Behind every great man is a great woman. Just ask Henry Ross Perot.
Like her mother and sister before her, a Pennsylvania ingenue named Margot Birmingham went to Goucher College, in Baltimore. There she met a Naval Academy midshipman from Texas. His name was Henry Ross Perot. Their romance begot a marriage. Like the spouses of many entrepreneurs, Margot played a key -- but overlooked -- role in her husband's business. In 1962, Ross decided to quit his sales job to build a company that would explain computers to the world. Margot, then a schoolteacher, lent him $1,000 of her savings to start the business. Twenty-two years later General Motors acquired Electronic Data Systems, paying Ross enough in stock to make him the largest single share- holder of the largest company in the world. Eventually, GM bought Ross's stock for $700 million. In the following years, the Perots spent $60 million financing a quirky 1992 presidential bid. And the couple donated $1 million to Goucher College.
MIKE HOFMAN was previously editor of Inc.com and a deputy editor at Inc. magazine, which he joined in 1996. The site was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Digital Media in 2010, and was named the best business website by Folio Magazine. In 2006, Hofman was part of a team of writers nominated for a Webby Award for best business blog. He lives in New York City. @mikehofman