Updated: Aug 21
How should I do in order to become as rich as Bill Gates? how good was Bill Gates to become so successful and so rich? is there a formula?
Learning out side of school
First, Gates has a lot of help, and he used them smartly. He is a brilliant businessmen from very young. In this regard, he is just like Jobs and Musk. They are good students, they are bad students- the key is that they learned beyond school classrooms.
Gates had a lot of factors going for him:
His father is a big lawyer and his mother is a corporate board member. The family knows business. And they were wealthy: Bill was born on third base, as the saying goes.
His best friend Paul Allen is a great partner in business. It is like the Jobs-Wozniak duo. It is unbeatable and not separable.
Digital computer patents was made invalid in Oct 1973 in the famous Honeywell v. Sperry-Rand case. Allen dropped out of school to work for Honeywell before the ruling happened. Microsoft had a great marketing man.
He learned to become good with new skills at the right time and he dug deep.
He and Allen became businessmen and entrepreneurs in high school.
He was a shrewd businessman - second to none.
His major at Harvard was in law not CS. Yet, in 1973, he could already write full codes. Unfortunately, college kids today still can not.
The story of how Gates obtained the business of IBM PC operating system was legendary.
In business, watch for trends, spot opportunities, take chance and hope for luck. To start a business, be in business first like Gates and Allen. Then quit school (on opportunity), take chance (make OS software) and wish for luck (Bill’s Mom is IBM CEO’s good friend!)
Behind every successful man, there is a successful mother, and a machinist father.
Bill Gates got his first taste of success with making the BASIC compiler. However, his real riches is made in OS - operating systems for PC. How he got the deal was a story of legend - 49% luck, 51% controlled luck.
When Gates was contacted by IBM for providing an OS, the young Microsoft Company does not have an OS product. However, Gary Kildall’s Digital Research does. It is called the CP/M operating system. When Gates introduced the IBM team to meet Kildall, there are three versions of stories:
Kildall met IBM, but refused to sign an agreement. Kildall want a royalty payment schedule, where DR is paid for each copy sold.
Gates’ version of story is the Kildall was not interested in IBM. He went sailing that afternoon at the appointment time. But many books said that was not true. Gary was waiting in the office.
In any case, IBM and Digital Research did not agree on anything. Kildall could have been the richest man on earth, if he could just let IBM agree to the deal that later IBM agreed to Gates.
Gates went on to purchase a QDOS system (quick and dirty operating system) and signed a very smart legal deal with IBM (Gates majored pre-law at Harvard). Kildall later accused Microsoft and QDOS makers to infringe on his IP.
What I am trying to tell is not the story it self, but the fact that every success was more complicated than people would give credit for. Mary Gates was a friend of IBM’s then CEO, when IBM was under the 1969 anti-trust investigation. For some reason, Gates was able to get the DOC system and sell it with a fantastic sales contracts that does not lock out the clones.
Work hard, startup the right time, and count your luck. Have angels hover your shoulder.
Gary Kildall worked hard to make the CP/M operating system, but he was not as lucky as Gates.
Why Gates know the power of Law?
Paul Allen, Gates’ cofounder, left college after two years and went to work for Honeywell, a company very critical to the Honeywell, Inc. vs. Sperry Rand Corp. patent case. It is only conceivable that Paul Allen’s industrial experience would gave the duo considerable unfair advantage.