Running head: william "bill" gates william ‘Bill" Gates Woodbury University

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Running head: WILLIAM “BILL” GATES

William ‘Bill” Gates

Woodbury University

Zenaida A. Barredo

WMBA 558

Dr. Paul Sabolic

February 14, 2013

William “Bill” Gates Case

According to Wikipedia, William “Bill” Gates III is an American programmer, inventor, business magnate, philanthropist and listed in 2011 as the wealthiest American and second wealthiest in the world. He is also known as Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution (Wikipedia, 2013). Not bad for a pre-law Harvard University drop-out who’s fascination of computers dates back from his adolescence years. At age thirteen, he wrote his first computer program in basic at school (Gates & Rogak, 2012). The program allows users to play Tic Tac Toe against the computer (Wikipedia 2013). The perfect execution of the machine fascinated Gates so much that he and his school friends including his future Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen resulted to exploiting bugs in the operating systems to gain more time access to the computer machine. The boys’ tactics were discovered and banned the boys all summer. When the ban was lifted all four boys, Bill Gates, Paul Allen,Kent Evans and Ric Weiland offered to find the bugs in exchange for free use of the computer. Instead of using the computer to clean the bugs, Gates went to Computer Center Corporation and learned source codes for different programs that run on the system for the next 2 years (Wikipedia, 2013). In 1971, all four Lakeside students were hired by Information Sciences, Inc. to write a payroll program utilizing COBOL while providing them royalties and computer time (Wikipedia, 2013). Around the same time, Gates wrote a scheduling program for Lakeside which he conveniently modified to assure that he was placed in classes with female classmates.

In the very same year, Gates and school friend Paul Allen started an entrepreneurial venture with  Traf-O-Data program as their main product. The program was supposed to keep tabs on traffic patterns that gave an hour-by-hour picture of each day's traffic flow (Gates & Macklin, 2009). The launching of the product had a rough start when according to Bill Gates’ father, his first five demonstrations failed to his invited city employees from Seattle. The Traf-O-Data did not perform. As expected Bill Gates was so embarrassed that he went running into their kitchen shouting all the way, "Mom! Mom! Come and tell them that it worked!" (Gates & Macklin, 2009). Indeed Bill Gates learned a lesson that anything can happen and in every success involves challenges or some false starts.

For the next four years, Bill Gates was in between school, worked as summer congressional page and worked with his friend Allen at Honeywell. In his second year at Harvard, developed and an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems( Kestenbaum, D.,2008) presented in a combinatorics class .His Professor  Harry Lewis noted that Gates's solution held the record as the fastest version for over thirty years its successor is faster by only one percent (Kestenbaum, D. 2008). It was later formalized in a published paper in collaboration with Harvard computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou (Gates & Papadimitriou, 1979).

It was in 1975 that both friends were re-hired by MITS based in Albuquerque that led to Gates drooping out of Harvard and started another business venture with Allen. Microsoft became an official business in 1976. During this time, the partners found out that their BASIC program were copied and passed along without paying Microsoft. The business relationship between Microsoft and MITS ended in 1977. However, Gates continued to develop numerous computer languages including FORTRAN (Gates & Rogak, 2012) and opened his first international business in Japan.

Microsoft collaborated with IBM in 1981 to provide a DOS operating system software for IBM’s soon to be introduced personal computer line. Having learned his lessons from the BASIC fall out, Microsoft kept the right to the MS-DOS system and successfully licensed other PC manufacturers to use the program (Gates & Macklin, 2009). The following year Microsoft became a corporation with Bill Gates keeping 53 % of the Microsoft and 31 % company ownership was given to his friend and business partner Paul Allen.

In his interview with Larry King, Bill Gates revealed the key to his success. He believed that he was in the right place, at the right time, and luck had a lot to do with. He had long-term vision of how the personal computer would revolutionize every facit of life. But reiterated that there were many others with the same vision he had. Third, he took massive, immediate action. In his own words, this is where the rubber meets the road. If you’re in the right place at the right time and have the vision to see where a new technology is going but don’t take action…you’ll never be successful. Without all three components in place, you’re doomed (Spears Marketing, 2011). Additionally, Gates executed will his plans through strategic actions by taking a disciplined approached toward software as a business opportunity rather than just innovating. He established powerful partnerships with MITS and IBM and keeping fierce tenacity in helping his business partners succeed on their own terms and not by his (Schiff, 2013).

One factor that contributed to Bill Gates success is the all support he received from his parents. From the start he was given the freedom to meet life and challenges on his own terms. Although Bill Gates realized his dreams far different from what his parents originally expected of him, he gave them as much delight when he achieved his own dreams in his own terms.


Bennett, L. (2010). Buffett-Gates friendship too big to fail. Retrieved February 10, 2013 from

Gates, B. & Rogak, L, (2012). Impatient Optimist, pages 129-138. Agate Publishing,

Evanston, IL.

Gates, W.H. & Macklin, M. (2009). Showing Up for Life: thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime.

Broadway Business, a division of Random House, Inc. New York, NY.

Gates, W. & Papadimitriou, C (1979). "Bounds for sorting by prefix reversal". 

Mathematics, 27: 47–57. doi:10.1016/0012-365X(79)90068-2.

In Wikipedia, William “ Bill” Gates. Retrieved February 10, 2013.

Kestenbaum, D. ( 2008). "Before Microsoft, Gates Solved A Pancake Problem". 

Public Radio. Archived from the original on 2012-09-16.

Leonard, T. (2011). Secret life of a bitter billionaire: For years, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen

hid his decadent lifestyle so why is he now telling all... and turning on Bill Gates?

Retrieved February 10, 2013.

Schiff, L. (2013). Business Brilliant: Secrets of the self-made. Retrieved February 10, 2013 from

Spears Marketing (2011). The Bill Gates secrets to success. Retrieved February 10, 2013 from

White, C. (2011). 10 Personal Details Revealed by Bill Gates — Including 1 Secret. Retrieved

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