Utter his name and you are bound to turn a few curious heads. He is highly popular and virtually recognizable in the most unprecedented regions of the world – the founding father of Microsoft and eager computer revolutionist that has made a dime too many. Bill Gates has been heading the Forbes billionaire list for ages for various reasons, but what exactly does this budding billionaire get up to when it is time to string up those big boy boots? Exactly when and where does he spend his wealth and fortune? Well, like most successful billionaires before him, such a man sprouted out of some humble roots.
Born to an upper middle class family, William Henry ‘Bill’ Gates III started out as an ordinary child with a keen interest for developing software gaming programs at the tender age of 13. After being banned by the Computer Center Corporation (CCC) along with three other schoolmates for exploiting bugs within CCC’s operating system to attain free computer time at an exclusive preparatory school dubbed the Lakeside School, the quartet of miscreants – including Gates himself, was then offered to work for CCC in exchange for additional computer time. Gates later worked with Information Sciences, Inc. to configure a computer program in Cobol alongside with Paul Allen, the present co-founder of Microsoft.
Gates graduated from the Lakeside School with an SAT score of 1590 out of 1600 – an astonishing feat that landed him a seat in Harvard. He then met Steve Ballmer, the present successor of Gates’s CEO seat in Microsoft. Gates then dropped out of Harvard to launch his very own company.
Both Gates and Allen teamed up to pique the interest of Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) president, Ed Roberts, by developing an Altair emulator that served as a BASIC interpreter and ran on a minicomputer. After scoring a successful deal with MITS in 1975, the dynamic duo named their team ‘Micro-Soft’, but promptly dropped the hyphen within a year of working in Albuquerque. As Microsoft became an official trademark and scored a hit with avid computer hobbyists that later began to secretly copy and distributed a pre-market copy of Microsoft’s BASIC program, Gates begin to develop a form of patenting for his software as a form of compensation for his hard work.
As Microsoft spread its wings and soared away from the MITS nest in 1976, both Gates and Allen relocated to Washington and continued to develop programming language software for a miscellany of systems. Gates oversaw the business and employees of the company, but was actively involved in writing over the code as well. After scoring a deal with IBM PC, Microsoft then went on to develop its standalone Operating System (OS) in 1985, which became the precursor to a hidden gold mine of its time.
Gates never kicked off his boots for a casual cup of coffee on a balmy Sunday evening. Focused and invigorated, he aggressively sought out product strategies to communicate brand awareness, never ceasing until Microsoft became the king of its industrial castle. Although Gates’s reputation for being a social hermit came under fire several times, he never seemed to give up. His persistence and diligence paid off in chunks of cash, and his management never wavered.
Gates was always verbally combative, never hesitating to throw the odds down when someone put the company’s long-term interest in danger. Critical and observant, he operated with a sarcasm meter that fired away mercilessly if he felt a proposed business plan had more holes in it than Swiss cheese. As notorious as his reputation was, Gates began to actively dedicate himself to philanthropic activities by 2006.
As Gates actively transcended down the Philanthropic pathway in life, most of his proceedings were funneled into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – a monumental charity hub that was set up alongside his wife, Melinda Gates. The couple alone has actively contributed $28 billion worth of charity donations around the world, with most of the causes stemming towards global health relief in third world and impoverished countries.
With Gates’s intervention, countries such as India have seen a dramatic drop in polio rates due to successful rounds of vaccination. Another common cause supported by the Gates Foundation includes the genetic engineering of flood and drought resistant crops. Despites the controversy shrouding from genetically modified organisms (GMO), Gates is convinced that by delivering this technology to underprivileged farmers across the globe, we will be one step closer to resolving the global food crisis.
Besides fighting Polio in third world countries and spreading GMO crops to help negate the lack of global food stocks, Gates has also signed the ‘Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge’, alongside key investor, Warren Buffet, and Facebook CEO and founder, Mark Zuckerberg. The pledge is a symbolic promise statement in which these successful billionaires aim to give away half their wealth over the course of their lives.
Hence, the Gates couple eventually plans to give away 95% of their present wealth to charity over the rest of their lives.
Dreams and desires are not too far off the charts with Bill Gates. Like any other individual, this IT revolutionist has his own retreats and personal room of relaxation – often in the form of regular hobbies just like everyone else. Despite his ingenious thoughts that has pretty much optimized the way we look at computers today, the man himself is fairly ordinary on the inside. A quiet book in bed is his constant companion – and his hours not spent reading is filled with tennis matches, basketball games and even cinematic movies.
Although Gates himself hardly watches television, the man himself sleeps six hours a day, believes humans are the byproducts of the evolutionary cycle and thinks the main distinguishing characteristic between a human and a computer is that a human composes of carbon whilst a computer consists of silicon. Quirky and strange, but just like any other, this fairly extraordinary man is just like you and I – a human being with the dreams and habits of the norm, but the brains and passion of the legend.