Entrepreneurship

Bill Gates Biography | Early Life | Education | Family | Business | Wealth

Mashum Mollah 18 September, 2023
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Bill Gates Biography

The name Bill Gates deserves many words and adjectives. The actions and the contributions behind this name are unparalleled both in the tech industry and Philanthropy. Bill Gates is An American Business mogul, software developer, author, investor, philanthropist, and more. His contribution to the world of computers is unparalleled. 

Gates co-founded Microsoft, the company that changed the world of computer software. He co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen and remained the Chief Executive Officer and Software Architect of Microsoft Corporation until 2014. 

As an entrepreneur and computer programmer, Bill Gates changed the way the world uses a computer.

He forged such a behemoth-like industry with focus, creativity, seeing the big picture, education, and passion. His contribution towards the greater good of humanity is incomparable. 

Contents

Early Life

Bill Gates Early Life

William Henry Gates III, known to the world as Bill Gates, was born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. His father, William H. Gates Sr., was an influential lawyer. Bill’s mother, Mary Maxwell Gates, worked in the First Interstate BancSystem for United Way Of America. 

Gates inherited his family name and is the fourth in the line of generations to inherit the name, William H. Gates. But he goes by William Gates III. Young Gates lived in Sand Point, Seattle, in a house that a rare tornado damaged when Gates was just seven years old. 

The Gates family was an upper-middle-class family. Growing up with an elder sister named Kristianne and a younger sister named Libby, Gates had a warm and healthy upbringing in a very competitive atmosphere that the Gates parents created for them. 

As a result, the three siblings were encouraged to strive for competitive growth. Bill Gates has an ancestry of English, German, & Irish/ Scottish-Irish origin.

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Early Achievements

Gates & Allen had multiple disagreements during high school, but their mutual love for computers eventually bonded them back. The duo started Traf-o-Data, a computer program for monitoring traffic in Seattle. 

With this first computer program, Gates & Paul started their business at 15 in 1970. Their joint effort helped them earn $20000.

Allen went to Washington State University, and Gates went to Harvard after high school. But none of them stayed in the University until graduating. Paul Allen left college to work for Honeywell in Boston, and Gates joined him soon after. 

Education

Bill Gate Education

Gates entered Lakeside Prep School at the age of 13; this is where he wrote his first-ever computer program. He was an allrounder when it came to his performance in different subjects. His intelligence bloomed so efficiently in math and science while doing equally well in drama and English.

During his school life, Gates developed his fascination for computers and the way they function. He spent hours in the computer room at his school. His earlier interest in programming bloomed in the form of a tic-tac-toe program, which allowed the users to play games against the computer. 

Bill finished his high school in Lakeside School in 1973. He was a National Merit Scholar at his graduation; He even scored 1590 out of 1600 when he graduated from Lakeside School. 

Gates’ parents always wanted for young Gates to become a lawyer. So they sent him to Harvard University after Gates finished his high school in Lakeside. At Harvard, Gates met his friend Steve Ballmer. 

After two years, he dropped out of Harvard University, while his friend Steve Ballmer stayed there and graduated. 

Meeting & Partnership With Paul Allen

Meeting & Partnership With Paul Allen

In Lakeside School, Gates met his best friend, Paul Allen. Allen was two years older than Gates. The two of them had their differences in personalities. Gates was aggressive, while Allen was shy and reserved compared to a much younger Bill Gates. Despite the differences, they stayed together and worked together.

Dawn Of Microsoft 

Although they parted during their time in college, Gates and Allen stayed in touch with each other. During this time, Allen showed Gates Popular Electronics Magazine, which featured the Altair 8800 mini-computer kit. They were fascinated by the possibilities that this computer had for personal computing.

MITS, or Micro Instrumentation & Telemetry Systems, was the company that made the Altair 8800. The two contacted the company and claimed to be developing software to run on this computer. However, they needed an Altair to run their code on or work with, which they did not have. 

Ed Roberts, the president of the Albuquerque-based company MITS, asked the duo to exhibit their work. Gates and Allen spent the next two months writing their BASIC-based software in the computer lab of Harvard University. 

Although they never ran the program on an Altair computer, Allen travelled to Albuquerque to demonstrate in MITS. To their surprise, the program worked perfectly on the Altair 8800. MITS offered Allen a job, and Gates left Harvard and joined him soon after. 

Together with his best friend Paul Allen, Gates founded the root of Microsoft, which would change the future of personal computing forever. The technical innovation, aggressive business strategies, and smart tactics of Gates worked together to make Microsoft the most significant software business globally. 

Business 

Microsoft, the world-renowned software company, belongs to Bill Gates. He also has millions of dollars worth of shares in many other companies. 

1. Microsoft

Microsoft 

Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed Microsoft in 1975. The company’s name is an amalgamation of “Micro-computer” and “software.” It was Allen who came up with the name Microsoft. Microsoft developed its first software to run on the Altair computer.

In 1978, Microsoft founded its first international office in Japan. The company moved to Washington from Albuquerque in 1979 because the best programmers were scarce in Albuquerque. 

The road to success for Microsoft could have been smoother at the start. Microsoft indeed had its royalties and fees for the BASIC program of Altair computers, but it was not enough. According to Gates, only 10% of the BASIC-based Altair users paid for the software.

Computer enthusiasts then tended to reproduce the software after possessing one of the software’s pre-market copies. The computer hobbyists distributed the software copies among their friends and other users. Gates saw this action as stealing. 

To stop the act of stealing the software that was originally made, Gates wrote an open letter in a defensive way, declaring that the free circulation of software would only stand in the way of creators making better software in the future. Although many didn’t take his view about free software distribution as infringement positively, Gates stuck to his belief.

As mentioned earlier, the early roads of Microsoft could have been smoother, but the company soon started growing. In 1979, Microsoft grossed $2.5 million. Then, at 23, Gates became the head of Microsoft. 

Gates became the board’s president and chairman, and Allen became the vice president. Steve Ballmer later joined Microsoft in 1980. He succeeded Gates in becoming the company’s CEO( 2000-2014). 

In early 1983, Allen left the company after being diagnosed with cancer, although he remained the vice president and vice-chairman.

Gates started his business leadership with his software development talent, leading the company to a newer pathway of success while working as its spokesperson and reviewing its shipments of codes. He rewrote the codes when he felt it necessary. 

2. Business With IBM

Business With IBM

Following the mention of Microsoft by Bill’s mother, Mary Maxwell Gates, John Opel, the CEO of IBM, reached out to Bill Gates. John wanted new operating system software for the computers that IBM produced. IBM, at that time, supplied computer equipment to commercial enterprises. 

The IBM representative mentioned that they needed Microsoft to Build Operating software for their upcoming computer IBM PC. Gates first referred them to Digital Research, makers of the CP/M operating system. However, due to problems in negotiation, IBM couldn’t partner with Digital Research. 

Soon after, Gates and Allen approached IBM, suggesting using 86-DOS, an operating system that Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products had developed. Microsoft closed a deal with SCP, becoming first the exclusive licensing agent of 86-DOS and later the owner. 

Microsoft sent the operating system PC DOS to IBM for a one-time fee of $ 50,000. Gates, however, did not transfer the copyright of the OS over to IBM. 

Microsoft’s partnership with IBM earned them only a small fortune, but the recognition they deserved was massive; the partnership paved the way for Microsoft to become the world’s largest software company. 

3. Windows

Windows

The Windows OS was a competitive response of Microsoft to the Macintosh GUI of Apple. On November 20, 1985, Microsoft released the first version of Windows. Microsoft and IBM primarily made a deal to create a new operating system, but their creative differences got in the way, and the plan failed. 

Microsoft grew the Windows operating system out of the DOS for a decade. However, Windows XP was reportedly the first version of Windows to not be based on DOS. Windows XP came out one year after Bill Gates stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft.

Later, the OS evolved into more modern and smoother versions, and currently, Windows 11 is reigning in the world of computers.

Bill Gates Business Beyond Microsoft

Aside from Microsoft, Bill Gates has many other business ventures that most people do not know of. Here are some of the notable business ventures.

  • Gates has the largest single stake in the CN stock.
  • Bill has a 16% stake in trading on the NYSE.
  • Bill founded a private investment company named Cascade Investment LLC. The HQ of this organization is in Kirkland.
  • Via Cascade Investment LLC, Gates owns 242,000 acres of land across 19 states of the US. 
  • Gates founded Corbis, a company for digital image licensing.
  • Bill Gates donated a large amount of funding to EarthNow, a startup company from Seattle that aims to cover the earth with live satellite video coverage.
  • He founded a company named Impossible Foods that produces plant-based substitutes for meat. 
  • As of 2012, Gates has a 25% stake in Ecolab, a global water, hygiene, food, and healthcare provider.
  • Gates co-founded and chaired a nuclear reactor designer company named TerraPower. 

Bill Gates, An Environmentalist

The billionaire entrepreneur didn’t only make a fortune by building and developing Microsoft. He also happens to be very attentive to the current condition of the global climate and its transition towards a possibly catastrophic end. 

He firmly believes that innovating sustainable energy is the pathway to a greener and cheaper future. Only the use of sustainable energy can reduce the emission of greenhouse gas down to zero. This initiative will also be capable of bringing economic stability globally.

In his book How To Avoid A Climate Disaster, Gates propagated the rapid innovation of pollution-free sustainable energy. Together with his wife, Melinda Gates, Bill took it upon himself to promote social justice and take global health initiatives through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates asks many wealthy business personalities and governments to invest in financially risky projects to develop sustainable energy sources. Bill funded billions of American dollars in clean energy research startups like Breakthrough Energy. 

He took two initiatives called Mission Innovation and Breakthrough Energy. The first initiative made 20 national governments pledge to invest in clean energy production; the latter is for risky investors who agreed to invest in such projects.

Personal Life

The following sections talk about the personal life of Bill Gates, including his marital status and offspring.

Wife & Children

Bill Gates Wife & Children

Bill Gates met Melinda French in 1987. At that time, she was a product manager at Microsoft. Gates married Melinda on January 1, 1994, on a Hawaiian island named Lanai. The couple has three children named Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe.

On May 3, 2021, Bill & Melinda announced their divorce after 27 years of married life. However, they promised to still act on charitable causes together. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Melinda had wanted to divorce Bill in 2019. Bill’s unclear relationship with Jeffery Epstein was probably the reason behind the two of them divorcing. 

Philanthropy

The world knows Bill Gates not only as the world’s richest man but also as one of the greatest philanthropists that the world has ever seen. Bill Gates started a charitable foundation back in 1994 named “William H Gates Foundation.”

In 2000, Gates and his wife, Melinda, combined three foundations and created The Bill & Melinda Foundation. Bill himself donated $5 billion to the foundation. In 2013, the foundation became the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation.

According to the BBC, a newspaper report about millions of yearly child deaths by preventable disease in poorer countries, bereaved couples who recently became parents. Bill sent the newspaper article to his father, asking if they could do anything to prevent those deaths.

That is where the idea started. The couple created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which spends billions of dollars to prevent infectious diseases, prevent child deaths, and reduce poverty in many poorer countries. 

The couple reportedly spent $36 billion between 1994 and 2018 on the foundation. In addition, the US tycoon Warren Buffett has also made a lifetime pledge to donate more than $30 billion to the foundation. 

Together, they announced the Giving Pledge in 2010 to donate a major portion of their wealth to charitable causes. The couple also inspires other wealthy people to spend their wealth for charity.

The foundation has been working to abolish diseases like malaria and Aids and has partnered with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to provide COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries. 

The foundation has given scholarships to 20000 US students with low income. And, the foundation functions in 135 countries and has around 1600 employees worldwide, tirelessly working to make the foundation’s goal a reality.

Wealth

In March of 1986, Gates took his company, Microsoft, public. The initial public offering was $21 per share. This event made Gates a millionaire very soon at the age of 31. He possessed 45 % of 24.7 million shares of the company. His stake in $520 million worth Microsoft was worth $234 million at that time.

Only after a year, in 1987, Gates became a billionaire when the company’s stock reached $90.75 per share. Gates has been the world’s wealthiest person since 1995 and has held the position through the years until 2017. He held the top positions in Forbes’ annual list of 400 wealthiest people in America for a long time.

The current net worth of Bill Gates is $124 billion.

Achievements

  • Bill Gates has won several awards. He achieved the National Medal of Technology & Innovation in 1992. 
  • In 1994, he was awarded the Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society award
  • He also achieved the Satellite Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Entertainment New Media in 1997
  • He was awarded the Silver Buffalo in 2010.
  • In 2013, the Bambi Millennium Award was given to Gates. Also, the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award was given to him in the same year.
  • Bill Gates was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2015.
  • In 2016, Bill Gates achieved the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Interesting Facts About Bill Gates

Interesting Facts About Bill Gates
  • Gates created his first computer program when he was a teenage boy.
  • Realizing his skills in coding, the school let him write the school’s computer program that scheduled students in classes.
  • Bill Gates scored 1590 out of 1600 in his annual high school exam
  • Gates doesn’t have a college degree. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard in 1975 to build Microsoft.
  • Bill became a billionaire at the age of 31.
  • Despite being a billionaire, Gates used to travel by economy class flights until 1997. Right now, he owns his flight, which he calls a “big splurge.”
  • Gates’ large library has a quotation engraved from The Great Gatsby.
  • His days are planned according to minutes. He leads a very disciplined life. 
  • Gates loves to play golf, bridge, and tennis. 
  • Bill possesses a series of writings by Leonardo da Vinci named Codex Leicester. He bought it at an auction in 1994 for $30.8 million.
  • Gates intends to leave only a fraction of his wealth for his kids. According to him, each of his children will only get $10 million.
  • Gates revealed that he was colour-blind in 2016.
  • Bill Gates used to memorize the license plates of his employees.
  • The pool in Bill Gates’ house Xanadu 2.0 has an underwater music system. 
  • According to him, his biggest regret is not knowing any other language than English.
  • Bill Gates reads 50 books every year.
  • If his plans for Microsoft weren’t a success, Gates would have been a researcher for artificial intelligence.
  • Bill Gates earns $127 per second per minute. He earns $7,610. He earns almost $10,959,000 every day. 

Best Quotes

  • “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
  • “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
  • “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
  • “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
  • “Software is a great combination between artistry and engineering.”
  • “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
  • “By improving health, empowering women, population growth comes down.”
  • “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
  • “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”
  • “I don’t know has become ‘I don’t know yet.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

With almost every bit of relevant information about Bill Gates, here are some frequently asked questions about Bill Gates.

Q1. What Are 3 Facts About Bill Gates?

A: Although we have covered almost all significant factors about Bill Gates, let’s focus on some highlighted topics. First, Bill Gates was born on October 28, 1955. Second, he founded the world’s largest software company, Microsoft, and he has been the wealthiest man on earth from 1999 to 2017.

Q2. What Was Bill Gates’ First Job?

A: The first job Bill Gates got was at the age of 15. He worked for TRW as a computer programmer. He got the job in his senior year as a high schooler. Later, Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft Corporation and became the world’s wealthiest person. 

Q3. How Much Bill Gates Makes In A Day?

A: Between 2017 to 2018, Bill Gates earned almost 11 million every day. The number tripled from 2018 to 2019. Bill makes $9.8 million every day as of January 2021.

Q4. How Much Is Bill Gates’s House Worth?

A: Bill Gates owns a mansion in Medina, Washington. The 66,000 sq ft house has some high-tech equipment. Xanadu 2.0, the estate of Gates, is worth $147.5 million. It has a 60ft wide swimming pool with an underwater music system, a 2500 sq ft gym, and a 1000 sq ft dining room. 

Q5. What Cars Does Bill Gates Drive?

A: Bill Gates is a collector of Porsche cars. He has a Porsche 911, Porsche 930, and also a rare Porsche 959. In Xanadu 2.0, the mansion of Bill Gates, there is room for 23 cars. Bill has several other vehicles. But he mainly drives his Porsche. Recently, he purchased the Porsche Teycan electric car. 

Conclusion

For rising entrepreneurs looking for leadership inspiration, Bill Gates’ leadership qualities are must-study learning materials. His entrepreneurial spirit is evident in his action to drop out of University with a firm belief in his capabilities and build what we know as the world’s largest software company.

Bill, as a transformational leader, always tried to spike personal creativity within his team members. He focused more on individual support and encouragement instead of making it a team-based thing. Gates motivated workforce members individually and inspired them, building a pathway toward a definite goal.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is a tech entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights, and experiences in this blog. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you.

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