Bill Gates – The Entrepreneur and The Philanthropist

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They don’t make them like him anymore.

Bill Gates, one of the greatest visionaries of our times, a, is equally famous as a brilliant entrepreneur, software developer, investor and philanthropist. With his business partner, Paul Allen, he co-founded and built the world’s largest software conglomerate Microsoft”– an enterprise built through by implementing technological innovation, sharp business acumen and dynamic business strategies, which revolutionised the global software environment. He is one of the richest men in the world, who, currently with his wife Melinda Gates, is co-chairing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable institution.

His views on the Coronavirus pandemic in his 2015 TED Talk holds immense importance today, when the world is grappling with the serious issue. We trace the life of Bill Gates over the years and his immense contribution to the corporate world and the society at large.

Some quick snippets

  • Used to read encyclopaedia as a young kid
  • Scored 1590 on SAT
  • Dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft
  • Youngest Billionaire at the age of just 31
  • Richest Man in the World for 24-years till 2018

Early Life

Bill Gates was born William Henry Gates III in Seattle, Washington on October 28, 1955, to William H. Gates Sr, a senior lawyer and Mary Maxwell, an executive for a major bank. He and his two siblings, Kristianne and Libby, had a close knit upper-middle-class upbringing. In spite of the family being wealthy, the difficulties brought about by the Great Depression made the Gates family instil the value of hard work and humility early in their kids with focus on excellence. He shared a close relationship with his mother, who introduced him to charity work through her voluntary work with various charitable institutions.

High School

He was a voracious reader from a young age. He used to get easily bored and was withdrawn which used to worry his parents. At 13, he attended the private Lakeside School, where he was introduced to computers for the first time. He self-taught himself programming in Basic and made a basic Tic-Tac-Toe game. Computers fascinated him so much that he made arrangements with a company called Computer Center Corporation (CCC) to learn about source code like Fortran, Machine Code.

College Education

Bill Gates enrolled at Harvard University in 1973, to study mathematics and computer science. His fascination for coding was so high that it led him to drop out of Harvard mid-way, when he saw an opportunity to establish his own company.

Bill Gates’s partnership with Paul Allen

Paul Allen was his senior by two years, at Lakeside School. Their common love for computers created a close friendship between them in spite of their varied natures, Allen being reserved and Gates more outgoing and assertive. They spent their spare time programming. In 1970, when Bill Gates was 15 years, they did business together to develop “Traf-o-Data,” a computer program designed to monitor Seattle traffic patterns for which they earner $20,000. Though they wanted to start their own company, Gates’ parents wanted him to complete his education hoping he would take up law. When studying at Harvard, he stayed in touch with Allen. Once, Allen showed Gates an article on Altair 8800 mini-computer kit, which fascinated both and made them foray into the world of personal computing and co-founded Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1976.

Bill Gates & Microsoft

During in his initial days at Microsoft, Bill Gates was involved in every detailing aspect, including reviewing every code line, packing and sending orders. Microsoft gained prominence and was the game changer due to the booming of the personal computer genre. Its programs like Microsoft Word and Excel are still the industry norms.

Windows 95 released by Microsoft in 1995 became the new standard and backbone for all current operating systems.

The active involvement of Bill Gates at Microsoft was one the key reasons for its success.

Marriage and Family

Bill Gates met Melinda French at Microsoft when she worked on a product. They got married in 1994 and had three children – Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe. Bill and Melinda Gates together run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which they co-founded in 2000 to fund global health issues.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

As stated above, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, Washington was established by the couple in the year 2000. It is the largest private charitable foundation in the world , currently with a net worth of around $ 99.5 billion (as on April 2020) , established to help people worldwide, especially in developing countries to lead healthy, poverty-free and fruitful life. They focus mainly on prevention, immunisation and vaccination. The foundation has spent around $40 billion on global development and public health programs. Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. The main vision and objectives of the foundation are elimination of malaria and polio, and preventing the spread of HIV and tuberculosis. The foundation is also looking at the option of using potentially viable technologies and valuable short-term investments to apply such technologies to solve key global health issues successfully.

Stepping Down From Microsoft

Bill Gates once said “When ideas excite me, I rock, I sway, I pace — my body turns into a metronome for my brain.” . This saying came true when in 2001, when Gates’ close friend Warren Buffett invited him to speak about their charitable foundation trips to various business leaders. While talking about global health in that session, Gates envisioned a life after Microsoft. The 2001 speech was the turning point when he decided that philanthropy was what he intended to do for the rest of his life. This decision made him step-down from his full-time role at Microsoft in 2008 earlier that envisaged and finally from the board of Microsoft in 2020 to concentrate fully on philanthropy, more so into global health development, education and reducing carbon footprint.

Bill Gates Foundation in to Tackling Coronavirus

Currently, the world is under the global Coronavirus pandemic. Bill Gates is such a great visionary, he had even predicted about this situation way back in 2015, his now famous TED Talk” The next Outbreak? We’re not ready” He spoke about how in 2014, the global outbreak of Ebola was averted through the selfless efforts of health works and some luck. So, he said we should put our ideas into effect at the earliest. If another outbreak happens, we are currently not fully prepared for it. His visionary efforts do not end here. Now, since the Coronavirus outbreak is for real and serious, he has said his foundation will be involved with manufacturing the viable vaccines for fighting the novel Coronavirus. Bill Gates is funding money into building factories for seven promising corona vaccine options though it would involve billions of dollars, as he believes his Gates Foundation can work faster than the government to combat the Coronavirus outbreak due to their deep expert knowledge and research on infectious diseases.

Bill Gates continues to be an influential figure on the global scene. Hs contribution to the corporate and social sector is immense and has benefitted generations. Such a gesture cannot be easily replicated.

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