Bill Gates is the wealthiest person on the planet with an estimated net worth of $85.9 billion. That amount of money is simply impossible for most people to wrap their brain around. As the mastermind that seized on the concept that licensing software could change the technology business forever, Gates founded Microsoft and never looked back. We’ve come a long way since DOS for sure. His net worth comes after an astonishing endowment to establish the famed Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After stepping down as the CEO and subsequently Chairman of Microsoft in 2008, Gates spends his time working through his foundation.
But when you’re worth more than every other human being currently alive on the earth, there isn’t anything you can’t afford. Money essentially has no limitation and so many things are possible. Most people think about what they would do with one million dollars and begin to dream. Gates is worth that one million dollars 85,900 times over! Everyone would assume that Gates would have multiple residences, several vehicles and his own aircraft, but there are a number of extras attached to his lifestyle that you may find surprising. So the following are some of the more interesting things that Gates does with his vast wealth.
15. Malaria Research
While the public knows of the Gates Foundation and its charitable efforts, not everyone realizes just how invested they are in a variety of research efforts. Bill has referred to Malaria as the “forgotten epidemic” and has pledged over $250 million toward research that will eradicate the disease. In fact, much of Gates’ wealth has centered around research and development of vaccines for diseases and other world health efforts.
He has pledged even more money to fund a great number of health related projects. It’s pretty amazing to consider that he has a big heart for a condition that does not have a direct impact upon him or his family. He saw a problem in the world and has taken on the responsibility to help solve that problem. Well done Bill… well done!
14. Sponsored A Poop-to-Water Machine
The machine is called an Omniprocessor, and it’s actually very cool! See, when you’re a billionaire, you can hear about cool things that seem a bit silly and take a very expensive walk down that path. But Gates isn’t just investing on a whim to be funny. The problem associated with poor sanitation practices is astounding. Apparently, over 700,000 children die every year as a result of poor sanitation.
Gates watched as feces went through a machine and was processed into clear, clean and delicious drinking water! He even took a long drink as it came out the other end (pardon the pun). As he describes in his personal blog, machines like this could go a long way to provide clean water and electricity, as well as provide proper human waste sanitation to the whole world. What a cool idea and a great investment.
13. Interchangeable Artwork
When you are the wealthiest person in the world, you want a mixture of variety and convenience. In Bill Gates’ home, he installed $80 thousand worth of computer screens to display art. Gates has a storage system of a very wide variety of artwork and photographs. Anyone can, at the touch of the screen display virtually any piece of art or photograph.
Changing the display and the images in the room is not something that most people even think of when they consider what they want for the decoration of their home. But Bill Gates considers that variety and convenience are absolute necessities for himself and the visitors he has to his home. The system that stores the digital artwork and photographs is apparently worth about $150 thousand.
12. Original Manuscript By Leonardo Da Vinci
Bill Gates has a great appreciation for both art and literature. When put up for auction, Gates spent over $30 million on the Codex Leicester written in the 16th century by Leonardo Da Vinci. Gates purchased this amazing piece of history in 1994. The codex gives a detailed look at the way Da Vinci viewed science and art. It was purchased by Gates from the estate of Armand Hammer.
Gates had the codex converted to digital images and has been put on display annually in a different city around the world. When you are worth billions of dollars, thirty million seems like a bargain for a piece of history that is so important to the world of science and art. The responsibility attached to owning such a piece of history is also staggering. Thankfully, Gates opted to take this responsibility very seriously and share it with the world.
11. Monitoring His Favorite Tree
Being Bill Gates has always carried a great deal of responsibility. For years, he was the CEO and Chairman of Microsoft and as such, was responsible for the livelihoods of each employee. When you have such a burden, it is important to find peace wherever possible. Bill Gates became fond of a particular tree at his home. This tree is near his driveway and is apparently approximately 40 years old.
This tree that he cares for so much is kept under 24 hour monitoring. If it gets too dry, the tree automatically gets watered. This is just one small addition that can be easily added when you’re Bill Gates. No one can blame him and if it causes less stress for him then more power to him.
10. His Children Will Not Inherit Everything
Bill and Melinda Gates have both made it clear over the years that their children will not be inheriting the bulk of their estate. Gates could set it up so that generations worth of Gates children never have to work a day in their lives, but this is not what he wants. They will get an amazing education through college, but then he wants them to go into the world and start their own careers.
While Gates won’t allow his children to be poor, it is his desire that they grow to make something for themselves. The idea that any children in the Gates family lineage would never work is something he couldn’t stand and simply won’t allow. So while they will inherit a large amount of money from Gates upon his death, it will only be a fraction of a fraction of his net worth.
9. Funded a Super Banana
I suppose $10 million to fund a genetically enhanced banana is no big deal when you’re the wealthiest man on earth. If you want a super banana, you get a super banana! Seems a bit odd and eccentric, but then again maybe he just really likes bananas. Well, like so many of his other investments, there’s a pretty awesome reason. In Africa, bananas are very abundant and a popular source of food. The banana itself though is not rich in vitamin A.
It turns out that vitamin A deficiency can cause problems with eyesight, including blindness. A deficiency in vitamin A is also bad for the immune system. So Gates saw the opportunity to enhance bananas with more vitamin A as a great chance to save more lives! Leave it to Bill Gates to be so innovative and creative with his money.
8. Air Travel
Microsoft company policy for a long time was that every employee flew coach. One former employee recounted a time in 1990 when he was traveling with Gates and sure enough, Bill himself was sitting in the coach section right along with the others. The word is that Bill actually flew coach until 1997. These days though, things are a little different.
Bill now owns a Bombardier BD-700 Global Express, which apparently seats 19 and costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million give or take. This is a far cry from flying coach, but of course things are a little different for him now. With philanthropic and research interests all over the earth, his need to travel is a little more frequent. Plus, let’s be honest, when you’re worth about $85 billion, you can splurge a bit.
7. Ending Poverty
Gates very publicly wants to end poverty. He is of the belief that through the intervention of some of the wealthiest people on earth, it is possible to create a better life for humanity. For this reason, beyond his work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he and Warren Buffett established The Giving Pledge Foundation. Both men, set out to meet with some of the wealthiest people in Asian nations to implore them to join the initiative.
If the goal of eradicating poverty is the mission of The Giving Pledge Foundation, then it will take a lot more than Bill and Warren, though, there are no two men better paired to convince others to join. Over 80 people have signed-on and pledged their support to the foundation. His giving spirit and drive to help others is truly inspirational for the world.
6. Xanadu 2.0
There’s been a lot of talk about some of the things in and around Gates’ home, but the home itself is a pretty amazing part of Bill Gates’ lifestyle. Named Xanadu 2.0, Gates’ home is a remarkable 66,000 square feet. It took him seven years to complete the home at a cost of about $63 million. Today, it is said that the property is worth over $123 million! The home has 24 bathrooms and a dining hall that can accommodate as many as 150 people.
The property includes a swimming pool that allegedly plays music under water. It also has a 2,100 square foot library with a couple of secret bookcases that pivot (how very Scooby Doo of him). His home theater is in the art deco style and has 20, very comfortable seats for viewing entertainment. Finally, Gates had the sand on the bank of the lake brought in by barge from St. Lucia! By the way, Xanadu 2.0 is so massive that he pays somewhere around $1 million a year in property taxes for the estate!
5. Bill Gates Only Speaks English
One of the biggest regrets of his life is that he didn’t learn to speak another language (not counting computer languages). He’s quoted from an online Reddit chat as saying: “I feel pretty stupid that I don’t know any foreign languages.” He’s stated that he’s worked a little to learn another language conversationally in the past, but just didn’t keep up with it enough to be successful.
He has praised Mark Zuckerberg for learning Mandarin fluently, wishing that he had the opportunity to converse with others in their native language. He’s mentioned that he took both Greek and Latin in school, earning good grades, but just wasn’t able to become conversational. There’s still plenty of time, as he’s far from an old man. Time will tell if this changes for Bill, since it seems to be something he feels strongly about. Mastering another language should be child’s play compared to creating Microsoft!
4. His Best Friend is Warren Buffett
Bill has written about his very close friendship that has lasted many years with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. The two spend time together as often as possible and have even created The Giving Pledge Foundation together. Gates will often travel to Omaha, Nebraska to see Buffett (who picks him up personally at the airport… no limo).
Bill Gates also considers Buffett to be a mentor. He keeps only two numbers on speed dial at his office and one of those is Warren Buffett. He’ll consider what his friend would do in a variety of situations. They enjoy spending time together and visiting. Warren even bought Bill’s meal at McDonald’s with coupons once. Pretty cool billionaire friendship if ever there was one.
3. Gates Got Himself An iPhone
Gates’ household pretty much uses Microsoft products exclusively. This is something they’ve hung onto for a number of years and for good reason. Bill is still very much the face of Microsoft. But in an interview in 2014, he admitted that he got an iPhone 5s and was very impressed. He didn’t ditch his Windows Phone, but he admitted that there were far more apps available for the iPhone and indicated that Microsoft missed the boat back in 2007, when the iPhone was coming out.
At the time that he got the iPhone 5s, Gates seemed a bit embarrassed at how much he was really able to accomplish. He admitted that there were so many more apps available and the utility was great. He even got his opportunity to beat U2 front man Bono at Candy Crush, which Bono apparently joked about. He hasn’t said much about future generations of iPhones, but this acquisition certainly was unexpected.
2. Bill Gates Loves Doing The Dishes
When we all do chores around the house, it’s pretty typical to think about how if we were wealthy, we could hire people to do them. There’s no shame in that, but for Bill Gates, who can afford any number of employees to do all his chores, he still loves doing the dishes every night. Gates has said that he likes the way he does the dishes, even though others volunteer.
Whether it’s for the purpose of relieving stress or even a way to boost his creativity is not certain. Indeed, research has shown that doing tasks that are somewhat mindless allows the mind to think more creatively and wander. So if Bill enjoys the task, it may or may not be for the purpose of relaxing his mind and getting some creative juices flowing. I wonder how many of the biggest business decisions of his life came after washing dishes?
1. He Is An Avid Blogger
He shares most all of his thoughts through a blog that is wealth of information on all of his projects and many personal insights. Gatesnotes.com provides readers with detailed glimpses into the wealthiest man on earth’s thoughts. Those that don’t know about Bill can read about him and his wife, along with the history of the founding of Microsoft and other ventures through his life.
Gates Notes also talks extensively about projects that are for the betterment of the world. Whether it is his philanthropic efforts to end poverty, ideas on the improving education or initiatives in the world of science and technology, he puts all of those thoughts in his blog. It is available for all to see and kept surprisingly current given his very busy schedule.