SHAI AGASSI, SAP: The Software Industry's New New Man

SHAI AGASSI SAP

How does a guy become chief technology developer of the world's largest business-software company by age 34? Answer: by getting an early start. Shai Agassi, the diminutive Israeli wunderkind of German powerhouse SAP, programmed his first computer at age 7. "Other kids collected baseball cards," says Agassi with a grin. "I collected punch cards."

Most baseball-mad kids don't end up playing in the major leagues, but Agassi's prodigious talent wouldn't quit. He started four companies in his 20s and sold one, Top Tier, to SAP for $400 million. He ran a subsidiary, SAP Portals, and developed XApps--new software designed to...

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