At the turn of the Millennium, Cisco Systems was worth half a trillion dollars. It was the product of Sandra Lerner and her then-husband Len Bosack -- two computer scientists at Stanford University in the US. The multi-billion dollar firm may well have built the network infrastructure in your office.
It was all the result of the pair building a system in 1984 to send email to each other between offices on campus. But in 1990, after a great deal of funding, market success and the company going public, disagreements with various guys in suits on Cisco's board forced Lerner out. That was almost two decades ago.
Where is she now?
Upon leaving, Sandy sold her shares in Cisco and snagged herself some $200m. She then
founded a company about as far away from technology as it's possible to
get, called Urban Decay.
Urban Decay makes alternative make-up and cosmetics. According to its own corporate profile, "One day, long ago, Sandy couldn't find the right shade of purple nail polish to satisfy her alternative make-up tastes." So, in 1996, she started a company that would make some.
In a 1997 interview with Forbes magazine, she outlined her inspiration to swerve from technology into cosmetics. "Fundamentally I was just pissed off that [cosmetics firms] were telling women they had to look like Barbie. I think we've created something that is about choice. You don't have to be afraid of anything you can wash off."
Today you'll find Urban Decay's wares in high-street stores across the globe. Interestingly, the company once had to wash off an ad campaign entitled 'Burn, Barbie, burn', after Barbie threatened to whip out her legal assets and sue.
Shame really. That would've been a very photogenic court room.