Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tic-Tac-Toe, Pancakes, and Malaria: The Bill Gates Story

William Henry Gates III was born in 1955 in Seattle, Washington. His family was well-to-do, his father was an attorney.

In 8th grade, Bill's interest in computers was sparked when he was able to program an early computer to play tic-tac-toe with a human. When he and three others found a way to change the computer's programming so they could get free time on it, they were banned for the summer from school.

                     Useless trivia:    #   used to mean number, then pound, now 'hashtag.'

However, they returned, and were then hired to write first a payroll program on the computer, and then one for scheduling classes. Bill modified the scheduling program so that he was placed in classes with "an inordinate number of interesting girls."


At age 17, he and a friend formed a company they called TraffOData, which made traffic counters.

In 1973, at age 18, Bill became a page in the U.S. House of Representatives. He scored a 1590 out of 1600 on his SATs and was accepted to Harvard. In his sophomore year, he wrote an algorithm for sorting pancakes as a class project.

In 1975, he formed Microsoft. He did not finish his college degree.

In 1980, IBM asked Microsoft to write an operating system for their IBM PC.

The first version of Microsoft Windows was released in 1985.

             Imagine being part of the process that started with computers the size of a room....

                                        ........to the laptop...........

      .......to the tablet... Not to mention the Smart Phone/Android and other computer-driven items.

In 1987, Bill Gates' net worth was about $1.25 billion.

Up until 2006, Gates was the Chief Executive Officer of his company, and worked on all product strategy plans. He eventually eased off his role as CEO but still has an active role in the running of Microsoft. He now devotes most of his time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is involved in charity work, including:

Disease prevention such as HIV, Malaria, and TB
Vaccinations such as polio
Agricultural Development
Maternal Health
Clean water
Education - The Gates Millenium Scholarship Fund in particular


He has donated $20 million to MIT and $6 million to Stanford

On 8-14-2014 he dumped a bucket of ice water over his head to raise money and awareness of ALS, when challenged by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The video:


Gates' hobbies include playing bridge, tennis, and golf.

He has written two books relating to computer science: The Road Ahead and Business @ the Speed of Thought, and is featured in three documentaries, "Triumph of the Nerds," "Waiting for "Superman," and "The Virtual Revolution." He was played by Steven Sires in the film "The Social Network."

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