How to Write an Autobiography of Bill Gates?


Let’s learn how to write an autobiography of Bill Gates! Education is definitely important, and completing higher education can help you get the job you have been looking for all your life. But some have the caliber to define this so-called norm because they have their own vision, a vision to change the world as we know it, forever!

Autobiography of Bill Gates

One such visionary was William Henry Gates, or as the whole world knows him, Bill Gates. Despite dropping out of college education, he went on to become one of the world’s most famous software developers and a very influential figure in the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. But how did he become the man that he is today?

Much like any other great man in the world, he too has a story behind all this success!

But first, let’s look at who is Bill Gates?

how write autobiography bill gates
How to write autobiography bill gates

The real name of Bill Gates is William Henry Gates III, and he was born on October 28, 1955. To the whole world, he is known as one of the most famous American business magnates, software developers, investors, authors, and philanthropists. His claim to fame happened due to being the co-founder of Microsoft, along with his late childhood friend Paul Allen. During the prime of his career, he was the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), president, and chief software architect of the company. Till May 2014, he was the company’s largest individual shareholder. 

He, along with his childhood friend Allen founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over the span of a few years, this company became the world’s largest personal computer software company. After a long and eventful professional life at Microsoft, he transitioned to a part-time role at Microsoft and concentrated most of his time at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is a private charitable foundation established with his then-wife, Melinda Gates. In February 2014, he himself stepped down as chairman of the board of Microsoft, and he was succeeded by the newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella. However, he assumed a new post as technology adviser to support Nadella during his formative years. In March 2020, he finally left his board positions at Microsoft to focus only on his philanthropic efforts.

Right from 1987, he has been included in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people. As a matter of fact, right from 1995 to 2017, he was the wealthiest person in the world according to Forbes, every year except from 2010 to 2013. It was in October 2017; Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos surpassed him. The net worth of Bezos at that point in time was US$90.6 billion. Currently, with an estimated net worth of US$129 billion, he is the fourth-richest person in the world.

It is pretty challenging to write an autobiography of a man like him in such a short span, so here I am trying to trace the formative years of his life when he started his journey towards becoming the most celebrated software developer in the world.

It was Microsoft but made a big bang…!

I was told that I was born in Seattle, Washington, on October 28, 1955. My father was named William H. Gates Sr.[b] and my mother was Mary Maxwell Gates (1929–1994). My father was an eminent lawyer, and my mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem. I have two sisters, and most of you might not know, but I am the fourth person to have the name William Gates III, but some family members used to call me “Trey” (i.e., three) since my father had the “II” suffix. In the city of Seattle, we used to live in a home that was damaged by a rare tornado. I was around seven years old when that had happened.

When I was young, my parents wanted me to pursue a law career. I was pretty small and puny for his age and was thus bullied as a child. My family had a competitive attitude, and they always encouraged that. But I had some other inclinations.

When I was 13 and studying in the private Lakeside prep school, I had written my first software program. I still remember when I was in the eighth grade, the Mothers’ Club at our school used proceeds from the Lakeside School’s rummage sale to buy one Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal and a lot of computer time on a General Electric (GE) computer for the students. Since I had a keen interest in programming the GE system in BASIC, my teachers used to excuse me from math classes to pursue this interest. My first computer program was a kind of implementation of tic-tac-toe, and it allowed you to play games against the computer. I was absolutely fascinated by the machine and the magic of software codes. So, when the computer time was exhausted, we used to seek other means. That even landed us in some trouble as well.

But it was around that time when I, along with my three friends, formed the Lakeside Programmers Club to make money. Our first assignment was to find the bugs in CCC’s software in exchange for extra computer time. We were the ones who planted the bugs in the first place. But I thought, why to use the system remotely when I can go to CCC’s offices and study source code for various programs that ran on the system. There I had learned about Fortran, Lisp, and machine language.

But we didn’t stop there. The following year, the teacher asked Evans and me to automate the school’s class-scheduling system. In return, they had provided us with computer time and royalties. We were working so hard and diligently to have the program ready for their senior year. But fate had other things in store. Around the end of our junior year, Evans was killed in a mountain climbing accident. It was one of the saddest days of my life. Later, I asked Allen to help me finish the system for Lakeside.

When I was in Harvard, I managed to write an interesting piece of an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems seen in a combinatorics class by Professor Harry Lewis. It had a record of being the fastest version for over 30 years. Everyone praised me, and my solution was formalized and published in collaboration with Harvard computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou.

Around that time, I was in touch with Paul Allen, and I also joined him at Honeywell during the summer of 1974. But next year, when the MITS Altair 8800 was released based on the Intel 8080 CPU, both of us saw the opportunity to start our own computer software company. It was then when I decided to leave Harvard and build my own company. Thankfully, my parents were supportive of me after seeing how much I wanted to start my own company. 

Bill Gates and Microsoft

I read the 1975’s January issue of Popular Electronics where the Altair 8800 was demonstrated. I immediately contacted Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) to inform them that I and some other developers were working on a BASIC interpreter for the platform. Although I had not thought about meeting them, it was just to understand their interest. However, they agreed to meet me, and this made us work for a few weeks and develop an Altair emulator that ran on a minicomputer and then the BASIC interpreter. We held the demonstration at MITS’s offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We were successful and resulted in a deal with MITS to distribute the interpreter as Altair BASIC. They hired Allen, and I took a leave of absence from Harvard and worked with him at MITS in November 1975. It was Allen who named our partnership “Micro-Soft”, a combination of “microcomputer” and “software”. The first employee we even hired was our high school collaborator Ric Weiland. We later dropped the hyphen within one year and officially and finally registered the company’s name “Microsoft” with the New Mexico Secretary of the State on the month of November 26, 1976.

We, as Microsoft, became independent of MITS in late 1976, and we continued to develop programming language software for various systems. Around that time, we moved the company from Albuquerque to Bellevue, Washington, on January 1, 1979.

 I can personally say that for the first five years, I used to review and rewrite every bit of code that the company produced in its first five years. But as we grew, I transitioned into a manager than an executive.

Bill Gates & Windows

It was the 80s, and Apple’s Macintosh GUI was ruling the market, bewitching consumers with its simplicity and ease of use. To compete in the market, we developed the first retail version of Microsoft Windows. Later, we struck a deal with IBM to develop a separate operating system called OS/2. Over the years, the operating system grew out of DOS, and with Windows 95, the DOS text screen was completely removed. One year later, Windows XP was released. It was the same year; I decided to step down as Microsoft CEO. 

Conclusion

Apart from being a software developer, Bill Gates will always be relevant for his philanthropic efforts and vision in the world context.

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