Bill Gates

by Ben from Fredericksburg

"One thing I love about this [decade] is this is a period where the reality is driving the expectation.”

I have always been a person who tries to work hard and persevere when life gets to be less enjoyable than a walk in the park. I believe that hard work is the only way to succeed in life, not to mention perseverance, which is also one of the essentials. This is why I look up to Bill Gates and see him as my hero.

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William Henry Gates was born on October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington. His parents were both overachievers, but Bill’s early characteristics made him seem an unlikely candidate for one of the future richest men in the world--he was shy and unsocial and it looked like he was just going to be an average lawyer like his father. He was talented in the academic areas of math and logistics.

He first attended a public city school, but when he was 12, he enrolled in a private school called Lakeside. When he was 13, computers were still encompassing whole rooms, but it was also the year Gates made his first computer program. With Paul Allen, who would become a long-term friend, Gates built a scheduling program for the school that created the times and occupants of each class period, mysteriously placing the two men in the same classes as the pretty girls. While still in high school, the duo started a traffic monitoring company called Traf-O-Data, which monitored traffic and created computerized traffic patterns used by the Department of Transportation. Later on, while studying law with intentions of becoming a lawyer like his father, he attended Harvard University. He was still very shy and never went to any social events unless persuaded to go by his friend, Steve Ballmer, whom would receive his reward later as president of Microsoft. In his junior year he left school to devote all of his time and energy to his software business.

While his friend Paul Allen was working in a town called Honeywell, he showed Gates a magazine that had a $397.00 computer which had everything except one thing--software. Gates and Allen contacted M.I.T.S., the computer manufacturer, and they soon had a contract with the company making software. Together, they moved to New Mexico and started Micro-soft, later dropping the hyphen. Through the years, their clients went bankrupt, but they finally got a good client in IBM and money came in bundles with licensing fees. Gates bought out old software company called QS-DOS and turned it into a prominent company under the newly revised name MS-DOS.

By the late 1980’s, Gates and Allen were producing programs like Microsoft Word and Excel, and when the company went public in 1986, Gates became a 31-year-old billionaire. By the early 1990’s, they had versions of Windows. They were selling 1 million copies a month by 1993 and, with the release of Windows ’95 in August of that year, they sold 7 million copies in the first six months. The company was then put in the limelight when the US Justice Department started to fight legal battles with the company because of their mysterious, but completely honest, uprise and fortune.

After that however, Gates changed the focus of his company from software to the Internet and quickly began to gain ground on the Netscape system, whose Internet browser was number one at the time.

With all his work and little to show for it other than money, Gates built a 40,000-square-foot house on Lake Washington in 1994 and married a marketing executive at his company named Melinda French. He completed the creation of the Gates Charitable organization, and he gives as much money to charity a day as a small country makes in yearly income. He also has the record for the largest single donation ever made by a living individual--$6 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates charitable organization. With a fortune of $54 billion dollars, Gates was named richest in Forbes magazine’s top 400 wealthiest Americans, with Paul Allen being third on the list. Gates has three children named Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe. He enjoys reading, playing golf and bridge, and biotechnology.

Page created on 9/15/2006 3:59:24 PM

Last edited 9/15/2006 3:59:24 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Bill and Melinda Gates believe every life has equal value. In 2000, they created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world.
The official site of Bill Gates