What does it mean to be the richest man in the world? Must be pretty exciting! I can bet anything I have and say that everyone who is reading this has imagined at least once in their life that they were the richest person on the planet. It is one of those dreams that many people have. But, how many of them can accomplish it?Well, we know of one man who has achieved this amazing feat early in his life. Yes, I am talking about none other than Bill Gates. He has been one of the pioneers of innovation and technology. He accomplished the perfect blend of talent, business, and humanity. Everybody knows what he has achieved, but do we know his journey?
There are many who dream, but only a few who can make those dreams come true. These people are not someone who are born with special magic powers. They are people just like us, but what makes them extraordinary? There is no reason why you cannot achieve something amazing in life if you want to. We can always look at these revolutionary people and learn from what they did, and carve our paths. So, let us look at one of the most influential people of all time and his journey to being the ‘Richest man on Earth.’William Henry Gates III was born shortly after 9 pm on the 28th of October 1955 to William Gates Sr. and Mary Maxwell. Bill Gates was born in an upper-middle-class family where everyone had achieved great things in life. He was born in a family which was filled with people who were rich, business-minded. Political, as well as believing in community service.
His father was a very affluent lawyer while his mother was a renowned local teacher who was even involved in the local businesses throughout her life. He was the middle child, and he had an elder and a younger sister.He was born in a very secure household that was capable of providing him the strong foundation that he required. He had a very carefree and wonderful childhood. He was a very happy child who grew up in a loving and caring atmosphere. He also had a very active social life when he was young. Moreover, he would participate in many different activities, including sports. He had a wonderful start to his life.When he started growing up, he started showing signs of his rapidly enhancing intellect. He was an extremely clever young boy and did exceptionally well in his academics. However, the regular school systems could not cope up with him anymore. They could no longer make him interested in his studies.
He was easily bored, and nothing could make him excited anymore. Moreover, this frustration started showing as behavioral problems in him.When he was twelve years old Gates Sr. had thrown water on William Gates Jr.’s face because of a very angry fight he had with his mother. His parents realized what the root cause was and they decided to make a change. They put him through counseling so that they could deal with some of these issues.They also recognized that he needed a special school where his talent could get a proper direction, and he would have a proper challenge in his life. So, at the age of thirteen, he was enrolled into Seattle Lakeside School which was exclusively for children like him.Lakeside had a rigorous study program that had higher difficulty levels than other schools, and it also provided the kind of freedom that was required for the children to explore their talents.
The Lakeside school was filled with people like Gates, and he enjoyed being with like-minded people. This turned out to be a turning point for Gates, for this is where he was going to recognize his true passion and meet people who were going to be with him in his future endeavors.The Lakeside school was the place where he met Paul Allen who was later going to become his business partner in Microsoft. He also met many of the people who were going to be one of the first employees of Microsoft. This was also the place where Bill Gates was introduced to computers which later went on to become the love of his life.Computers were very expensive back in those days and it was difficult for the school to afford them. However, they bought a computer link terminal from a company so that the students could learn. This way, they did not actually purchase it, but students could still use it.
That is when Bill Gates and his friends first came in contact with the computer. They would spend nights after nights on the computer learning every aspect of it. However, they used it so much that they spent up all the hours that the school had bought from the company. And hence, the company stopped giving the link terminal to the school anymore. However, another opportunity cropped up soon enough.
In 1968, Computer Center Corporation was established in Seattle. And the child of the owner was studying in Lakeside School which is why the school got a link terminal again. Gates and his gang started working passionately on it again. However, this did not bode well for the Computer Center Corporation as it resulted in the system crashing many times. Moreover, this young breed of hackers broke down the security of the computer. Not only that, but they also altered the files that recorded the hours logged in by the school students. This was not received very well by the company, and they banned these students from using the computer for several weeks. During the glorious days where Bill Gates and his friends would learn the computer, they would skip classes and submit assignments late.
The entire group was crazy about programming and they had recognized their passion. Bill Gates and Paul Allen were determined to use their skills in the real world for which they founded the ‘Lakeside Programmer’s group’ in 1968.They did not have to search far and wide for their first opportunity. Unfortunately, Computer Center Corporation was suffering due to exactly the same reasons for which they had banned the Lakeside programmers. The system would frequently crash and the security of the computer was very weak. They hired these students to find the bugs in their system. And in return, they gave them the one thing they wanted the most, unlimited computer time! For all the help the Lakeside Programmers group was doing for the Computer Center they got unlimited time on computers. It was there where they gained and polished their skills which would later help them to develop Microsoft.
Soon, they found another opportunity to showcase their skills when they were given an opportunity by Information Science Inc. They wanted the Lakeside programmers to write a payroll program. This was the first opportunity where they were going to work as well as get paid for it. However, to strike a deal with ISI, they had to first become a legitimate company.This is when Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded ‘Traf-o data’, their first company. This company lasted till Gates left for college. For every computer with their software, they were going to get paid. They earned about $20,000 from this venture.In his junior year at Lakeside, Gates was offered a job by Lakeschool to create a scheduling system for the school. So both Gates and Paul Allen spent their junior year developing the software for them.
In their senior year too, they were looking for such opportunities where they could earn money as well as put their skills to good use.Soon after they created the scheduling program for Lakeside, in their senior year, they were approached by TRW as they were facing issues with a computer full of glitches just like the one at the Computer Center and that is why they approached them. For the first time, they were actually responsible for finding as well as fixing the bugs. This is where Bill Gates and Paul Allen thought seriously for the first time about having their own software company.Once Gates was done with his senior year, it was time for him to go to college. He had a score of 1590 on his SATs which was an almost perfect score. He was ready to go to Harvard and begin a new leg of his journey.
Gates had no idea what he wanted to study when he started at Harvard, but he liked being among people who were similar to him. He was not clear on what he wanted his major to be, but he put himself down for Pre Law. He chose all the basic courses in his first year at Harvard, except the maths program. He chose an advanced maths program as he was gifted in mathematics.Naturally, he did well there too, however, he was not happy. He constantly felt as though something was amiss. That is when he found the computer room of Harvard. It felt as if he had found something that he had lost centuries back. He was ecstatic to be reunited with his passion. During this time, Gates and Allen remained in contact with each other and thought about their future plans and starting their company one day.
At the end of first, they decided that Allen should move closer to them so that they can carry forward their plans. Paul Allen had already dropped out of university in Washington, and so he moved to Boston. That summer, both of them got jobs at Honeywell. Now, Allen was pushing Gates to think about starting their own software company.However, Gates liked college and he was not ready to drop out yet. He liked being around like-minded people and studying, so he was not keen on leaving college. However, things were soon about to take a sharp turn.
It was a day like any other. However, something had made Paul Allen very excited and he hurried off to Gates’s dormitory. He was holding a copy of the Popular Electronics magazine.And there on the cover was the photo of Altair with the caption, ‘World’s First Microcomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models.’ It was the most exciting and thought provoking news for them.They both recognized that this was an opportunity like no other. The market was going to fill with computers like this and there was going to be a need for software.They knew that they simply had to take this opportunity. So, they called MITS, which was making the Altair 8080, and told them that they had a program called BASIC that could work on the Altair 8080. The people at MITS were extremely intrigued, and they wanted to give these boys a chance.
However, what Gates and Paul had told MITS was a complete lie. They had nothing ready with them, not even a word of the code. So, from that moment on, it was full steam ahead. Both of them started working tirelessly to come up with a BASIC program that they had to present to MITS.The coding part was Bill’s domain, while Paul made himself busy with making a simulation so that their code would work on Altair. Both of them had never worked on Altair and they had never seen one up close. So, Allen was working on the school computers. The first time ever that they were going to run this simulation on an Altair was when they were going to present it in front of MITS.In ten weeks, the code was ready. Allen flew down to give a presentation to MITS. There were so many things that could go wrong. For example, if the code was faulty, then the presentation would fail.
If the simulation was not compatible with Altair, the presentation was going to fail. However, it was a huge success! Everything went according to plan and MITS wanted to buy the rights to the BASIC software.That is when Gates realized that the world was ready for a boon in the software industry. And, realizing the importance of time and the need of the world, Gates decided to follow in on the footsteps of Allen and dropped out of college, and hence, Microsoft came to life.When Bill Gates made the decision to quit, his parents were concerned, as they were keen on him pursuing law, as that was what his father was doing. However, when they saw that he was firm on his decision, they decided not to stand in his way and let him follow his dream. Later while talking to people Bill Gates said that he loved college, and he did not encourage anyone to drop out, and he did it because it was the best decision at that time.
The true first big break for Microsoft came when IBM wanted them to develop the software that would go on their machines. Before it was a small start-up, however after this, truly big things were afoot for Microsoft. They designed MS-DOS for IBM. This is where we can see a hint of the successful businessman that he is today. Instead of selling the entire software of MS-DOS and giving them the ownership of the software, they gave them the license to use it, retaining the ownership of the software. For every piece sold by IBM, Microsoft would get a commission for their software installed in their system. This brilliant idea later proved to be genius when the software industry started really booming in the 80s. They gave the license to use MS-DOS to the competitors of IBM. it was ultimately the deal that led to Bill Gates’s fortune that he earned so soon.
Just when Microsoft was reaching amazing heights, Paul Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, which meant that he had blood cancer. He fell terminally ill after that and Bill Gates became the sole representative of Microsoft. But, Bill did not let this hamper their dream. He kept working on it. In 1985, he launched the first edition of Microsoft Windows. This was going to become the foundation on which personal computers were going to be run for at least twenty odd years. Once Microsoft had achieved this amazing feat, Bill Gates decided that it was time to make Microsoft Public. In the next year, that is in 1986, one share of Microsoft was valued at $21. He retained 45% of the shares of Microsoft and the rest of it was sold. This earned him his first million.
However, he made a big chunk of his fortune from the 45% that he had retained. His move of going public had been well-received. In 1986, he was to have a net worth of 350 million dollars. And in the next year to that at the mere age of 31, he became the youngest person to become a billionaire. And in just eight more years, that is at the age of thirty nine, he became ‘The Richest Man in the World.’He kept on working till 2000 as the CEO of the company.However, he decided to step down from that position, and he was succeeded by Steve Ballmer, his roommate from Harvard. He continued working as the Chief Software Architect.However, in another six years, he felt that it was time to focus on different things. He thought that it was time for him to give something back to society. He decided to focus more on philanthropic ventures through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which was founded in 2000, right around the time when Gates had stepped down from the post of CEO at Microsoft.
Around 2008, Bill Gates became part-time involved in Microsoft rather than full-time. He and his wife were working on making the world a better place for poor people as well as people who were battling with poor health. Bill and Melinda also wanted to do their part for America by trying and contributing to the education system. He has spent billions and billions of his personal fortune in philanthropy.In 2014, with the appointment of Satya Nadella at the post of the chief executive, Bill Gates decided to step down as the chairman and his active role from Microsoft. He retained the position of ‘Founder and Technology Adviser’ at Microsoft.Ever since then, Bill Gates has been working for the betterment of the people through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the biggest charitable organizations in the world.
Even today, when the world is battling with the lockdown, Bill Gates’s foundation has been helping people worldwide. His actions have shown people that he is not only the richest man in the world, but he is also the most generous one too.It would not have been difficult for him to keep all the money he had earned for himself and his family. There was no compulsion for him to do anything. And yet, he decided to make people’s problems his problems and work for them. He earned a lot not only in the form of money but also by doing his duty for the poor and the underprivileged.So, this is the story of one of the most revered and renowned innovators and technological virtuosos, with a flair for business. It is quite rare to find a person who is a complete package. But, if there is a possibility that a complete package exists, Bill Gates is definitely one of them.
He was extremely talented with coding and mathematics. He had a mind for business. And, he also had the ability to work hard for what he wanted to achieve. All those sleepless nights and focused coding, in the beginning, lay the foundation for such a huge empire in the future.Moreover, he had the presence of mind to take the right decision whenever it was required and took the difficult step as it was necessary at the time. He also knew when to step down and let others take the reign when it was necessary for the betterment of the company.And above all, he did not forget humanity and helped people who were in need without any personal agenda or profit, because everything is not about money. So, what does his story teach us? It has definitely given us an idea about how to be the richest man in the world, but I also think it has taught us how to be a generous person too.Now, that we have all this information, it depends on us what we want to do about it. Are we going to just keep this away as a good read, or we are really going to start working towards our dreams? The choice is yours.
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