It is interesting to note that AltaVista came within 2-3 days of IPOing. Had we IPOed, several people's fortunes would have been quite different. As it is, there are some sad tales of former AVers: two are deceased, one was tried and confessed to breaking into AV machines, and several were unemployed for years at a time. There were those who changed careers, either out of necessity or desire; some like what they do now better than what they did. Some went on to Yahoo! and have had some success. One went to Google after leaving eBay. Some have gone to startups; one eventually wound up at Microsoft and seems happy there. Offhand, I don't know of anyone who made a lot of money off of AV. I've heard of a few cases where people lost a lot of money on their pre-IPO options.
So, if AV had IPOed, and I'd become wealthy, what would I be doing today? Probably the same things I'm doing now, except I would have more money, so I wouldn't have to look for a job. I'd spend my days practicing piano, walking, dancing, learning French, etc. I'd sing with my chorus. Perhaps I'd donate some money for us to have public storage space to hold our music library. I'd also donate money to the 'tute, Stuy, UCLA, and some other places.
There is one snippet I wanted to call attention to:
"Taking a job at Google six years ago, when the company was just another money-losing startup, paid off handsomely for Aydin Senkut."
Switching from CPM to CPC advertising helped transform Google from a money-losing startup into the goliath it is today.