Billionaire Puts His Success Down To A Letter Getting Lost In The Post

There are many different directions our lives could have taken, aren't there? Some people have dodged a marriage proposal they weren't ready for, others have quite literally dodged bullets, and Scott Farquhar swerved a career path which actually ended up making him billions.

The 39-year-old was waiting for an acceptance letter for one of Australia's top military institutions. He should have been going to the institution after finishing high school. But the letter got lost in the post.

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar met at university. Credit: Atlassian
Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar met at university. Credit: Atlassian

When the piece of paper finally arrived, Scott had already opted to go down the route of university, which is where he met his business partner and friend, Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Now the pair are founders and CEOs of software company Atlassian, which has been valued at $US25 billion (£18.8bn) and the two men are worth an estimated $US7bn (£5.3bn) each.

Considered as one of the world's 500 richest people, last year Scott and Mike topped the 'Young Rich List' for a record-breaking seventh year, according to The Mirror.

The pals with Microsoft founder, Bill Gates. Credit: Atlassian
The pals with Microsoft founder, Bill Gates. Credit: Atlassian

The two men founded Atlassian in 2002, funding it with £5,000 ($US6,500) worth of credit card debt. Twelve years later, aged 35, they became Australia's first self-made tech billionaires. I think that really does make them 'self-made', unlike Kylie Jenner and her new title.

Speaking to the BBC, Scott said: "If the letter had turned up earlier, history may be slightly different".

Growing up as the eldest of four children in a working-class family took its toll, as he remembers desperately wanting a computer.

He explained: "I wanted a computer really badly because my friend had one and I knew you could play games on it. I remember emotionally blackmailing my parents and at one stage crying to get a computer - I feel horrible now, because my parents couldn't really afford one."

Scott's family did eventually get him a second-hand computer but he gave up with trying to get it to work and instead embarked on a computing and business course at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

After graduation, they didn't set themselves unattainable goals - they didn't want to wear suits to work and hoped to earn a modest $AUD48,500 ($US35,000/£26,000) - similar to what other graduates would be earning at big banks and accountancy firms at the time.

Scott told the BBC: "At that stage I was living in a shared house at university and eating ramen noodles every day. We didn't have much to lose." Sounds like he had it all figured out even then.

Despite a tricky start, it was 2003 when things changed and the company received a purchase order via fax from American Airlines. In fact, that fax still hangs outside Scott's office.

It took another 12 years for Atlassian - named after the Greek god Atlas - to emerge on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York.

The BBC reported that Scott was there in person, ringing the bell with Mike and their colleagues, but the surprise of his wife, Kim Jackson, and their children left him 'wiping back the tears'.

But the real question is - how did they celebrate? In Times Square, obviously, with greasy pizza and cheap champagne. Never change, guys. Never change.

Featured Image Credit: Atlassian

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd is a Journalist at LADbible. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class BA in Journalism. Becky previously worked as Chief Reporter at Cavendish Press, supplying news and feature stories to national newspapers and women's magazines.

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