Many people associate Bill Gates with computers and for good reason. As the inventor and founder of Microsoft, his software is used by millions, from elementary school students to large, multi-national corporations. But Bill Gates isn't just known for his revolutionary, easy-to-use computer software. He's also a humanitarian, philanthropist, and compassionate citizen of the world. With astronomical wealth and a kind heart, this brilliant businessman and inventor is one of the most well-known and influential people on the planet. But what is the story of the man behind Microsoft?
No profile about Bill Gates would be complete without noting that he and colleague Paul Allen founded Microsoft, what would eventually be the worlds largest software corporation, in 1975. Gates built the company up to worldwide success and served as Chief Executive Officer until 2000. After that, he went back to his passion, software development, creating the role of Chief Software Engineer for himself, where he served until 2014. Microsoft software made a name for itself being user-friendly, with many applications to help people do anything from from writing term papers to running companies.
Since 1987, Bill Gates has been included in every list Forbes Magazine complies of the world's wealthiest people. This is a list compiling the world's wealthiest billionaires, excluding those whose wealth cannot be ascertained. Gates went on to increase his wealth, and from 1995 to 2017, he's been ranked as the richest person in the world for all but four of the years, most recently losing out to Amazon's Jeff Bezos.
Bill Gates founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an organization that's devoted to helping charitable organizations and scientific research entities achieve their goals. The've donated millions over the years to help improve health and nutrition for those in developing countries and here in America. Alongside fellow billionaire, Warren Buffet, Gates created the Giving Pledge, wherein these two and other billionaires vow to donate at least half of their wealth to charity.
Bill Gates met his wife Melinda while she was working at Microsoft. In 1987, the brilliant and beautiful, highly organized software developer and project manager caught the eye of the boss, and the two came to realize they had a special connection and attraction. The two wed in Hawaii on January 1, 1994. The following year, after a tragic loss in Bill's family, the two took time off their busy Microsoft careers to travel and enjoy family time together. The couple has two daughters and one son.
It would not be a stretch to call Bill Gates one of the most influential people of the twentieth century. In fact, you've probably used his software many times, and thousands of people all over the world have healthier, better lives thanks to his generosity. Time Magazine compiled a list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, and Gates easily made the list. He's also been named a Person of the Year for his humanitarian efforts in 2004, 2005, and alongside his wife in 2006.
Bill Gates has penned multiple bestsellers - and not just the computer coding type! His first book, The Road Ahead, was co-written with his fellow Microsoft executive, Nathan Myhrvold and published in 1995. It centers around the personal computing revolution and the impact it would have on society as a while. It describes - prophetically - the launch of an "information superhighway," aka the Wolrd Wide Web, and the effects it would have.
Gates's second book is titled Business @ the Speed of Thought and focuses on how business and technology are intertwined. This book was published in 1999 and offers tips to businesses on how to improve their information infrastructure to gain an edge on their competition.
While enrolled at Lakeside Preparatory School, Bill Gates wrote his first computer program. It was a game, like tic-tac-toe, that one could play against the computer. Once the school discovered Gates's innate talent for computer coding, they even tasked him with writing a computer program that scheduled students classes. Gates sneakily wrote in a little algorithm that placed him in classes with a "disproportionate number of interesting girls."
Bill Gates has a police record! That's right - Gates was arrested in 1977 for running a red light in New Mexico. The 22-year-old was cited for the traffic violation, but ultimately ended up being booked, due to the severity of his driving - he was speeding, as well. In fact, there are still mug shots of the young Gates!
Until Gates purchased his own plane -- his "big splurge" -- he flew coach. Although Gates is one of the wealthiest men to ever walk the planet, he can be surprisingly frugal. Now, he flies in his own charter plane. This isn't just some little Cessna, either. In fact, the $40 million jet is a Bombardier BD-700 Global Express with seating for up to 19 people. This, and his Porsche are the two big-ticket items that Bill Gates purchased, although it took him nearly ten years to do so after becoming a billionaire at age 31. This made him the youngest billionaire (of non-inherited wealth) in history.
At least, not by the standards of the biggest billionaire in the world. Gates and his wife Melinda have three adult children, two daughters, and a son, but say that each child will only inherit $10 million. While that may be piles of money to you and me, it's peanuts compared to Gates's personal holdings. Instead of making his children filthy rich, Gates is planning to leave the bulk of his fortune to the Gates Foundation. He believes that his children should exercise the same entrepreneurial spirit he has.