Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Publication: Historical Archives. Posted by
Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Bill Gates showing the storage capacity of the CD-ROM
“This CD-ROM can hold more information than all the paper that’s here below me.” Ranked as the second richest person in the world behind Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates has certainly earned every penny of his impressive $100 billion net worth. Gates is the principal founder of the Microsoft Corporation, which was established in 1975 and has since taken the technology world by storm as the world’s largest PC software company.
With Gates at the helm of Microsoft serving as Chairman, CEO, and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft flourished under his leadership and continuously diversified by introducing new technology into the market. One such introduction came in 1994 when Gates staged this photo to show the storage capacity of CD-ROM, a new component in the Microsoft PC along with a suite of programs known as Microsoft Office. The picture spoke volumes about Gates’ innovative mind and his influence on the world of technology, which is what brings us to take a closer look at the 63-year-old’s life, career, and his impact on the world!
Gates: The Man on the Mountain of Paper
Long before he climbed a stack of documents to introduce the CD-ROM, William Henry Gates III was born and raised in Seattle, Washington where his father was a prominent lawyer and his mother served on the Board of Directors for United Way and the First Interstate BancSystem. Gates was only 13 years old when he wrote his first software program. His interest in computers expanded throughout his time at the private preparatory Lakeside School where he and a few other friends—Paul Allen and Ric Weiland—stayed busy writing computer programs that tricked their instructors into giving them more time in the computer lab.
By the time Gates graduated in 1973, he was a National Merit Scholar and enrolled at Harvard College. Initially a pre-law student, he took graduate-level mathematics and computer science courses but even those failed to keep his interest as he spent most of his time using Harvard’s computers rather than attending class. In the summer of 1974, Gates joined his friend, Paul Allen, for a summer job at Honeywell. Over the course of the summer, the friends worked together and coordinated the launch of their software company. First, Gates had to convince his parents that his decision to drop out of Harvard was a good idea. Fortunately, they supported his decision as he later said, “If things at Microsoft hadn’t worked out, I could always go back to school. I was officially on a leave of absence.”
Gates and Allen established the Microsoft Corporation on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. Within a few years, Microsoft dominated the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s and then with Microsoft Windows. With Gates serving as the Chairman, CEO, and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft flourished as the company continuously diversified and made Gates one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution.
By 1987, Gates’ hard work started paying off even more when he was named one of the wealthiest people in the world by Forbes magazine. Fast forward a few years and Gates made history once again when Microsoft introduced a new suite known as Microsoft Office featuring applications like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel as well as data saving capabilities like the CD-ROM. To drive his point home on how innovative the computer’s technology was, he staged this picture in 1994 to reveal how much paper and data one CD-ROM could store.
“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life,” Gates said. Gates put that technological advancement to use shortly after the picture made headlines when he published his 1995 book, The Road Ahead, which came with a companion CD-ROM. The book addressed Gates’ vision for technology and a world connected by the internet and fueled by inexpensive computers and communications. As it turns out, Gates’ prediction was accurate as he led the technology revolution.
Gates: Legacy and Life Today
“Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity—the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires.” Gates stepped down from his position as Chairman of Microsoft in February 2014 and assumed his new post as a technology adviser. In the years since then, he’s focused more on philanthropy alongside his wife, Melinda Gates, and friends like Warren Buffett. He teamed up with Buffett in 2009 to establish The Giving Pledge in which Buffett, Gates, and several other billionaires pledged to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy in an effort to improve global health and save lives.
Gates has kept his promise to give back and is now the second richest man in the world behind Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. With a net worth of $100 billion and counting, Gates shares a large portion of his wealth with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which he established in 2013 after donating $5 billion worth of stock. The foundation is organized into four programs—Global Development, Global Health, United States, and Global Policy & Advocacy. Beyond his work with his foundation and The Giving Pledge, Gates also makes many personal donations and vows to only leave his three children $10 million each as their inheritance. That means the rest of his fortune will be distributed among other causes and foundations close to his heart.
This philanthropic lifestyle and his innovation are what truly set Gates apart from the rest as he paved the way for new technology over the last four decades. “The PC has improved the world in just about every area you can think of,” he said of his greatest accomplishment with Microsoft. “Amazing developments in communications, collaboration, and efficiencies. New kinds of entertainment and social media. Access to information and the ability to give a voice to people who would have never been heard.” That voice stems from a former Harvard student who dropped out to follow a dream that turned him into a billionaire business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, humanitarian, and computer programmer capable of changing the world.