Yang was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1968, and his father died two years later. He moved with the rest of his family to San Jose, California when he was eight years old. Upon arriving in America, Yang knew just one word of English: “shoe.”
But in spite of these massive disadvantages, Yang excelled in school and attended Stanford, graduating in 1990. He started Yahoo in 1995 and recently stepped down from the company, accumulating a networth of $1.15 billion along the way.
Yang founded Yahoo! in 1994, served as CEO from 2007 to 2009 and left in 2012. He then founded a venture capital firm called AME Cloud Ventures and, as of 2015, serves on several corporate boards. According to Rob Solomon, a venture capitalist Yang is “a great founder, evangelist, strategist and mentor”, having “created the blueprint for what is possible on the Internet”.
In February 2007, Yang and his wife gave $75 million to Stanford University, their alma mater, $50 million of which went to building the “Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building”, a multi-disciplinary research, teaching and lab building designed with sustainable architecture principles.