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How Bill Gates Went From Childhood Nerd to Multi-Billionaire

Today, we know Bill Gates the billionaire. However, fewer people know about his younger days, and how he actually got started.
Visual Capitalist creates and curates enriched visual content focused on emerging trends in business and investing. Founded in 2011 in Vancouver, the team at Visual Capitalist believes that art, data, and storytelling can be combined in a manner that makes complex issues and processes more digestible. Covering high-growth opportunities and industries such as technology, mining, and energy, Visual Capitalist reaches millions of investors each year. Visual Capitalist’s infographics have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Zero Hedge, Maclean’s, Gizmodo, The Vancouver Sun, and Business Insider.
Visual Capitalist creates and curates enriched visual content focused on emerging trends in business and investing. Founded in 2011 in Vancouver, the team at Visual Capitalist believes that art, data, and storytelling can be combined in a manner that makes complex issues and processes more digestible. Covering high-growth opportunities and industries such as technology, mining, and energy, Visual Capitalist reaches millions of investors each year. Visual Capitalist’s infographics have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Zero Hedge, Maclean’s, Gizmodo, The Vancouver Sun, and Business Insider.

Today, we know Bill Gates for his philanthropy and a massive $84.9 billion fortune.

However, fewer people remember his younger days. From hacking early computers at the age of 13 to his love-hate relationship with Steve Jobs, here is how Gates went from childhood nerd to a multi-billionaire.

The Bill Gates Story

Today’s infographic is from Adioma, and it visualizes the career of Bill Gates from his earliest days until his latest philanthropy efforts.

Image courtesy of: Adioma

The story of Bill Gates is loaded with examples of hard work, controversy, money, bravado, and even accusations of betrayal.

Key Moments

Here is the lowdown on some of the key moments of his life so far.

Love-Hate Relationships
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are a classic example of “frenemies”. At times they were friends, and at other times they were fierce rivals that said some pretty nasty things.

One of the most memorable moments? In 1997, Microsoft invested money in Apple to keep the struggling company afloat. Gates appeared on the screen during Jobs’ keynote talk at the MacWorld conference, and the audience booed.

See a great summary of the key moments of the complex Gates-Jobs relationship here.

The Microsoft Antitrust Case
Initiated in 1998, Microsoft was accused of becoming a monopoly and engaging in anti-competitive practices by the U.S. government and 20 states.

The ruling from 2000 called for a split of Microsoft, creating two separate companies. One half would house the Windows operating system, and the second half would produce other software. However, Microsoft appealed – and in the end, it didn’t really matter, as other companies like Apple started to eat away at Windows’ market share anyways.

Becomes Richest Man
At age 31, Gates took the title of the world’s youngest billionaire – and at 39, he became the world’s richest person with a fortune of $12.9 billion.

Today, of course, that fortune sits closer to $84.9 billion.

Launches “The Giving Pledge”
In 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett announced “The Giving Pledge”, a campaign to get billionaires to contribute the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. Today, there are 158 signers to the pledge, with pledges totaling $365 billion.

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