Henry Ross Perot is an American businessman famed for running in the presidential primaries in 1992 and 1996. He was the founder of the Electronic Data Systems (EDS). With a net worth of 3.5 billion dollars (estimated in 2012) he was ranked as the 101st richest person in the United States by Forbes Magazine.
Perot was born on 27th June 1930 in Texarkana, Texas. He graduated from Texas High School in 1947. He was in the Boys Scouts of America and was made an Eagle Scout in 1942. He also received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. He went to the U.S Naval Academy in 1949 where he established their honor system. When Perot graduated in 1953, he was a battalion commander and president of his class. After serving four years at sea he left the Navy in 1957. Perot tried his luck in various occupations. He sold Christmas cards, magazines and even garden seeds. Finally he got a job as salesman in IBM. He gained popularity immediately as he fulfilled his annual sales quota in only two weeks. He left this job in 1962 to form Electronic Data Systems (EDS), an information technology services and equipment provider in Dallas. Perot pitched his ideas to large companies and was rejected more than 70 times before getting his first contract. During the 1960s the company got contracts from the U.S government which elevated its stock prices from 16 dollars per share to 160 dollars making him the ‘fastest, richest Texan’ according to Fortune magazine’s cover story in 1968. In 1984 Perot sold the company to General Motors for 2.4 billion dollars. In 1974 Perot became the ‘biggest individual loser ever on the Stock Exchange’ when his EDS shares went down 450 million dollars in just one day.
Perot ran for President in 1992 as an independent candidate. He won 19 percent of the popular votes. He ran for presidency again in 1996. He formed a party called ‘The Reform Party’ in 1995 that developed its autonomy from him eventually. Perot has written several books such as ‘Ross Perot: My Life & the Principles for Success’ and ‘United We Stand’. His latest book is ‘Ross Perot: My Life’. Perot began a new business called ‘Perot Systems’. He retired from the company in 2000 however remained its chairman while his son Ross Jr. took over the business. The company was sold to Dell in 2009. Perot did not completely leave the political scene. He announced his endorsement of the Republican candidate Mitt Romney for president in 2012.
Perot made success his story with his limitless desire to accomplish his dreams. He did not want to settle for anything less. He did not just follow his father’s profession who was a cotton broker. Instead he aimed high and eventually this ‘can do’ attitude brought him the success he had wished for. He is truly a self-made billionaire and an American icon. His soaring ambition, confidence and hard work paid off and enabled him to become one of the most successful people in the world.