Tech CEOs’ first jobs: Licorice maker, housekeeper, scuba diver and more

Before their corporate jobs, many tech CEOs got their hands dirty, scrubbing oils stains off asphalt, cleaning bathrooms, and shoveling monkey cages. Here are their stories.

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“This job is where I first got my hands on a computer that I could play with,” says Ben Smith of his job working at a small-town pharmacy owned by two brothers. “On Saturday afternoons, one of the brothers always worked because it was slow, and he could watch the Alabama and Auburn football games. We would always spend time programming simple applications on a Timex Sinclair computer, which sold for $99 with 2K of memory. I learned a lot from James Stalling on Saturday afternoons about building ‘stuff,’ and most importantly, building relationships.”

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