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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Kevin Thompson started mowing lawns when he was nine years old, after he convinced two neighbors to let him cut their grass while they were on vacation. Through word of mouth, he gained about a dozen residential jobs and later added some business customers. During the five years he mowed lawns, Thompson learned a lot about time management, how to deal with people, and doing good work. “If you do a really great job for someone, they’re going to tell someone else,” he says. “Once I did those first two lawns, I really didn’t have to go out and knock on a bunch of people’s doors.”

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