Jan 09, 2014 01:09 AM EST
Bill Gates – a business magnate, dutiful philanthropist, software pioneer, and the world’s richest man. Let’s take a look at 50 of the most interesting things you probably didn’t know about Microsoft’s co-founder.
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1. Bill Gates was born William Henry Gates III, the fourth in his family to be given the name. Because his father had the suffix “II”, Bill was called by the nickname of “Trey.”
2. Gates attended the exclusive Lakeside School, one of handful schools in the US with a computer terminal at the time. Gates interest in the computer programming was such that he was excused from Math classes to pursue it.
3. Gates first computer program ever was a tic-tac-toe game.
4. Gates hacked his school program to schedule students in classes, changing the code so that he was placed in classes with “disproportionate number of interesting girls.”
5. At 17, Gates sold his first computer program, a timetable system for his high school for which he pocketed a $4,200.
6. Gates graduated from Lakeside School with a score of 1590 out of 1600, and then went to Harvard in 1973 where he met Steve Balmer.
7. As sophomore at Harvard, Gates wrote a pancake sorting algorithm which for over 30 years held the record as the fastest solution to the problem presented in a combinatorics class by Henry Lewis.
8. At Harvard he told professors that he would become a millionaire before he was 30. By 31 he was a billionaire.
9. In 1975, Gates dropped out of Harvard and joined his childhood friend Paul Allen to form a company which they named “Micro-Soft.” The hyphen fell off within a year.
10. Interestingly enough, Microsoft wasn't Bill and Paul Allen first venture. They had come together earlier to create Traf-O-Data, a company that made traffic counters built on the Intel 8008 processor.
11. In 1977 he was arrested in New Mexico for driving without license.
12. During the first five years of the company, Gates reviewed every single line of code the company shipped.
13. In the industry, Gates developed a reputation as a fierce competitor as well as not being reachable the phone or returning phone calls.
14. In an interview, Gates conceded that Control-Alt-Delete key combination to log into a PC was a mistake.
15. He paid $30.1 million at an auction in 1994 for the Codex Leichester, a collection of writing by Leonardo Da Vinci.
16. Committed in giving back most of his fortune through charity work, Gates has reportedly reserved only about $10 million for each of his children.
17. When asked why he was active on Twitter and not on Facebook, Bill Gates, who is a friend of Mark Zuckerberg, said: “The friend requests got out of hand…”
18. To show how much he appreciated his collection of Da Vinci manuscripts, Gates said that if he would have to choose between his legacy and rescuing the writings from a burning home, he would invariably opt for the latter.
19. A money machine in the most authentic sense of the word would show that Gates makes in average about $250 per second, $15,000 per minute, and almost $20 million every day.
20. His net worth briefly surpassed $101 billion 1999, causing the media to call “centibilionaire.”
21. His wealth rival that of 40 countries put together, and not 140 countries like some people has been led to believe.
22. From 1995 through 2008, Gates was the richest man on earth, before being dethroned momentarily by Warren Buffet. In 2013, he recouped the top position after seeing his fortune increased by US$15.8 billion to US$78.5 billion.
23. Thirty-two years after dropping out of Harvard University in 2007, Gates returned to his school to receive an honorary degree, thus vindicating a promise he had made to his father to one day get his degree.
24. Towards the end of his life, Steve Jobs reportedly kept a letter from Bill Gates near his bed.
25. Through his foundation, Gates has donated over $28 billion, the largest volume of capital ever mainlined to charity.
26. Out of spite, Steve Jobs is said to have left Bill Gates waiting for an hour at the NeXT offices before meeting him.
27. In recognition to his charitable contributions around the globe, in 2005, Gates was knighted by Queen Elizabeth of England with the KBE Order.
28. During an interview, Gates mistakenly disclosed that Mark Zuckerberg was engaged to his long-time girlfriend, Priscilla China. The claim was promptly rebutted by Facebook’s Head of Communication, Elliot Schrage.
29. Before their fallout, in the 80’s Bill Gates and Steve Jobs enjoyed going on double dates with the women they were dating at the time.
30. On December 9, 2010, Gates, investor Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook's CEO) signed the "Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge", in which they promised to donate to charity at least half of their wealth.
31. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been criticized by the Los Angeles Times for investing in companies that have been accused of worsening poverty, polluting heavily, and pharmaceutical companies that do not sell into the developing world.
32. In a Microsoft ad launched in 2008, Gates appeared, alongside Jerry Seinfeld, who engages in conversations with strangers before walking up on a discount shoe store where Gates was buying a shoe.
33. It wasn't that rare, Microsoft workers attest, that the big boss would interrupt a presentation saying: "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!"
34. In 1994, Bill married his long-time girlfriend Melinda French, with whom they have had three children: daughters Jennifer Katharine and Phoebe Adele, and son Rory John.
35. If he was a country, Gates would be the 37th richest country on earth.
36. After stepping down as Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer in January 2000, Gates remained as chairman and created the position of chief software architect for himself.
37. After stepping down as Microsoft’s CEO, Gates purchased the video rights to the Messenger Lectures series called The Character of Physical Law, given at Cornell University by Richard Feynman in 1964.
38. Gates has been quoted as saying that he believes his wealth would have a “meaningless impact” if invested in the efforts against cancer rather than treating malaria.
39. One of the delights of his children is to tease him by singing the song ‘Billionaire’ by Bruno Mars and Travis McCoy.
40. Gates pays almost $1 million in property taxes for his home, a magnificent house overlooking Lake Washington that is estimated to be worth $125 million.
41. After being caught exploiting bugs in the OS to steal computer time, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and two other friends were banned from computer usage by the Computer Center Corporation.
42. Xanadu 2.0, Gates family mansion, boasts a 17-by-60-foot swimming pool with underground music system and a floor painted in a fossil motif.
43. Melinda was a Microsoft worker in 1987 when she met Bill Gates who would become her husband and father of her children
44. In one of his failed predictions, Gates said that spammed email messages would be eliminated in two years, by 2004.
45. He has been quoted as saying that Microsoft would “never make a 32-bit operating system,” which the company, of course, eventually did in 1992 with the Window NT.
46. In yet another fit of short-sightedness, Gates predicted that users would never need more than 640 kilobytes of memory on their PC. He was wrong, of course.
47. What does Bill Gates, Julia Roberts, Brad Paisley and Frank Ocean have in common? They all share the same birthday, October 28.
48. Gates is known for being the king when it comes to bargaining for the best prices on vaccines.
49. Gates wife and children are not allowed to own or use an Apple product. A restriction was also put in place by Steve Balmer for his family.
50. After leaving Microsoft, Gates founded several business ventures, including Corbis, TerraPower, and Research Gate.
51. Gates is an avid Porsche collector. His collection includes a Porsche 911 convertible and a ‘88 Porsche 959 Coupe, which due to its unknown crash rating required President Clinton to sign a federal law for Gates to drive it in the U.S.