What can be said about Bill Gates that hasn’t already been said? For more than 40 years, his name has been synonymous with computers and the Microsoft brand. His software reinvented the way we work and play while amassing him riches beyond belief.
From the outside, he’s mostly recognized as the head of a leading corporation and a philanthropist. From the inside, he’s seen by his wife and kids as the head of their family. But upon closer look, there’s more than what meets the eye! Read on to find out about 40 interesting and surprising facts about Bill Gates.
1. Once Upon A Boy
In the beginning, a bouncing baby boy was born to Mary Maxwell and William H. Gates II, on October 28, 1955. He was his parents’ middle child and only son. Their expectations were high regarding William (Bill) Henry Gates, III, in comparison to his two sisters, and in the end, he would not disappoint.
However, nothing could’ve prepared them for the heights to which he would eventually soar. They were a well-off family, so it’s fair to say that Bill would’ve done just fine anyway. But what he achieved later in his life could even his parents never have expected.
2. Daddy’s Promising Names’ Sake
Growing up as his father’s only son, Gates II, was proud of him and took him under his wing knowing that his son would be successful in his life. Their ancestry of English, Irish, Scottish and German, was instilled in him and, of course, assumptions were made about what that meant for his career path.
Because both of his parents had done very well in their chosen professions, being gently guided down the yellow-brick-road-to-attorney-land, like Dad, would’ve been so simple. It was mapped out in everybody’s mind from the beginning. It should’ve been a no-brainer. But no. Bill would find something different in mind altogether.
3. Changing Of The Guard
A youthful Bill had always been small for his age compared to the other kids, and he was also in other things different. He was a book reading enthusiast from the start, often being reprimanded while doing it while their family sat at the table enjoying dinner together.
William and Mary were attempting to give all three of the children the best, which included a Protestant reformed church. So, they were regular attendees at the Congregational Christian Church. Aside from being what was considered a “nerd” in his youth, (and possibly still), his parents and grandparents were all role models for his ensuing success.
4. And So It Begins
Yes, Bill had options and opportunities from his Seattle, Washington upbringing. And perhaps his love of books was a preemptive look into what a child prodigy looks like, as he had already begun programming computers as early as 1968. What did happen next?
He may not have been popular with the girls, but he was very useful to his schools’ administration by using his skills for the school’s benefit. His ability to code was amazing for such a youngster, and his drive toward figuring out what made computers, their components, and their technology tick, was all he started dreaming about.
5. Natural Born Talent
Believe it or not, Bill wasn’t a picture-perfect kid at home. He was as rambunctious as any other – trying his parents’ patience often. And like teenagers everywhere, he went against the wishes of his parents more than once.
Fortunately, however, with such an advanced brain at such a tender age, he was able to table his tendency toward bad behavior and begin to focus on something meaningful. By the time he was barely in his teens, he became so interested and so good at it, his parents had to take a second look at his computer code writing software abilities.
6. A Good Friend Indeed
Even though Bill wasn’t the kind of kid you could call popular, he did have at least one very good friend. And this good friend would always be on his side, that’s for sure. Paul Allen was not only a steady fixture in Bill’s young life, but he would also become his early business partner.
They clicked, and the slightly older, Paul, was a bright spot in Bill’s life during the time he wasn’t exactly behaving as a bright spot toward his parents. And their shared affinity toward writing computer code would bring very good stability to both of them.
7. Ready To Blaze A Trail
That next level would rear its head soon enough. As young Bill, and his good friend Allen were raring to put their software-writing abilities to work with their own company immediately. But did they really think this through? And how could they be supported?
Not thinking about whether they were putting the horse before the cart, Bill’s mom and dad were thinking about it. Brakes were put on the young men’s desires to start a great business so soon before Bill could carefully consider his future. To find out what the next steps of his career have been, read on.
8. Detour Not Required
Parents, as they say, usually know what’s best, and Bill’s believed this to be true. They were successful in convincing their son to slow down and go to college first. With his potential, and having outgrown the bullying he often faced in school, college should be a cake-walk.
Attending Harvard University was an honorable choice… if only he hadn’t dropped out. In fact, it’s said that Bill is the most famous Harvard dropout, next to Facebook’s, Mark Zuckerberg. But his calling had been burning a hole in both his and Allen’s dream book, and what happened next is really amazing.
9. Leap Of Faith
On the road to becoming one of the most prolific software developers of our time, Bill was confident that his decision to drop out of college and push the boundaries with Allen was the right one. So, after successfully pitching their first deal for their computer software technology, Microsoft Corporation was just a simple leap and a name change away.
Now, the new, confident co-founders of a software company that would revolutionize the world. Returning to college would have to wait, and wait – forever. Nothing was going to stop them now! They had a plan, and they really wanted to follow it.
10. A Glimpse At The Future
Officially starting on April 4, 1975, in Redmond, Washington, their newly-formed computing software company is synonymous with PCs, some 46 years later. Perhaps they intuitively knew that Microsoft would become something great, even though it started garage. But didn’t start almost every good company at first in a garage?
However, with their combined knowledge, Allen, having already worked with a major company as a programmer, and Bill majoring in mathematics and computer science before dropping out of Harvard, their achievement in making their first company sale was pure bliss. To find out what the next steps of his career have been, read on.
11. Don’t Blink
Their ambitions may have been a daunting task as far as anyone else was concerned, but they knew they would eventually be able to push their product to the masses. Making their company and products a household name would quiet the naysayers. By 1978 Microsoft reached a milestone by making their first million dollars in revenue.
Propelled by the possibilities, they relocated to Bellevue, Washington, continuing to write programming language and interpreting software to their impressed clients. Everybody wasn’t buying PCs for their homes during this time, due to their exorbitant price tags, but that day would come soon enough.
12. Room At The Top
Soon after relocating, they struck gold in 1980 when IBM requested an operating system for one of their computer lines. The two men came up with, MS-DOS, Microsoft Disk Operating System, and the rest is history now. But things did even get better at this point for Bill Gates.
With the success and popularity of the DOS operating system for IBM, many companies followed suit and began implementing their PC brands with Gates’ and Allen’s software. Steve Jobs’ Apple, was starting to make waves around this same time. And, unfortunately, Allen left Microsoft in 1982 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.
Though not direct competitors, Apple was a one-stop personal computer and programming solution. Their paths were different, as Microsoft only licensed their software – first MS-DOS, and later Windows, while Steve Jobs’ Apple Inc., focused on building Apple products that run on Apple software.
However, both Microsoft and Apple rose to the occasion, but, Microsoft was able to reach a higher audience through its licensing, which meant a cheaper price point to the consumer which is overall pretty amazing and a very big achievement for Bill Gates. To find out what the next steps of his career have been, read on.
14. You’ve Got The Right One, Baby
Though both Microsoft and Apple did and outdid one another for a while, the more user-friendly versions of Microsoft would begin to pull away by 1993 with the release of Windows 3.0 and 3.1 in 1993. This was a pretty nice success for Bill Gates and of course Microsoft.
The first version of Microsoft Windows was introduced on November 10, 1983, using a graphical user interface for DOS. However, its evolution from then to the 1990s and beyond has transformed into the modern and complete operating system we are all familiar with today. Microsoft became very big at this point.
15. Keep Your Friends Close
The dominance in which Gates’ one-party market obtained was astounding. Microsoft had grown and had around 90% of PCs using their operating systems and products. Still, he and Jobs were said to be friendly, if not friends. As it is well known, their companies and products remain preferences for their customer bases, such as chocolate or vanilla.
But it remains that they both achieved heights to which no one in the personal computer industry could have anticipated. Their products weren’t necessarily in direct competition with one another and so, they found a common ground and even worked on several projects together.
16. Time Fly’s When You’re Having Fun
Still, Microsoft, Window’s, and Gate’s names remain a synonymous trio of familiarity that’s not expected to fade anytime soon. The name recognition itself brings the company well over a Billion dollars annually. The Microsoft brand reached the expanse of the world soon enough, which ensures their software products will continue to grow.
Growing beyond belief, Gates’ and Allen’s talents took the company to where it needed to go, lending helpful resources to its customer bases everywhere. Undoubtedly, Bill’s choice to drop out of Harvard University was a Billion-dollar decision. He didn’t even need the education to become successful in life.
17. Play Nice And Open Up The Windows
With the introduction of the Microsoft Open Programs, smaller companies and individuals were soon able to afford to license as many of their other software products at volume prices. These other programs easily integrated within their counterparts and made the Windows experience efficient, which made it even better.
In addition, though originally adversely opposed to the idea, Gates and Microsoft gave in to the sharing of “communal code.” Known as, “free and open-source software” the sharing of code across various company product lines was meant to level the playing fields. It was finally instituted, if not enforced, and remains today.
18. ’95 Was A Good Thing
Windows 95 software arrived the year in which it’s named after, bringing with it new and improved features and control. Shortcuts, Icons, the Desktop Folder, the Recycle Bin, Internet Access, “Plug & Play,” Network Support for various protocols, and a significant modernization, upgrade, and overall improvement.
The Registry feature was also introduced, which assisted in combining the configuration files, allowing for easier location system configurations. This 32-bit application allowed Windows 95 to perform complicated tasks more efficiently. It simplified the PC experience and encouraged skeptics to give it a try. All of a sudden, using a computer wasn’t intimidating anymore.
19. Who Wants A New Toy
If Gates’ Microsoft/Windows empire wasn’t enough, the Xbox Console is another giant that emerged from the brand. It emerged in the U.S., and Canada on November 15, 2001, and continued on its selling extravaganza to Europe, Japan, and Australia in 2002.
In addition to its video game consoles, it consists of various game applications, various streaming services, and online services. Its popularity has garnered worldwide name recognition in the gaming world, as it’s also capable of playing both CDs and DVDs. Its contribution to the corporate table is upwards of 11 Billion dollars annually. If you want to know how Microsoft developed, read on.
20. Change Comes In Every Season
All good things don’t last forever, and in 2000 Bill decided it was time to resign as the Director of Microsoft. There are speculative reasons why he chose this time to step down from his brainchild, but his replacement, Steve Ballmer, had able hands to take the realm in his stead.
Gates would continue, however, as the Chief Software Architect for eight years, as well as remaining Chairman of Redmond, Washington Microsoft. Bill had proven himself and lent himself as an example. If anybody deserved to take a step back, it was him because he achieved so much in the last years.
21. What’s Good For The Company
It wasn’t until 2014 when even more and more changes for Bill took place. He finally resigned from his Chair position on the Board of Directors and refocused his attention as an adviser in technology. It’s said that he wanted to focus on his philanthropic and charitable work within the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
And having established himself as a world-renowned figure, he was ready to gear his energies toward more homey activities with his wife and children. It’s not like he had anything else to prove. Microsoft was in good hands, and besides, he kept a set of keys.
22. All Work All The Time
Bill’s hard work ensures his belief that technology can change the world is being fulfilled. But with age, he’s mellowed, and his time management skill has as well. He’s earned it, as he’s led by example for decades while taking Microsoft to the stratosphere, and beyond.
Age also brought him a pearl of new wisdom, whereas he can pass on his work ethic as an example to those following in his footsteps. Working nights and weekends has its limits over an expanse of time, but we think the Billionaire deserves a vacation after all the work he has done in the last years.
23. When It’s Right, It’s Right
While Bill was the formidable leader and CEO at Microsoft, Melinda Ann French joined the company as a product manager in 1987. This is when they first met and locked eyes for the first time, although they wouldn’t fall in love and get married until 1994.
The nuptials for Mr. and Mrs. Bill Gates took place on New Year’s Day, January 1, on the Hawaiian Island of Lanai. Their marriage would take philanthropic work to the next level, as Melinda was just as ambitious toward noble causes as was Bill’s. It was a pretty big step for the life of Bill Gates and even Microsoft.
24. Family Matters
Melinda has an impressive list of accomplishments alongside her husband. She founded Pivotal Ventures, which is an investment company working toward social progress for American women and families. She became an author, writing about empowering women in 2019, among many other admirable associations, and of course she is the love of Bill’s life.
Together Bill and Melinda share three children: son, Rory John, daughter, Phoebe Adele, and their youngest daughter, Jennifer Katherine. They’re probably used to getting everything that they want, but Bill has been quoted as saying he won’t leave them much of anything, even though he’s worth a cool 130.5 Billion dollars.
25. It’s Not All About The Money
Well, he hasn’t specifically said how much of an inheritance he’s willing to leave his children, but he has said publicly that it will be “minuscule” in comparison to what he’s worth. $10 million is the number being floated around, which is already a pretty big number.
Yes, his children are said to each receive millions at the appointed time. Bill doesn’t want his children spoiled rotten, jaded, or incapable of functioning in society because they don’t have to. He was a child who came from means, and he knows how easily a child can rest on their parents’ accomplishments.
27. There’s No Place Like Home
The Gates family real estate portfolio is estimated to be worth a cool $170 million. The main home that they share is a mansion close to Lake Washington (Medina), Washington. It is pretty unique and obviously a nice place to live in. But there are even other interesting facts about it.
This property itself is estimated at well over $125 million. It includes a 60 square foot swimming pool, plenty of extravagant amenities, and a land area measuring around 65,000 square feet, which is indeed pretty huge. I’m sure no one is pressed for elbow room in this spacious layout.
27. A Family Worth More
Bill and Melinda have built a home and an empire while maintaining a family life. It looks as though they’re striving to maintain a structure and balance despite their wealth. Part of the reason Gates decided to step down from many of his company’s duties was to make his family more of a priority.
He has said that he wants to be able to enjoy them more, rearranging his life to do it. Fortunately for him, his success has allowed him to do as he pleases. Desiring to focus your energy on your family is certainly admirable and also important for Bill.
28. Partners In Support Of Each Other
Melinda Gates has indeed had to be a force reckoned with herself while having to stand next to an accomplished man such as Bill Gates. His name recognition attracts a wide range of curiosity, speculation, and assumptions due to his public standing.
She’s been up to the challenge since day one, as they’ve been married for already 27 years, which is a very long time to be with a partner these days. And having established charitable institutions that help people all over the world, raising three children, and representing Microsoft, it appears they did it all in great grand fashion.
29. Giving Back
Bill and Melinda remain strong advocates and participants in their philanthropic ventures. Giving back to the world, amongst all of their wealth, is the least they could do. This foundation opened a whole new world of opportunities for Bill and Melinda to help the world and people who really need those help.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given them the opportunity to provide life-changing applications to both Americans, and many countries abroad, which is pretty great. Neither of them has shown signs of slowing down when it comes to bringing their brand of solutions to an ever-growing population.
30. The World At Large
From Africa to India, to Mexico, just to name a few countries, Bill and Melinda have certainly piled up significant travel advantage points. They really wanted to be in as many countries as possible. Though they’ve taken breathers and vacations by themselves and with their children, the majority of their travels have been in conjunction with their foundation.
They truly have the desire toward making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged people around the world, that’s why they founded the foundation. And their charity funds a host of programs offering solutions involving medicine, financial aid, reproductive solutions, and so much more.
31. I Wonder What TED Thinks About Bill
Gates has spoken at the TED Talks Conferences many times, sharing ideas for a better world. He believes he really has the solution to many of our issues, and he’s making sure his points are getting across.
Some of Bill’s lectures on TED Talks include: Innovating to zero! In Feb of 2010; How state budgets are breaking US schools in Mar of 2011; Teachers need real feedback in May of 2013; The next outbreak? We’re not ready in April of 2015; coronavirus pandemic in Mar of 2020; The innovations we need to avoid a climate disaster in Mar of 2021.
32. Reaching For The Sun
The story doesn’t stop here for Bill Gates, in fact, it’s just getting started. But what could happen next now in this incredible story about Bill Gates’ life? After establishing his company, Microsoft, and its world-recognizable software programming brand, there still seems more to do for his multi-Billionaire.
He’s tackling our worlds’ issues with innovative solutions toward making changes that he’s sharing with the world. When most moguls quietly retire into the sunset, Bill reaches toward the sun to find ways to make things better. He continues to diligently search for impactful solutions that will make our world a better place.
33. Bill Buys Major Farm Land Acreage
Gates farm mega farmland purchase will be used to bring about change. As it’s reported that he has acquired 242,000 acres in American farmland. This makes him the largest private-farmland owner in the U.S. which is a really huge thing.
His recent purchases span an area of 18 states, stretching from Washington to Florida. It’s also reported that is farmland is the main potato provider for McDonald’s French fries. It’s said that his potato fields are large enough to be seen from space. Hopefully, his use of this land will benefit all of us in the way in which he envisioned.
34. Blocking Out The Sun For Our Own Good
Is Bill Gates thinking about dimming the sun? It’s reported that his interest in solar geoengineering technology has him interested in backing a venture to spray dust particles into the atmosphere to do just that. Why, you may ask? Bill believes that reflecting the sun’s light would cause the global cooling effect that scientists say is necessary to combat global climate change.
The Harvard University scientists involved in this idea are said to solve our problem by spraying a cloud of non-toxic dust into space, thereby blocking the sun and offsetting the effects of global climate warming. If this is possible, then we might all take a look-up at the sky soon, as to see our climate change problem disappear behind a puff of dust.
35. Plant-Based Meat
Bill decided to become an investor in Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. Both of these food products are meatless solutions to our consumption of animals. Therefore, we can save the lives of many animals and still have the taste of meat, which is a pretty easy way to become a vegetarian.
He was quoted as saying on The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations – “Cows and other grass-eating species have a digestive system that emits methane. And methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas. And so cows alone account for about 6% of global emissions, and we need to cows…”
36. Synthetic Beef As A Solution
Forbes reports that Bill Gates Wants Rich Countries To Move To 100% Synthetic Beef.” Once again, it’s a solution for us to save the world by way of cutting down on pollution, according to Bill. He really tried everything he could to make this world a better place to live in.
As it relates to his plant-based investments with Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, Bill truly believes that synthetic beef will satisfy the most-hearty of beef eat eaters without them noticing the difference. But what was Bill next steps in his life? Read on to find out what he did next.
37. Synthetic Breast Milk Lightens Footprint
Bill has also invested in a company, Biomilq. It’s cultured breast cells, but they’re done in a lab. Bill took interest in the company and offered $3.5 million towards its development. It’s an interesting concept that natural breast milk could be replaced with something containing the same amount of essential nutrients, but it’s possible.
He believes in “the mother of all patented technology.” It’s another effort to combat the carbon footprint that the infant formula industry makes in our world. Biomilq is among funding for various Breakthrough Energy Ventures that Bill Gates and his investing firm were happy to fund.
38. Nuclear Reaction
Bill and Warren Buffet have both dedicated themselves to putting up 1 Billion dollars toward the Next-Gen Nuclear Reactor, which is a huge amount of money. Their reactor is said to be smaller, safer, and less expensive while performing better which would be pretty good for the world and the nature too.
The Gates and Buffet collaboration will be the first of its kind, in terms of nuclear reactors. This powerhouse duo will launch their first Natrium reactor in Wyoming. Gates’ TerraPower, along with Buffet’s own PacifiCorp and Berkshire Hathaway, and their Nuclear Plant plans will be announced by the end of the year.
39. Bill And Melinda To End Their Marriage
Unfortunately, after 27 years of marriage, Bill and Melinda Gates have decided to call it quits. Their long-running marriage is headed for divorce court, as they both have confirmed. It’s a bitter-sweet ending to a love story, however, it appears that they will continue their dedicated efforts toward the organizations and charities that remain near and dear to their hearts.
The announcement came as unexpected news for the world, particularly because the Billion-dollar fortune involves no reported prenup. Still, we wish them well, hoping their work for all the good they do in the world will continue even if they are not married anymore.
40. What More Is There To Say
Not to be undone, Bill Gates has accomplished much to be proud of. He and his childhood friend, Allen Payne, started the successful Microsoft, and it shook the world. Gates went on to chair his company, get married, have three children, and provide the world with innovative ideas with which we can live better.
He did all of these things due to his tenacity and strong belief in change for the better. Yes, Bill Gates has and has had many interesting concepts that he’s developing right now, but what’s else is a bright Billionaire to do? What will Bill Gates do in the future, we are excited.