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Denver native Robert Smith visited his home town to deliver a commencement address at the University of Denver and gave an interview to KUSA-TV, the local NBC News affiliate.

Smith, who has a net worth of $2.5 billion according to Forbes, is the second richest African-American—behind Oprah Winfrey—and wants to be a role model to young Black men.

“It’s important that these young African-American men understand there are people like Robert Smith out there who can actually be learned in the sciences and engineering and in finance,” said Smith, a graduate of East High School in Denver when it was newly integrated.

He told the news outlet that tenacity is the main ingredient to his success. Smith said he learned to “pick a purpose and to be dogged in the pursuit of that purpose,” while still in high school.

As a high school junior in the 1970s, he developed an interest in computers and sought an internship at Bell Labs in Denver. Those internships, however, were created and reserved for college students.

But that didn’t stop Smith from relentlessly calling the company for six months until Bell Labs invited him for an interview.

“I ran my own race. I knew what I wanted, and my persistence paid off, and I came in and interviewed. They liked me, and I got the internship,” Smith said at an American University commencement address, according to Forbes. “In fact, I worked there for the next four years during summer and winter breaks.”

He went on to graduate from Cornell University and Columbia University before landing a Wall Street job with Goldman Sachs. Smith eventually decided to leave his high-paying position to launch Vista Equity Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm.


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Black Billionaire Shares Secret To Success With Young Black Men was originally published on

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7 thoughts on “Black Billionaire Shares Secret To Success With Young Black Men

  1. Passing Through! on said:

    I hope he doesn’t teach black boys to marry white women and sell out like he did once you become successful. And he married a playboy slut on top of that. Black men can make all of the money in the world and will still have low standards when it comes to white women. Kayne married a ho, Tiger Woods married the nanny, but I guess long as she’s white it doesn’t matter. Some black men idolize ho’s & white trash as trophies, like the Kardashians or bitches who pose naked and make sex tapes. They think that’s something to be proud of. Your wife plastered all up in playboy naked, but then again that’s probably what attracted him to her. Show those black boys some naked pictures of porn star wife spread eagle in Playboy. The message that he’s sending to these young black boys is “white people are superior, if you want to become successful you have to sell out, hate black women, worship white women & breed your black genes out of existence.” It just goes to show that money doesn’t change the inferior mind state of some black people.

    • Maybe the black women he was exposed to made the mistake of opening up a big, gaping sewer of a mouth, and what came out of it (like your post,) caused him to run like the wind, and it blew right into the arms of someone who could express themselves without sinking into the gutter to find the words to express themselves. Just a thought. Man! That was some wedding!

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