Trolling itself, Forbes has released a list of the most shameful 30 Under 30 laureates, who once included “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli and disgraced crypto moguls Sam Bankman-Fried and Caroline Ellison.
The influential 30 Under 30 list published annually by Forbes has taken a hilarious, yet self-loathing turn this year. The industry media published on Nov. 29 what it is calling its Under 30 Wall of Shame, which includes past names who have since fallen from grace due to various legal or ethical scandals, illustrating a stark contrast between early promise and subsequent downfall.
“Below are 10, out of 10,000, that we’d like to walk back. We’ll add more here as the years go on––the 30 Under 30 list is, by definition, future-facing, and not even Warren Buffett can predict with 100 percent accuracy. But we’d guess he’d be good with 99.9%.”
Topping the list of the most dubious individuals is Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, who made the list alongside his former girlfriend and co-CEO of Alameda Research Caroline Ellison, both of whom were from Forbes the class of 2021.
By 2022, investors had valued the Bahamas-based FTX and its US operations at $40 billion. However, in less than two years, Bankman-Fried was convicted on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy.
A fall from grace not lost on the publishers over at Forbes.
Chris Bakke, a tech entrepreneur, recently highlighted a startling contrast in a tweet regarding the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He pointed out that while these young achievers have collectively raised $5.3 billion in funding, there’s a darker side: some have been involved in frauds and scams totaling over $18.5 billion. Bakke’s figures, albeit roughly calculated, underscore a concerning trend where the line between innovation and fraudulence is increasingly blurred.
This issue is not directly related to Forbes, but instead reflects a broader societal issue also known as “fake it till you make it,” an ethos that prioritizes immediate success over sustainable growth, which analysts say can lead to folly.
In addition to Bankman-Fried and Ellison, others like Charlie Javice, Nate Paul, Martin Shkreli and Cody Wilson and Elizabeth Holmes made the list, notorious fraudsters who have made Forbes annual list in the past.