With an estimated net worth of $144 billion, Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is one of the world’s wealthiest people. The American business magnate is a software developer, investor, and philanthropist. In the 1970s and 1980s, he became one of the most famous entrepreneurs of the microcomputer revolution. He co-founded Microsoft in 1975 along with Paul Allen which led to him becoming a renowned self-made billionaire.
His success story isn’t a rags-to-riches one but he is an epitome of inspiration for many people across the globe.
The Microsoft Era
Born in 1955, William Henry Gates III was raised in Seattle, Washington within a fairly wealthy family but being bullied in his childhood, he was always inspired to achieve great things in life.
Gates was brilliant student and he had developed the passion for computers and programming early in his childhood. He was enrolled in the Lakeside Prep School where he wrote his first program at the age of 13. While in 8th grade, Gates built his first program in the General Electric machine in BASIC.
He got to know Paul Allen through school where they worked together on finding bugs in the PDP-10 system of the Computer Center Corporation. Thereafter, Gates got enrolled at Harvard College after graduating as a National merit scholar in school. Gates, however, spent majority of his time at Harvard using the computers.
In 1975, when the MITS Altair 8800 based on Intel’s 8080 CPU was released, Gates tried to gauge MITS’s interest as they saw it as an opportunity to start their own software company.
Gates and Paul met the MITS President and informed them about the BASIS interpreter for the platform even though they did not have a code written. The meeting was an instant success that helped them bag a deal with MITS to distribute the interpreter as Altair BASIC. Allen was hired into MITS and Gates took a leave from Harvard to work with him.. This partnership was named Micro-soft. A year later, the trade was registered as Microsoft Corporation with the hyphen being dropped.
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In 1980, Microsoft was approached by IBM for writing a BASIC interpreter for the new IBM PC. Microsoft partnered with IBM to bundle its operating system with the IBM computers. Under the deal, Microsoft received royalty from IBM for every sale.
Despite IBM’s name on the operating system, Microsoft was instantly identified as being very influential on the new computer. The computer came to be known as “Gates computer”. With the restructuring of the company in 1981, Gates became the president and board chairman.
In 1985, Microsoft launched its first retail version of Microsoft Windows and with the further launch of newer versions of Microsoft Windows by the 1990s, it had captured over 90% market share of the world’s personal computers.
When Bill and Paul Allen started Microsoft, their vision of a computer on every desktop seemed a farfetched dream to majority of the people. However, today, that vision has become a reality with personal technology becoming an integral part of society.
BILL GATES – The Legend
Bill Gates’s success is not just confined to the success of Microsoft, being a philanthropist has earned him immense recognition and success throughout the world. In 1994, Gates started William H. Gates Foundation by selling some of his shares in Microsoft.
In 2000, Gates established the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and in 2010, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet altogether launched ‘The Giving Pledge’. It is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest people to dedicate most of their wealth to philanthropy and more than 80% of Gates’ wealth is pledged to the ‘Giving Pledge’ charity upon his death.
After stepping down from the board, most of Gates’ time is spent in philanthropic activities and partaking in community projects.
In 2015, he launched a $5.5 billion effort to eradicate polio and in 2017 announced the formation of the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance Network (CHAMPS) to help prevent childhood deaths.
Philanthropic interests of Gates reflect his interest in sustainable technology and clean and green technology. Till today, Gates continues to be involved in various philanthropic and community projects. Having empathy and philanthropy go hand in hand with success in business is what makes the world’s self-made billionaire so successful.
The ‘Bill Gates success story’ continues to be an inspiration for the world and is a role model for many. Following are certain key take away from his success story:
- Always Believe in your passion
- Never lose hope during challenges
- Find your passion and build a venture around it
- Be focused on your goals and persistently pursue them!