WORLD’S RICHEST MAN
Bill Gates is the world’s richest man from the teen geek. William Henry “Bill Gates” is an American business magnate, investor, author, and philanthropist. He was born October 28, 1995, in Seattle, Washington. His father William was an attorney and his late mother Mary was a schoolteacher and chairwoman of United Way International. Gates was a 13-year-old student when he starts programming computers. He fell in love with the machines and school officials tapped into his programming prowess, swapping computer time for his services.
In March 1986, Bill Gates took Microsoft public with an initial public offering (IPO) of $21 per share, making him an instant millionaire at age 31. Gates held 45 percent of the company’s 24.7 million shares, making his stake at that time $234 million of Microsoft’s $520 million.
Over time, the company’s stock increased in value and split numerous times. In 1987, Bill Gates became a billionaire when the stock hit $90.75 a share. Since then, Gates has been at the top, or at least near the top, of Forbes’ annual list of the top 400 wealthiest people in America. In 1999, with stock prices at an all-time high and the stock splitting eight-fold since its IPO, Gates’ wealth briefly topped $101 billion.
In 1987, a 23-year-old Microsoft product manager named Melinda French caught the eye of Bill Gates, then 32. The very bright and organized Melinda was a perfect match for Gates. In time, their relationship grew as they discovered an intimate and intellectual connection. On January 1, 1994, Melinda and Bill were married in Hawaii. In 1996, their first daughter, Jennifer, was born. Their son, Rory, was born in 1999, and a second daughter, Phoebe, arrived in 2002.
Bill Gates grew up in an upper-middle-class family with his older sister, Kristianne, and younger sister, Libby. The Gates family atmosphere was warm and close, and all three children were encouraged to be competitive and strive for excellence. Bill showed early signs of competitiveness when he coordinated family athletic games at their summer house on Puget Sound. He also relished in playing board games and excelled at Monopoly.
Bill had a very close relationship with his mother, Mary, who after a brief career as a teacher devoted her time to helping raise the children and working on civic affairs and with charities. She also served on several corporate boards, including those of the First Interstate Bank in Seattle (founded by her grandfather), the United Way and International Business Machines (IBM). She would often take Bill along when she volunteered in schools and at community organizations.
Bill was a voracious reader as a child, spending many hours poring over reference books such as the encyclopedia. Around the age of 11 or 12, Bill’s parents began to have concerns about his behavior. He was doing well in school, but he seemed bored and withdrawn at times, and his parents worried he might become a loner. Though they were strong believers in public education, when Bill turned 13, they enrolled him at Seattle’s exclusive preparatory Lakeside School. He blossomed in nearly all his subjects, excelling in math and science, but also doing very well in drama and English.
While at Lakeside School, a Seattle computer company offered to provide computer time for the students. The Mother’s Club used proceeds from the school’s rummage sale to purchase a teletype terminal for students to use. Bill Gates became entranced with what a computer could do and spent much of his free time working on the terminal. He wrote a tic-tac-toe program in BASIC computer language that allowed users to play against the computer.
Gates graduated from Lakeside in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the college SAT test, a feat of intellectual achievement that for several years he boasted about when introducing himself to new people.
Gates enrolled at Harvard University in the fall of 1973, originally thinking of a career in law. But his freshman year saw him spend more of his time in the computer lab than in class. Gates did not really have a study regimen. Instead, he could get by on a few hours of sleep, cram for a test, and pass with a reasonable grade. Much to his parents’ dismay, within two years Gates dropped out of college in 1975 to pursue his business, Microsoft, with partner Paul Allen.
In 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed Micro-Soft, a blend of “micro-computer” and “software” (they dropped the hyphen to Microsoft within a year). Although the company started out on shaky footing, by 1979 Microsoft was grossing approximately $2.5 million, and, at the age of 23, Gates placed himself as the head of the company. With his acumen for software development and a keen business sense, he led the company and worked as its spokesperson. Gates personally reviewed every line of code the company shipped, often rewriting code himself when he saw it necessary.
Following the development of software for IBM, between 1979 and 1981 Microsoft’s growth exploded. Staff increased from 25 to 128, and revenue shot up from $2.5 million to $16 million. In mid-1981, Gates and Allen incorporated Microsoft, and Gates was appointed the president and chairman of the board. Allen was named executive vice president.
Bill Gates has won many awards. Some of the awards he has won are the Silver Buffalo award which won in 2010, the Bower Award of Leadership in 2010 as well. In 1992 Bill Gates also won the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and two years later he won the Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society award. In 1997 Mr. Gates also won the Satellite Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Entertainment New Media award. Lastly, Bill Gates won the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service in 2013.