THREAD: Today Sheldon Adelson, the 19th richest American, died at age 87.

He leaves behind a net worth of $33B. Most notable for his role as a casino magnate and megadonor to the GOP.

But what you might not know how he transformed the tech industry.
2) Sheldon Adelson was born in Dorchester, a suburb of Boston. His father was a taxi driver, and his mother ran a knitting shop.

He was an entrepreneur from a young age, starting his first business at age 12 selling newspapers.
3) He enrolled in college at the City University of New York, but dropped out and ended up enrolling in the Army.

After the Army, he started a handful of businesses and finally found his first success with COMDEX.
4) COMDEX, which stood for Computer Dealers' Exhibition, planned to be a computer trade show held in Las Vegas.

The first event took place in 1979.
5) Adelson knew very little about computers, but he did understand the conference business. He saw an opportunity to be the premier trade show for the budding computer industry.

And he was right. The first event had 4,000 attendees and 167 exhibitors.
6) COMDEX took off in 1983 when Microsoft and their CEO, Bill Gates, started attending. Bill Gates keynoted every COMDEX conference from 1983 until its second to last conference in 2002.
7) COMDEX became the go-to conference for programmers and techies.

At its peak, COMDEX was bringing in 200,000+ guests to Las Vegas. It held yearly events in 21 different locations. In its 24 year history, it held more than 185 shows.
8) With the money he was making from COMDEX, he purchased the Las Vegas Sands in 1989. A year later, he completed the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Continuing to build on the thesis that conferences were the future of Las Vegas.
9) In 1995, Softbank bought COMDEX from Adelson for $885M.

At that point, he had not only made COMDEX the largest computer conference in the world but turned Las Vegas into the premier destination for conferences.
10) COMDEX went defunct in 2003, but its rival CES is now the largest tech conference in the world. CES 2020 brought in 182,000 people to Las Vegas.

CES wouldn't be where it is today without COMDEX.
11) Adelson is most known for his role as a casino magnate and political donor.

But don't forget that he helped give the tech industry a stage and voice when it was just beginning.
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