talent is lasers and light sensing systems which can be used by autonomous vehicles to detect hard to see objects at long distances in low light. He began his business aged 17 after converting his parents' garage into an optics and electrics lab (his father is a real estate developer and knew very little about what his son was up to) where he could investigate, "how we apply physics into the real world to solve problems in new dimensions." Instead of high school, Russell attended the Beckman Laser Institute for a bit, and was encouraged to apply to Stanford's Applied Physics School. He was only at Stanford for six months when he dropped out, aided by Peter Thiel the early Facebook investor. And now Russell is becoming a billionaire via a SPAC. 

In the circumstances, Russell's ultra-bald LinkedIn profile - which simply lists his company, Luminar Technologies, and Stanford (even though he didn't actually graduate), might be dismissed as the result rather than the cause of his success. After all, there are plenty of senior traders with similar profiles, mostly because the expectation is that their achievements are already known to those who matter. However, in an industry obsessed by cohorts and peer benchmarking, it's worth bearing in mind that some of the highest achievers aren't measured by the usual metrics. They are in a cohort of their own.

Separately, the worst thing happened on a Zoom meeting and it did not involve an exhausted banker. New Yorker journalist Jeffrey Toobin was seemingly seen exposing himself on a Zoom call. After some speculation about how this came to pass, it seems that Toobin didn't realize he was on camera and had a solipsistic interlude after a breakout session during a long meeting with some colleagues and a radio station about the upcoming election. Vice has the whole sorry story. Toobin, who has been suspended, said: “I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video.” Right.

Meanwhile...

UBS is encouraging people to leave of their own accords by letting them walk away with more of their deferred bonuses intact. (Reuters) 

UBS is giving employees a one week cash bonus to boost morale during COVID. (Financial News)

40% of Morgan Stanley people are back in the office in Asia. 30% are back in Europe. 10-12% are back in the U.S. (Bloomberg) 

90% of Citi's Shanghai staff are back; 75% of its Hong Kong staff are back. (Bloomberg) 

Barclays plans to signal that Jes Staley is secure in his job as Barclays CEO for another two years. (Telegraph)

Goldman Sachs is giving its employees a half day off to vote. (Bloomberg) 

Wealthy French buyers are the biggest purchasers of London prime property for more than a decade. (Bloomberg) 

Hedge fund Millennium Management has spawned more than 70 offshoots. (Business Insider)

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Photo by inlytics on Unsplash

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