If you’re looking for the world’s most successful tech companies, then you’re sure to find Oracle on the list – thanks to Larry Ellison. Ellison is the co-founder of Oracle and one of the most notable personalities in the industry. In fact, he’s among the people who influenced the tech industry. If you’re looking to venture into the tech sector, his story will inspire you. On that note, here are the failures Larry Ellison faced and how he overcame them.

Larry Ellison’s ambitions started when he was still young. He would learn about programming on his own by reading books. Right from the beginning, he has been very competitive in every aspect of his life. This trait has made his hunger for knowledge grow exponentially.

Larry Ellison’s assets

In the course of his career, he co-founded the world-famous Oracle. Furthermore, he has a vast real estate investment. He owns more than two dozen properties among other assets. The rise of Oracle is quite remarkable.

Oracle was born as a small startup in 1980. During that time, they could not achieve even 1 million USD in revenue. At the moment, the annual revenue of Oracle is more than 40 billion USD. The company’s market cap is 240 billion USD and still expanding.

Larry Ellison’s failures

  • Oracle bankruptcy

Before becoming successful, Ellison and his organization faced many ordeals. After its launch in 1980, the growth of Oracle was rapid throughout the 80s. And in 1986, it went public. A year later, the company became the biggest of its kind in the world.

However, the ordeals of the company started after the 1990 audit. From the internal audit, it was discovered that Oracle’s earnings were overstated. As a result of this, their stock dropped by nearly 80%.

At this point, the company was experiencing bankruptcy, but that couldn’t stop Larry’s determination to restore its financial health. After lots of hard work and determination, the company’s financial health was restored in 1992.

What startup founders can learn

This struggle reveals Ellison’s “never quit” attitude, something that entrepreneurs can emulate in their ventures. When you’re faced with a struggle, your business has a chance to make it through tough times. Therefore, if you are experiencing any hardship in your venture, always remember Larry Ellison’s struggles with Oracle. This will help you push your capabilities to the limit and achieve the impossible.

  • Network Computer

After restoring the financial health of Oracle in 1992, Ellison identified a new opportunity three years later. It was a chance to rival Microsoft Corporation in the computer sector. He saw an opportunity to provide affordable computers.

The new computer would compete with the personal computers from Microsoft. It was known as Network Computer. Compared to the standard PC, the Network Computer was overequipped.

Due to the gradual drop in the prices of PC and NC development delays, the Ellison project did not succeed. Instead, the PC maintained dominance. Later on, he would admit that the technology to support NC was premature. Even so, the project wasn’t a complete failure. The technology behind the NC has contributed to what we know as cloud computing technology today.

What startup founders can learn

Sometimes it takes failure to appreciate true success. While the NC didn’t make it, Ellison didn’t lose out entirely. The idea behind the NC has built cloud computing into what we know it as today.

1. The road less traveled is more rewarding

According to Ellison, you can achieve more in business and life altogether without necessarily using the conventional route. He believes the conventional way is fashionable. And just because things are fashionable, it doesn’t mean they’re right. Take slavery, for example. It’s not morally right, but in the past, it was a fashionable thing.

That being said, the key to success is thinking about everything on your own. While reinventing the wheel every time is not advisable, following a specific path just because it’s what’s done will not make you successful.

Sometimes re-inventing the wheel is not that bad. Before you do that, you should judge the situation from your perspective. For example, Ellison is a school dropout because he didn’t like the way the school system molds people. He’s also a university dropout but he invested in his interest to learn about computers.

Ellison knows that you can’t succeed by following other people’s rules.

The course to prosperity starts with following your own rules. Meanwhile, you should break the rules set by others. Breaking the rules set by others means abandoning your comfort zone and following the road less traveled. Ellison encourages entrepreneurs to discover flaws in conventions. After finding these flaws, you should leverage them by using innovation to boost your business. In this way, you can break the rules in a constructive way.

2. Be competitive

Ellison once said he is addicted to winning. Beyond that, the more he accomplishes in life, the more he wants to achieve. To him, what matters most is not even making money, but dealing with the competition.

“I’m addicted to winning. The more you win, the more you want to win.” ~ Larry Ellison

When it comes to his rivals, Ellison is known to be ruthless. However, that doesn’t mean you should adopt the same approach. At the same time, if you gather enough intel about your client, you can take advantage of that. What you need to do in the current age is come up with a competitive strategy. This will allow your products or services to remain dominant in the market. Furthermore, doing this gives you an opportunity to scoop a significant share of your rival’s client base.

The more Intel you have about your rivals, the better it is for your business. With this information, you will be able to shape your marketing strategy to counter that of your rivals. As a result, you will have access to more opportunities that you can leverage. This will be a chance to establish a reputation for your business and build credibility.

3. A degree is not everything

All prosperous entrepreneurs have one thing in common – the passion to pursue what they adore. From that perspective, there’s more value in passion than there is in education, especially in entrepreneurship. Passion motivates you to be the best at what you’re doing. Venturing into what you love creates a feeling of self-growth. This is different from pursuing any other activity in the name of the business to push time.

You will realize that most Silicon Valley billionaires lack formal qualifications. That’s because they discovered their passion in life earlier. Larry claims there are billionaires like him in Silicon Valley without formal qualifications. What sets them apart is that he was the first. He came before the likes of Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates. Not to mention the fact that he dropped out twice during college. Afterward, he relocated to Northern California.

Larry detested the formal education model but he loved education

While he’s a dropout, his time in college was long enough for him to learn how a computer works. This is the same knowledge he used to develop databases. Furthermore, Ellison didn’t love schooling, but he understood the value of education. As such, he went on reading even after he dropped out of college

Additionally, Ellison actually leveraged the knowledge from school to build his first database. That says a lot about his perception of education. While schooling is not something he enjoys, education remains an essential factor in his success.

Thus, the lesson from this point is that not getting a college degree should not limit your capability. Among the ways, you can improve your life is by learning from other people’s testaments. He further adds that a degree is like an added advantage. However, it doesn’t quantify the extent of your success.

4. Keep on growing

Ellison is behind the famous saying that companies are no different from sharks. Therefore, once you stop moving, your venture dies. Thus, in order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to achieve consistent progress. In entrepreneurship, there’s nothing like perfection in matters of success. However, there’s an infinite hunger for innovation and success that drives people to attain their full potential.

Ellison believes in consistency. He was the CEO of Oracle for over 30 years, and he retired at 70 years of age. Even so, he still plays a part in the management of the company. He was also a director on the Tesla board from 2018, and he left in mid-2022.

While in Oracle, he still encourages the pursuit of innovations. He also stresses the need to reinvent oneself.

In Ellison’s book, consistent growth equals financial success

Among the greatest lessons you can learn from Larry is consistent growth. Even after establishing Oracle as the market leader in its niche, he didn’t stop at that. Instead, he went on to acquire rival companies to fully dominate the market. Therefore, to keep on growing, you simply need to re-invent and leverage the available facts.

5. Go for the best

When it comes to hiring staff, Larry has a unique approach. When you are an employee at his company, you will receive overpay. Whether you’re an executive, junior, or manager, you receive the same treatment. However, there’s a catch. Getting such lucrative deals means you’ve got to work for it. If you start slacking, then you should also prepare to get fired. As an employee at Oracle, you must sharpen your skills continuously and deliver the best services.

According to him, you’re a wiser leader if you can find great employees to help you attain your business vision. And that’s why he would prefer to have a position vacant rather than hire an incompetent person. In today’s economy, there is a dire need for qualified employees. For this reason, many employers are not ready to invest their resources in incompetent employees.

Do potential staff members have what it takes to help your company attain its goals? Well, Larry feels that this kind of staff can help you solve all your problems. So, by all means, give your employees a chance to prove themselves but don’t be afraid to move on to potential prospects if the people you’ve hired don’t deliver.

To run a successful business, knowing your capability is important. In the past, Larry would pick the smartest job seekers during an interview. By identifying their capabilities, he would capitalize on them to achieve success. Lastly, taking the best employee from another company doesn’t mean they will fit your business. Instead, you should focus on those who can help your business grow.


Two characteristics define Larry Ellison well – aggression and total determination. He has a thirst for success in whichever venture he tries. At the same time, Ellison knows that when you’re competitive, losing is also just a part of success. Ellison leverages every resource at hand to accomplish his goals.

Owing to his immense success in the business world, he’s a great role model to entrepreneurs. As such, entrepreneurs can learn a lot from him. In addition to being one of the richest entrepreneurs in the world, Larry is a successful entrepreneur. Thanks to his ambition, he has acquired valuable assets and amassed a lot of wealth.

He also exhibits remarkable leadership and negotiation skills. These are just some of the traits that have contributed to his success. Therefore, if you are aiming for success in the business sector, then the above career lessons from Larry are a good place to start.

Finally, other remarkable lessons from Ellison that you should consider include:

  • You have to trust in your efforts and in your venture to attain your goal
  • Be open to learning from others instead of relying on your capability and strategies alone
  • Learn how to leverage aggression to succeed in business

How Pressfarm can help you build a successful business

Are you inspired by Larry Ellison’s level of ambition? Are you launching your own business? Well, in order to successfully launch your business, you need to partner with public relations experts like the ones at Pressfarm. Pressfarm is equipped with public relations specialists who are skilled at creating the kind of content that will help you make a name for the business you’re launching.

By developing and distributing press releases and guest posts for your brand, Pressfarm can help you build brand credibility. Through the increased visibility that this content offers, your business can benefit from the latest opportunities.

With brand credibility, you can also build a loyal customer base that will be invested in the success of your business. Finally, the team at Pressfarm can connect you to respected media professionals in your niche to help you share your brand story with the world.

By investing in a good public relations team, you can build a memorable brand image that draws customers in.