How Bill Gates Started – Infographic Biography

It was a regular day in the Gates household. When the family was getting ready and Bill, known in his family as Trey, was still downstairs, his mother called down to his room in the basement, “Trey, what are you doing down there?”
“I’m thinking, mother. Don’t you ever think?” he shot back.
How Bill Gates started, Microsoft founder infographic

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Bill Gates’s father was a lawyer. A very successful one. His mother a teacher. Reading business magazines in middle school, Bill Jr. had a different dream – to open a company. You could say that’s how he started – with a childish dream. Many kids have dreams, though. How was he different?

How Bill Gates  Started To Hack

Next, Bill Gates saw a computer at 13. The school he went to bought one machine and a teletype. He paid for the time to use it. When money ran out, he hacked into the computer to use it for free. Then he got banned by the school. Then the school realized he had a rare skill so they asked him to use the computer and help them find bugs. He started to be a hacker.

Bill Gates believes he can improve the way he thinks in general. He suggests and himself practices “brain rules” from the eponymous book by John Medina. The rules explain how the brain works from musical memory to the ability to play baseball.

Since this is an infographic blog, I should mentioned that Bill Gates, is specifically concerned about the trend to distort facts and data with infographics. To spot visual lie and learn what statistics actually say he recommends a very old but spot-on book How To Lie With Statistics.

Started to Hustle

Next, Bill scored 1590 out of 1600 on SAT. He went to Harvard. Only to find himself unsure about where to start – as a pre-law major or as something else? Reading Popular Mechanics one day in college he read an ad about a new computer. He called them to say that he wrote a programming language for it. (He hadn’t.) He asked if they might buy it. He hadn’t even started to write the language. But, he started to be a hustler. And, yes, the computer company was very interested in buying.


Being a Workaholic

Next Bill sat down with his friend Paul from high school, and the two wrote that programming language that he talked about on the phone. Bill wrote 50% of the code, using Harvard’s computers. Bill coded all day long, slept at the computer, woke up and picked up programming exactly where he left off. Bill started to be a workaholic.


Being a Copyright Guru

When they were done, Bill flew to New Mexico to show this new language he had written called BASIC. The computer company bought it for $3,000. But Bill kept the copyright. Did he somehow know it would be worth a lot in the future? So he started to be a copyright guru.


Started to Visualize the Future

Five years later IBM knocked on Bill’s door to see if he had written an operating system they could buy. Bill hadn’t. But he said, “Yes.” Real quick, he found an operating system from another person in Seattle and bought it. With the copyright. Then he sold it to IBM. For a lot more. This was DOS. And without copyright – they never asked for it. “Who would pay for software?” they reasoned. It’s the hardware that people are after. Bill saw the opportunity to make people pay for software. Bill started to see the future. He was now a visionary.


Bill Gates Started to Be a Perfectionist

Then Steve Jobs showed up. He wanted Bill to write new software that was visual. Programs like Excel and Words. Programs that looked human. Bill got down to work. Jobs thought Bill’s team’s product was tasteless, but Bill kept at it. He got better and better until he got really good. Bill started to be a perfectionist.


Being a Visual Thinker

But Bill was not going to spend his life working on Jobs’ brilliant ideas. Ideas, after all, are worthless until executed. Plus, Jobs’ ideas were stolen anyway. And so it was fair game to do the same. Bill remembered where he saw this idea of visual interfaces – it was Xerox. And now he wanted to create a visual operating system of his own. He called it Windows. He started to be a visual thinker.


Being a Tough Cookie

When Jobs heard about Windows, he went ballistic. He lashed out at Bill calling him down to Cupertino. In front of ten Apple employees Jobs accused Gates for robbing Apple. Bill listened calmly and replied that Jobs stole the idea just as he did himself. Bill started to be a tough cookie.

When Windows launched, Bill visualized a world where every home had a computer, and that computer was running Windows. Bill started to become very rich. And as his vision materialized, by 39 he became the richest man in the world.


Most facts in the timeline are based on bio from Bill Gate’s website and Walter Isacson’s book The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.

This book is not entirely about Bill Gates.. but the book do have in depth story about how Bill Gates start microsoft.
The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens.

Bill Gates has not written a book laying out exactly how he built Microsoft. He gave no easily applicable recipes in the books that he did write. Still. We know that from early childhood Bill Gates has been reading an extraordinary number of books, a habit he contunues to have to this day. So when he says that some book ais a favorite of his, is comes from a large sample. Among all business books he has read, Gates singled out a classic old book that lays bare the inner workings of Wall Street Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street.


Research, writing and information design: Anna Vital, editing the drafts: Mark Vital, face illustration: Alex Unak