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“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” says William “Bill” Henry Gates III. A very successful entrepreneur and businessman. Bill Gates and his business partner, Paul Allen, teamed up and built the world’s largest software business, which is known as Microsoft.
In 1986, Bill took Microsoft public. He began offering shares at $21.00 per share. At the young age of 31 years old, Bill was a millionaire.Bill as a child, enjoyed reading. His favorite book was the encyclopedia, he would spend hours just reading through them. Bill was what some people would consider a loner in school. His parents noticed that he was getting bored in school and having some behavior issues. They decided to enroll him into a private school where he eventually excelled.The school offered computer time to the students. This was something that the parents of the school, came together to raise enough money, to purchase a computer for the school. Bill became interested in the computer and how it functioned. He even wrote a software program that students could use to play tic tac toe against the computer. Bill had a good friend through high school named, Paul Allen. They connected because both had a love for computers. They spent a lot of time together working on new computer programs.
There were times when they would get in such bad arguments that Paul would kick Bill out of the computer lab. Bill was a combative person, as to where Paul was quiet and shy. They would always argue who was going to run the computer lab. During this time, they created bugs within the software to allow them more computer time. Unfortunately, they got caught and were suspended from using the computers.When the suspension was up, Bill and Paul offered to fix the program bugs in exchange for more computer time. The school approached Bill and asked if he would write a program for the school’s student scheduling. Of course, Bill had to have some fun with the program, so he put himself in 3 classes with all the pretty girls. The school’s software company filed bankruptcy, they approached Bill and asked him if he would write a payroll program for them. Bill agreed, if he was given computer time and royalties for the software program. The school agreed to his request.
Later, Bill and Paul created a little business that made traffic counters. The counters would monitor the traffic patterns in Seattle where they lived. This little business venture proved to be successful. They made $30,000 within a few months. It was a short-lived business venture since both Bill and Paul’s parents wanted the boys to further their education. Bill graduated from high school with a 1590 on his SAT (1600 being the perfect score) and was accepted into Harvard University where his dad also graduated from. He was following in his dad’s footsteps and declared Pre-Law to be his major. All along, Bill was not interested in law. His desire was computers and computer programs. Bill spent most of his time in the computer lab. He took Math and Graduate Level Computer Science classes. He was not a student that required much sleep. Bill would always wait until that last minute to study for an exam and still pass it.After attending Harvard University for 2 years, Bill decided he was going to drop out of college and pursued his dream of becoming a successful business owner.
His parents were very supportive of his decision. He told them that if it did not work out, then he could return to college, and finish his Law Degree.Paul also dropped out of college and moved to Boston, MA. Paul began working with Honeywell. He ran across an article about a new MITS Altair minicomputer kit and immediately showed the article to Bill and they decided to contact MITS. They told a little lie and said that they were working on a software program that would run the Altair computer. In truth, they did not have a program to run the MITS Altair. They were just curious if MITS was interested in hiring someone to develop their software.The President (Ed Roberts) of MITS contacted Bill and wanted to see a demonstration of the software.
After months of Bill and Paul building the program, Paul flew to New Mexico and gave a demonstration of the program to the president of MITS on the Altair computer. This program had not been tested prior to presenting it to the President of the company. Just like that, it worked, and MITS purchased the software language for $3000.00 plus royalties for each copy sold. Paul became the Vice President and Director of Software for MITS. Bill and the President of MITS did not have a good working relationship. The President of MITS decided to sale the business and go in a different career direction. This caused some issues, they had to sue the new owner of MITS to retain their software rights that they had developed. Bill and Paul then formed a partnership and registered their trademark “Microsoft”. Bill got 60% and Paul got 40% of the partnership. They became increasingly upset with the widespread piracy of Microsoft during the early years. In turn, Bill created a Read Only Memory.
Since Bill and Paul retained their rights and now have a trademark, they could write software in different formats for other computer companies such as IBM.This was just the beginning of a very successful and profitable business for Bill Gates and Paul Allen. They are billionaires just because they found interest in computers during the time when people were still trying to figure out their point and use. In fact, I am tying this paper on a Microsoft program. Just as Bill Gates said, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others”.
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