Granted, technology executives aren't known for being the most over-the-top Monopoly-guy esque billionaires. For every flashy, extravagant fatcat in tech, there are dozens of Mark Zuckerbergs, happy to cover their head in a hoody and count their millions in between responding to Quora threads and checking in to Half Moon Bay's finest gluten-free froyo spots. It's a culture where the CEO's are more likely to have Sriracha droplets and pit stains on their shirts than designer logos, is what I'm saying.But this lists' most needlessly extravagant purchases by rich tech executives include all sorts of fancy playthings. These execs have money burning holes in their collective pockets, so they often amass collections of everything from exotic cars to fleets of planes. The tech execs on this list each earned a spot by making some pretty over-the-top, extravagant purchases (yes, this includes homes/compounds as well). Here's a peek into how some of the richest people on the planet spend all that wealth.
David Sacks' Fancy French Party
Who is This Guy?
David Sacks is CEO of Yammer, originally a "social network" tool for individual businesses that has expanded into an all-in-one enterprise platform. In June of 2012, Microsoft purchased Yammer for $1.2 billion.
Before starting Yammer, Sacks had been COO of a little company you may have heard of called PayPal, from 2002 until it was acquired by eBay. After his years of membership in the so-called PayPal Mafia, Sacks founded Geni.com and Room 9 Entertainment, which produced the independent film "Thank You for Smoking."
As acquisition rumors spread about Yammer, Sacks threw himself the mother of all birthday parties, to the tune of $1.4 million. How do you even spend $1.4 million on a birthday party? Instead of pinning the tail on a donkey, you use actual Democratic members of the House of Representatives? You don't just get a Bounce House, but hire a team of scientists to invent a machine that will sufficiently alter gravity in your backyard such that it resembles a Bounce House? What? Tell me!
In addition to the hefty price tag, the theme of Sacks' party raised some 99%-er eyebrows: "Let Him Eat Cake." Yes, it's a canny reference to a famous quote possibly (but probably not) stated by Marie Antoinette, the famous French lady who was met with some amount of public disapproval, as you may recall, way back in 1793. (Thus providing Kirsten Dunst with one of her greatest... well, one of her roles, anyway.)
The party featured hilarious French Revolution-style get-ups and entertainment from none other than Big Snoop Dogg himself. No Tupac holograms, though. He prefers the Gilded Age as his ironically insensitive ultra-expensive historical party setting of choice.
Now THIS is what undead, possibly evil Tupac is talkin' about!
Larry Ellison Buys an Island
Who Is This Guy?
Co-founder and CEO of Oracle, and as of 2012, the third richest person in America. Ellison's worth - based on his personal fortune as well as ownership of Oracle stock - is valued at $36.5 billion.
Ellison is known for his extravagance. Over the years, he has amassed a fleet of fancy cars, including a 1995 McLaren F1 (which he sold at auction for nearly $3.6 million in 1995 because really, it was so old). He also collects planes (including an Italian Marchetti jet).
Ellison's latest purchase: Hawaii. Well, okay, fine, just AN ENTIRE HAWAIIAN ISLAND. In June of 2012, Ellison shelled out a rumored $500 million to buy Hawaii's sixth largest island: Lanai. He officially owns 98 percent of the stunning, beautiful island -- because he can.
Word is, Ellison had considered going for an island off the coast of Costa Rica, but they're all apparently infested with unnecessary Jeff Goldblum sequels.
The Creepy Mancave of Henry Nicholas
Who Is This Guy?
Henry Thompson “Nick” Nicholas, III, is the co-founder of Fortune 500 company Broadcom, one of the top producers of semiconductors for wireless and broadband communication. He was also the co-Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of that company. In 2009, he was the 236th richest person in America, with a worth of $1.8 billion.
Nicholas became known not only as a leading pioneer of the first tech boom of the 1990s, but also as a philanthropist. When Nicholas was a young man, his sister was murdered by an ex-boyfriend, and as an adult, he has devoted much of his time and resources to the cause of Victims' Rights. He's often credited with keeping California's Three Strikes Laws on the books and championing Marsy's Law, which, among other things, puts restrictions on paroles that often delay prisoner releases.
In 2008, Nicholas was charged with securities fraud by the Justice Department, which was alleging that he had deceived shareholders about employee compensation timelines and essentially lying about Broadcom's profits. Surprising, but not as shocking as the other indictment against Nicholas, for DRUG TRAFFICKING.
As it turns out, Nicholas was living in a sprawling multi-million dollar mansion in Laguna Beach, California, with his wife and 3 children by day... and then going to an elaborate underground hideaway beneath the mansion to engage in debauched, drug-fueled orgies. No, really. He called it "The Lair," folks. THE LAIR.
Nicholas started remodeling his luxurious Laguna Beach home in the 1990s, and by his 2008 arrest, it had ballooned into a $30 million project. He ended up with an interconnected "warren" of rooms - with 12 foot high ceilings - containing everything from stereos and jacuzzis to gold-leaf columns to statues of Buddha to, of course, ample stashes of cocaine, ecstasy, Viagra, speed. Oh, and prostitutes. Many, many prostitutes. (If you're a prostitute and a guy asks you to come with him to a room underneath his house... you really going to go on that particular expedition? Sure, this time, you get some ecstasy and maybe you get to meet a panda or something. But 9 times out of 10, that's ending poorly for you.
On one occasion, Nicholas paid the band Orgy to play in The Lair (for only $50,000!), set up ice sculptures everywhere and was spotted filling unsuspected attendees' drinks with powdered ecstasy pills. Weeeeeee!
The band Orgy. Not depicted: Henry Nicholas, crazy ice sculptures, musical talent
Nicholas later objected to descriptions in the press of his beautiful underground hideaway, specifically references to it as some kind of "sex lair." You know, just because it's a place he called The Lair where he often took women to give them drugs and have sex with them DOESN'T MAKE IT A SEX LAIR, people. Open your minds, okay?The charges against Nicholas were eventually dropped by the US government, but of course, now the secret about The Lair was already out. Anyone else think they should start holding Laser Pink Floyd down there instead of the Planetarium? No? Just me?
Kim Dotcom's Crazy New Zealand Mansion
Who Is This Guy?
"Kim Dotcom" is the professional name of German-Finnish businessman Kim Schmitz, creator of the massively popular and controversial file hosting and sharing service Megaupload. At its peak, Megaupload was thought to be responsible for 4% of all internet traffic.
Dotcom was charged in January of 2012 on internet piracy and copyright violation charges following an extensive investigation involving the New Zealand authorities, the United States' FBI and Justice Department, the Hong Kong Department of Justice, the Netherlands Police Agency and the Public Prosecutor's Office for Serious Fraud and Environmental Crime in Rotterdam, London's Metropolitan Police Service, Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Department of Justice. He was released on bail on February 22 of that year.
Authorities detained Dotcom at his $23 million mansion, where he'd been "hiding in a safe room with a gun." As one does. Members of New Zealand's special forces arrived on foot and in helicopters to take Dotcom into custody.
Among the amazing and ridiculously extravagant features on the property:
- Life-size sculptures of exotic animals on the mansion's lush lawn
- A room that held seven 60-inch TVs (each with a comfy chair and an Xbox)
- A garage that housed a massive luxury car collection. Each car has an aggressive or jokey vanity license plate. Samples: "Hacker," "Mafia," "Guilty," "Police," "Stoned"
- A garden maze
- Millions of dollars in artwork