The entrepreneur featured in this month’s Think Like Spotlight is the second-richest person in the world as of August 2018. He has a net worth of $95.4 billion and his name is recognized in households around the world. Read along as we briefly cover the interesting entrepreneurial history of one Bill Gates.
Claim To Fame: Microsoft Corp.
Gates developed an interest in computers and programming in the eighth grade. He attended a private prep school that was able to purchase an early terminal and computer time for students. Gates immediately took to the machine. When he no longer had access to the school computer, he pursued access via the Computer Center Corporation (CCC). It wasn’t long before Bill Gates engaged in his first business transaction, working out a deal with the CCC to identify system bugs in exchange for additional, free computer time.
Bill’s adeptness with computer technology was quickly identified, and he began to receive programming opportunities which he accepted with gratitude. His first real venture came in 1972. Gates partnered with Paul Allen on Traf-O-Data, a company that utilized the Intel 8008 processor to produce traffic counters.
In 1975, Gates left Harvard to once again work with Paul Allen. This time they were developing and distributing a BASIC interpreter for Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) in New Mexico. They had their own office and referred to themselves as Micro-Soft. It took less than a year for the company to drop the hyphen and officially register with the State of New Mexico. Legal disputes over payments for the general use of software eventually caused Microsoft to split from MITS and seek headquarters in Bellevue, Washington.
The eighties would see Bill Gates lead Microsoft through a series of strategic partnerships that would propel the company into the famous technology stratosphere. A two-part deal with Seattle Computer Products and IBM resulted in the widely-known MS-DOS system and initiated the success. Gates’ company would go on to produce some of the most popular computer software of the century.
Ever the entrepreneur, Bill Gates is devoted to reinvesting his fortune. Some he donates to philanthropic efforts through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he created in 2000. Some in invests in other profitable businesses in the hospitality and entertainment industries. He has also authored two books:
- The Road Ahead in 1995 (Co-authored by Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson)
- Business @ The Speed of Thought in 1999
Bill Gates began his slow transition from full-time tech entrepreneur to full-time philanthropist in 2006. He remained as Chairman of Microsoft until 2014. Today, Bill Gates currently serves as a technology advisor to CEO Satya Nadella.