Bill Gates

William Henry Gates III: business magnate, software developer and philanthropist. He founded Microsoft, got involved in many charitable endeavors and held the title of youngest billionaire ever from 1987 to 2010.

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A Short Bio of Gates:

Bill Gates was born on the 28th of October, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. His father was a lawyer and the mother served in a supervisory board of a well known financial holding company.

He turned out to be a very competitive kid, much smarter than the average. He wrote his first computer software at just 13, helped computerize his high school waging system and he eventually ended up in nothing less than Harvard University. During sophomore year in Harvard, Gates joined
Paul Allen, his old hometown friend from the teenage years, into the development of a software for the first microcomputers. The success of the project eventually lead him to drop out college and finally launch Microsoft with his colleague in 1975. The company is now worth more than a trillion dollars, together in this milestone with giants like Amazon and Apple.

In addition to the incredible work in software development, Bill Gates is also well known for his charitable actions; he currently runs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the biggest non profits organizations on Earth. It focuses on eliminating global inequities by helping research in medicine, agriculture, health and economy related fields.I

1975: Bill Gates, Paul Allen

Image source: https://www.wired.com/2011/04/0404bill-gates-paul-allen-form-microsoft/. by Randy Alfred

MICROCOMPUTER SOFTWARE

Microsoft wasn’t launched in a day. It all started when the two young programmers were inspired to write their own programming language, based on a preexisting one called BASIC.

The main challenge was to adapt BASIC to an existing computer made by MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), by recompiling the language into something that the machine could run. This recompiled code will be later unofficially called Microsoft BASIC.

The two entrepreneurs demoed their new language to MITS, the company that developed the Altair 8800 microcomputer which Microsoft BASIC was intended for. MITS remained astonished with the work and agreed to market the recompiled language in their computers, although doing so by naming it Altair BASIC.

This first success inspired Bill Gates and Paul Allen to actually found their own software company, and on the 4th of April of 1975 Microsoft was born.

To this day Microsoft has worked on a plethora of legendary products. Among the most relevant ones we have: Windows OS, Microsoft Office, the Xbox consoles, videogames like Age of Empires and the Halo saga, successful hardware like the Surface laptops, a full range of widely used business related services including cloud and sharing ones and lately a set VR apps and equipment.I


Micro-soft Altair BASIC Interpreter Source Tape (1975).

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

The organization is currently run by Bill Gates himself and is among the biggest charitable foundations on the planet, holding billions of dollars in means and resources and helping people from any part of the world. Both Bill and Melinda Gates have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2016 for the effort put into such work.

The organization works on worldwide problems through six different programs:

Gender Equality Program: this division aims to achieve gender equality by integrating all genders in the global work of the foundation itself. It also invests in women’s possibility to thrive by removing all possible gender barriers.

Global Health Program: this division tries to maximize the scientific advancements’ resources and technologies involved in saving lives worldwide. This includes work for vaccines, drug addiction, general diagnostics, nutrition issues, maternal and children health as well as the research of new ways to make all this as affordable as possible.

Global Development Program: this division aims to reduce health inequities in order to give everyone the chance to live a healthy life. It also focuses on renewable energies development like solar panels or wind turbines.

Growth and Opportunity Program: this division invests in research, data analysis and measurements of the underlying causes that make poverty and underdevelopment a reality. A lot of work also involves bringing practical solutions and help, financial services to the poor, agricultural development, water sanitation and better hygiene standards.

United States Program: this division works hard in order to make sure that all students are guaranteed a high school diploma and the possibility to achieve college-tier education at reduced cost. This program also works on social inequity and poverty in Washington State, home state of the Gates family.

Global Policy & Advocacy Program: this division makes sure that the foundation’s means are not the only trailing asset. Sponsorship, patronage, alliances and external support are key to the success of all the charitable endeavors. Communication is also vital, making the dedicated teams work on government relationships, media, internal communications, policy analysis as well as the collaboration with external organizations.

It is important to mention that in the COVID-19 pandemic the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided generous amounts of resources to support the fight against the virus. Hundreds of millions of dollars were also donated to help scientists develop a safe and effective vaccine that will hopefully be affordable for everyone.

Melinda and Bill Gates, being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama (2016).

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The Youngest Billionaire of America:

Thanks to Microsoft, Bill Gates became the youngest billionaire ever at age 31. In 1995 he became the richest man in the world with a fortune of 12.9 billion $ and today with a net worth of 97.6 billion $ he’s “just” the second richest living man.

He holds just above 1% of Microsoft shares and in March 2020 he stepped down as a board member to focus mainly on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To this day, Gates has donated over 35.8 billion $ worth of Microsoft stock to charity.

When Paul Allen asked if he was into it for the money, he said that what really drove him forward was to work tirelessly for an exciting job. In an interview back in 1984 he also stated: “I don’t think anyone at the company is in it for the money. It’s a much more exciting field than trying to measure exactly how much we’re selling or how much it’s worth. The creation of these programs is something you can sit down and see people enjoying and solving real problems.”

Two men, two philosophies, the same will to thrive and a wonderful (and sane) competition.
On the left, Bill Gates. On the right, Steve Jobs.

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/a5cfaf4d-3043-4cca-b5e6-45d082b3e01f. by SoniaT 360.

Info source:

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bill-Gates

https://interestingengineering.com/history-of-microsoft-and-its-major-milestones

https://www.gatesfoundation.org

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates#Bill_and_Melinda_Gates_Foundation

https://www.forbes.com/profile/bill-gates/?sh=7ff450b9689f

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/25/28-year-old-bill-gates-said-he-wouldnt-burn-out-by-the-time-he-was-30.html#:~:text=He%20went%20on%20to%20build,on%20and%20off%20for%20decades