William Henry Gates III (Seattle, 28th of october), popularly known as Bill Gates, is a billionaire business tycoon, computer scientist and philanthropist from the United States, co-founder of the Microsoft software company along with Paul Allen.
We are not going to talk about how it has gone down in history bt co-founding Microsoft or amassing a fortune of more than 100,000 million dollars. His story is inspiring too, for another reason.
Be at the right time at the right place
January 1975. Many of the Silicon Valley veterans pointed to it as the most important date in the history of the computer revolution, since it was when Popular Electronics magazine featured an extraordinary machine called Altair 8800. The Altair cost 397 Dollars. It was the first minicomputer in the world to rival commercial models.
Created in 1975, it was the first personal computer created by the American company MITS, based on the Intel 8080 microprocessor and sold by mail in kit form, through advertisements in magazines such as Popular Electronics and Radio-Electronics.
If in January 1975 were the beginnings of the personal computer era, who was in the best position to take advantage of them? There are three possible profiles:
❌ First group, those born before 1952. It means those who in 1975 would have left the university years behind. young marriages, with children or waiting for them. Obviously, this group is discarded. They belong to the old paradigm and are not in a position to quit their job to experiment with a computer of almost $400.
❌ Second group, those born after 1958. They are too young, still in high school. Therefore, they are discarded too.
✅ Third group, those who in 1975 are at the perfect age to be part of the next revolution. That is, about twenty or twenty one years. What it means to be born in 1954 or 1955.
In what year was Bill Gates born? We have written it at the beginning. Exact! October 28th, 1955.
But he is not the only one. The other co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, when was he born? January 21st, 1953.
More. The third richest man in Microsoft, who has run the company from 2000 to 2014. He is also one of the most respected managers in the software world: Steve Ballmer. When was Ballmer born? March 24th, 1956.
Ah! And what about Steve Jobs? Jobs did not come from a rich family, but he grew up in Mountain View, in California, right in the epicenter of Silicon Valley. When was the Apple co-founder born? February 24th, 1955.
The last one. Eric Schmidt, another pioneer of the software revolution and who ran Novell, one of the most important companies in Silicon Valley. In 2001, he became managing director of Google. When was he born? April 27th, 1955.
“The key to success is to detect where the world is going and get there first”
Not everyone is in the same conditions, has the same resource, is in the same place, has the same environment, etc. Value each person for what they have done based on the situation they have had, it seems a much fairer criterion.
Most of the time, we do not choose our opportunities, however what does depend on us is, prepare, look for them and take advantage of those opportunities at the time they appear.
“Not everyone starts from the same starting line, neither encounter the same obstacles along the way, although then we all run the same race.”
Gladwell, M. (2011). Outliers: The Story of Success. London, UK: Penguin Books.