April 23, 2014 -- intro: They're busy, demanding and very rich. What is it like to work for billionaire bosses? A lot of employees would risk their livelihoods and reputations to share stories about bad ones, but we do hear stories of some pretty stellar, ultra-wealthy bosses once in a while. Here are a handful who stand out:
quicklist: title: Paul Allen media: 23442678 category: Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) text: Worth an estimated $15.9 billion, according to Forbes, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dabbles in a number of ventures, including The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2). Based in Seattle, the institute is led by Dr. Oren Etzioni, a computer science professor at the University of Washington and entrepreneur who was lured by Allen to be the CEO of the organization.
The goal of Etzioni's research, AI2's website states, is "to solve fundamental problems in AI, particularly the automatic learning of knowledge from text."
As it turns out, Etzioni spilled to Business Insider that working for Allen comes with its perks. In addition to praising Allen's passionate involvement with the organization's "intellectual challenges," including brain-storming sessions, there's the fact that Allen is owner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
"My wife and I had the huge privilege of being invited to attend the Super Bowl. We got to watch the Seahawks win, and even attend the after-party with the players, which was incredibly generous of Paul and the best perk I could imagine," Etzioni told Business Insider.
Maybe billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, should reward "Shark Tank" contestants with basketball tickets.
Read More: 9 Little Known Facts About Mark Cuban
quicklist: title: Jeff Bezos media: 23442629 category: Amazon text: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos certainly earned a "Best Boss" mug from an early Amazon employee who decided to ask the billionaire (worth an estimated $29.9 billion by Forbes) for a donation in support of a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington state back in 2012.
Maybe, more appropriately, Bezos' mug should read "Best Ex-Boss."
Jennifer Cast, one of Amazon’s earliest employees when there were probably less than 100 on the company payroll, hadn't kept in touch after she left the company and became fundraising chairwoman of the pro-gay marriage campaign.
A lesbian mother of four, she took a chance and sent an email asking Bezos for $100,000 to $200,000, The New York Times reported. Two days later she received a response from Bezos, also on behalf of his wife.
“Jen,” the e-mail said, “this is right for so many reasons. We’re in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.”
quicklist: title: Warren Buffett media: 23442127 category: Berkshire Hathaway text: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, the second-richest man in the country after Bill Gates, has been called not only a great investor, but a great manager by CEOs of the companies he owns.
"Mostly, they say, by not meddling," reports D Magazine.
Buffett is known for his straightforward, down-to-earth lifestyle, including celebrating his 2006 wedding to Astrid Menks at a local restaurant after a small 15-minute ceremony.
“I would describe it as very strange and almost bizarre the way he manages, because he doesn’t manage,” Matt Rose, now chairman of Buffett-owned Burlington Northern Santa Fe, told the magazine last year. “He takes companies that he likes, he spends a lot of time in terms of developing the goals of how management will be compensated and how the scorecard will look, and then he allows management to run the company.”
quicklist: title: Sergey Brin media: 23442293 category: Google text: Google co-founder Sergey Brin, worth an estimated $29 billion, according to Forbes, has said that he has a more behind-the-scenes role at Google while co-founder Larry Page holds the role of CEO.
While personal stories about Brin have mostly focused of late on his recent divorce and reported affair with a younger employee, it's not hard to imagine it would be pretty neat working for Brin's "secret" Google X lab, for the tech company's special projects like Glass and driverless cars.
“Sergey is a beloved oddball of a guy, and unlike Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, he’s the one who gets to do the cool stuff at Google,” an unnamed "industry observer" told Vanity Fair. “He said, ‘Larry, you do the hard, prestigious work, and at the end of your life you’ll do the fun stuff, like Bill Gates. But I’m cutting out the bulls*** and Davos [World Economic Forum] and doing the fun stuff right now.’"
quicklist: title: Larry Page media: 23443134 category: Google text:
You can't mention Sergey Brin without mentioning Larry Page and Google's list of accolades as one of the repeated contenders in multiple "best companies to work for" lists, including at the top of Forbes' 2014 ranking.
“Larry and Sergey genuinely care about innovation, and part of that means genuinely caring about employees so they do the best and most creative work they can do,” a former Googler told Vanity Fair in an article earlier this month.
quicklist: title: Oprah Winfrey media: 23442534 category: OWN text:
Oprah Winfrey: the media mogul, the legend. People have all sorts of things to say about the beloved talk-show host and owner of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Janet Lee, a former senior field producer for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” once told celebrities site Pop Sugar that Oprah is respectful, down-to-earth and caring.
"When I finally got to Oprah, I felt like I reached the Ivy Leagues of television. In all aspects, everyone who worked for her were at the top of their game. Whether it was lighting, design, graphic design, editing, you were working with the top of the top, so you really felt honored," Lee told the website. "It was really collaborative and exciting and no one wanted to disappoint her. We were all overachievers anyways, so to have a whole company of, sort of, overachieving, multitalented people was just an honor."