William Henry Gates III
At the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland (26 January 2012) (CCA2 WEF)
Born: 28 October 1955, Seattle, Washington
The son of a successful Seattle attorney, "Trey" Gates attended the exclusive Lakeside School, where he and Paul Allen managed to spend a lot of time in the school's computer lab. The Mothers Club had used rummage sale proceeds to install a single teletype terminal at the school and commit to a block of time on a GE mainframe, one of the first computer labs ever installed in a high school. Because of his aptitude he was soon working part time at Computer Center Corporation where he worked on some commercial programs but finagled unlimited nighttime access to the PDP-10. He entered Harvard in 1973, but when the MITS Altair was released in 1975 he dropped out to work with Allen again, developing software for Apple, Commodore, and CP/M systems, most notably the version of BASIC that ran on the most different types of computers. When IBM was developing the original IBM PC he agreed to create the operating system for it, based on QDOS, a 16-bit CP/M replacement written by Tim Paterson. Microsoft didn't have the rights to the software when they sold it, but they quickly licensed it from Paterson and soon shipped PC-DOS 1.0 for IBM. As they had not committed to exclusivity, they also sold the system as MS-DOS. After creating Excel for the Apple Macintosh, Microsoft scrambled to create a similar environment for the PC; the first version of Windows was released in 1985. Gates married Melinda French, then a product manager at the company, in 1994. Although still Chairman of the Board, Gates left day-to-day responsibilities at Microsoft behind in 2008 and now devotes his attention to philanthropy through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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Bill Gates quotes:
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- About 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade. permalink
- As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. permalink
- As you improve health in a society, population growth goes down. You know,... before I learned about it, I thought it was paradoxical. permalink
- At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top. I'm afraid that's not quite right. permalink
- Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. permalink
- Before Paul and I started the company, we had been involved in some large-scale software projects that were real disasters. They just kept pouring people in, and nobody knew how they were going to stabilize the project. We swore to ourselves that we would do better. permalink
- Capitalism is this wonderful thing that motivates people, it causes wonderful inventions to be done. But in this area of diseases of the world at large, it's really let us down. permalink
- Does the e-mail say it's about 'enlargement'? That might be spam. permalink
- I actually thought that it would be a little confusing during the same period of your life to be in one meeting when you're trying to make money, and then go to another meeting where you're giving it away. permalink
- I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act. permalink
- I have drifted away from thinking about these philanthropic things. And it was only as the wealth got large enough and Melinda and I had talked about the view that that wealth wasn't something that would be good to just pass to the children. permalink
- I have to say that in 1981, making those decisions, I felt like I was providing enough freedom for 10 years. That is, a move from 64k to 640k felt like something that would last a great deal of time. Well, it didn't. It took about only 6 years before people started to see that as a real problem. permalink
- I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot. permalink
- I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user. permalink
- If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1000 MPG. permalink
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