The Great Men's Cross 4: Bill Gates 1

Bill Gates

Our decisions today eventually become our positions tomorrow. The time used in taking such decisive steps is enough to multiply our start up. We can't keep moaning at a stage while others zoomed past us, even while we were formerly ahead. On the The Great Men's Cross today, we will talk about Bill Gates who had the opportunity to graduate from the best uniiversity in the world, but had to drop out and take a risk to start his own company, Microsoft. However, If not for the timely and risky decision of Bill Gates, he might not have been where he is today. 

Bill Gates and the Risky Decision
Bill Gates, also known as William Henry Gates III was born October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington. He is an investor, author, business magnate, philanthropist, humanitarian and the main founder of Microsoft Corporation. Gates was the largest individual shareholder at Microsoft until May 2014. In 1975, Gates and Paul Allen launched the world’s largest PC software company, Microsoft. Gates was the chief executive officer of the company till he stepped down in January 2000; he however remained the chairman and created the position of Chief Software Architect for himself.

Gates remains one of the best entrepreneurs in the world. Since 1987, Gates has featured in the Forbes list of the world’s healthiest people. He held the Forbes title of the richest person in the world from 1995 to 2017 aside four years in between and also held it between March 2014 and July 2017. Gates had an estimated net worth of US$89.9 billion as of October 2017. Unfortunately, he has been surpassed by Jeff Bezos of Amazon who had as estimated net worth of $91.5 billion.
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Growing up
Bill Gates father was a prominent lawyer and the parents wanted him to be a lawyer, however, the family encouraged competition and one of their visitors once said that it didn’t matter if you picked hearts or pickle ball or swimming to the dock…., there is always a reward for winning as well as a penalty for losing.

Bill Gates was 13 when he enrolled in the Lakeside school. The school wasn’t well to do and had to use the proceeds from the school to buy a number of computers for the school students. Gates then took interest in programming and was allowed to skip math classes to pursue his interest. Gates wrote his first computer program on the General Electric (GE) computer, which was a program that allows users to play game against the computer. He welt impressed and he believed there was something the computer could offer.

Gates scored 1590 from a possible 1600 on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) and was recognized as a National Merit Scholar when he graduated from the Lakeside School in 1973. He then enrolled at Harvard College in 1973. Though chose a pre-law major, he rather took mathematics and graduate level computer science courses. When Gates was at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer who was a fellow student. 

After two years of study, Gates dropped out while Ballmer remained and finished his studies. Ballmer graduated with a Magna cum Laude (First Class) and years later, Ballmer succeeded Gates as the CEO of Microsoft in 2000 and resigned in 2014. While Gates was at Harvard, he had no study plan and preferred to spend a lot of time with the school computers.
The Risky Decision
In 1975, the MITS Altair 8800 was released and it was based on the Intel 8080 CPU. Gates along his partner Allen saw it as an opportunity to start their own computer company. At this time, Gates dropped out of Harvard in 1975 and discussed his decision with his parents. The parents gave him their full support when they saw the burning desire in Bill Gates to start his own company. Gates later explained that he was only on leave of absence while leaving school at that time. He further claimed that if things had not worked out, that is, if Microsoft was not successful, he would have returned to school.

The name Microsoft
Gates and Allen proposed to MITS, the creator of the new microcomputer that they were working on a BASIC interpreter on which the new computer could run. The company welcomed them and after the presentation which was a success, the company entered a deal with them to distribute the Basic Interpreter on their own computer. Bill Gates and Paul Allen named their partnership ‘Micro-Soft’ and they had their first office at Albuquerque in 1975. 

After a year, they dropped the hyphen and on November 26, 1976, the trade name ‘Microsoft’ was returned. Gates never returned to Harvard College to finish his studies. After a misunderstanding between MITS and Microsoft, Microsoft detached and became independent in 1976 and they continued to develop programming language software.
At the prime age of Microsoft, all the employees had designated responsibilities and Gates was to oversee business details but also writes codes. During the first five years, Gates claimed to review every line of code the company shipped even rewrites it if there is a need.

The Wisdom
Later, Microsoft made a deal with IBM and sold a PC DOS in exchange for a one-time payment of $50,000. However, Gates did not transfer the copyright on the operating system thinking other companies might clone IBM’s system. They therefore sell MS-DOS to companies which made them a major player in the computer/software industry. Though IBM’s name remains on the operating system, the media knew Microsoft was the brain behind the new computer. This made everyone think it is Gates’ Computer. The first retail version of Microsoft Windows was launched on November 20, 1985 by Microsoft.

The Busy Man
Between 1975 when Microsoft was founded until 2006, Gates was majorly responsible for the company’s product strategy. He was believed to be far from everyone and he was believed to be unreachable by phone and also don’t return calls. An executive explained that he showed Gates a game and defeated him 35 times out of the 37 times they dueled. He said after a month they met again, Gated either won or tied the game having studied the game until he could decode it and that is the spirit of a competitor..........

Continue at The Great Men's Cross 4: Bill Gates 2
Credit: Wikipedia

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