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Techies dominate list of richest Americans under 40

The top 10 members of Fortune's second annual "Forty Richest Under Forty" list are executives at publicly owned computer or Internet companies.

Starry-eyed children who want to be like Mike might reconsider: According to Fortune magazine, the richest young people in America are not athletes worshiped on the court but technocrats hailed on the street--Wall Street.

The top 10 members of Fortune's second annual "Forty Richest Under Forty" list are executives at publicly owned computer or Internet companies.

Michael Jordan, the 37-year-old president and head of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards, was the only non-technophile to make the list. And with a net worth of $431 million, he barely squeaked by at No. 40.

Michael Dell, the 35-year-old chairman and CEO of Dell Computer, leads the list with a net worth of $17.08 billion. Ted Waitt, the 37-year-old chairman and founder of Gateway, is No. 2 with $8.54 billion. All of the others in the top 10 are from Internet companies such as Yahoo, and eBay.

Internet portal Yahoo was the biggest wealth generator, catapulting four employees onto Fortune's list.

David Filo, the 34-year-old "chief Yahoo" and co-founder, is worth $6.03 billion. Jerry Yang, who has the same title as Filo but is three years younger, is worth $5.85 billion. Yahoo president and chief operating officer Jeff Mallett, 36, is worth $805 million.

"One of the oldest people on the list is 38-year-old Farzad Nazem, chief technology officer and senior vice president at Yahoo. Thanks to a generous stock option package valued at $528 million, the ripest Yahoo whiz is worth $601 million.

By contrast, two of the top 40 are Silicon Valley dudes who have been legal for less than a decade.

Paul Gauthier, the chief technology officer at Inktomi, is worth $693 million at the tender age of 27. Marc Andreessen, chairman and co-founder of Loudcloud and one of the pioneers of the Netscape Web browser, is 29 and worth $498 million.

Jealous or sickened by the staggering valuations of these men? Don't be. Fortune, which has made its own fortune on the glamorization and fawning adoration of the hyper-rich, reports in its Sept. 18 edition that the men are not categorically happy.

Many struggle fruitlessly to portray themselves as "regular guys," despite their jets and celebrity weddings. Others lament that friends and co-workers--indeed, anyone who reads Securities and Exchange Commission filings--know the top executives' net worth.

Several of the billionaires and millionaires profiled in the magazine suffer from I'm-not-worth-my-net-worth afflictions.

Vincent Smith, the 36-year-old chairman and CEO of Quest Software, is worth $1.93 billion but cannot refrain from referring to himself as a "butthole" in interviews with a Fortune reporter.

Cuban-American businessman Raul Fernandez, the 34-year-old chairman, CEO and founder of Proxicom, is one of the few non-Asian minorities on the list. Although he's worth $573 million and hired Tony Bennett to croon at his June wedding, he told Fortune, "Sometimes I feel like the latest attraction at the National Zoo."

Pity the poor beast.

The young and the rich
Here are the top 20 richest Americans under 40, according to Fortune magazine*: 
Rank Name, age Company Net worth
  1.     Michael Dell, 35     Dell Computer     $17.08 billion  
  2.     Ted Waitt, 37     Gateway     $8.54 billion  
  3.     David Filo, 34     Yahoo     $6.03 billion  
  4.     Jerry Yang, 31     Yahoo     $5.85 billion  
  5.     Jeff Bezos, 36     $4.05 billion  
  6.     Pierre Omidyar, 33     eBay     $3.44 billion  
  7.     Rob Glaser, 38     RealNetworks     $2.27 billion  
  8.     Jeff Skoll, 35     eBay     $2.16 billion  
  9.     Vinny Smith, 36     Quest Software     $1.93 billion  
  10.     Monte Zweben, 36     Blue Martini Software     $1.69 billion  
  11.     Jerry Greenberg, 34     Sapient     $1.47 billion  
  12.     J. Stuart Moore, 38     Sapient     $1.37 billion  
  13.     Greg Reyes, 38     Brocade Comm. Sys.     $1.03 billion  
  14.     Rob DeSantis, 37     Ariba     $989 million  
  15.     Michael Saylor, 35     Microstrategy     $902 million  
  16.     Jeff Mallett, 36     Yahoo     $805 million  
  17.     David Doyle, 39     Quest Software     $792 million  
  18.     Rick Barry, 34     Sycamore Networks     $710 million  
  19.     Paul Gauthier, 27     Inktomi     $693 million  
  20.     Peter Bell, 36     StorageNetworks     $658 million  
* For the full list, see "America's Forty Richest Under 40."