Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Buys a Hawaiian Island
We’ve all dreamed of being rich enough to buy an island in paradise, but Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is pushing wishful thinking aside and making it happen for himself.
Ellison—the third richest person in America and the sixth richest in the world—is currently closing in on a purchase of 98 percent of Hawaii’s Lanai resort island.
That 98 percent deal includes 88,000 acres of land, two resorts, two golf courses, a stable and several residential and commercial buildings.
The exact price tag is being kept a secret, but local Hawaiian news outlets have said the asking price is $500 million to $600 million—a mere chunk of Ellison’s $36 billion fortune. Oh yeah, and according to the application, he’s going to pay cash.
Ellison’s investment is expected to boost Lanai’s tourism sector while increasing jobs and economic stimulus.
“The buyer anticipates making substantial investments in Lanai and is looking forward to partnering with the people of Lanai to chart the island’s future,” the purchase application read.
“It is my understanding that Mr. Ellison has had a long standing interest in Lanai,” said Hawaiian Governor Neil Abercrombie in an announcement about Ellison’s purchase. “His passion for nature, particularly the ocean, is well-known, specifically in the realm of America’s Cup sailing.”
Lanai is known as Hawaii’s “Pineapple Island” and was once owned by the founder of Dole Food Company. The island’s most recent owner is 89-year-old billionaire David Murdock, who acquired it when he bought Dole owner Castle & Cook, the firm that obtained ownership of Lanai when it acquired Dole. Murdock says that he will still keep a home there.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”