Bill Gates is a technologist, business leader, and philanthropist. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, with an amazing and supportive family who encouraged his interest in computers at an early age. He dropped out of college to start Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen. He married Melinda French in 1994 and they have three children. Today, Bill and Melinda Gates co-chair the charitable foundation bearing their names and are working together to give their wealth back to society.
Bill grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. His dad, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney and one of the co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International.
In a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) chat, he interacted with people around the world. People asked him all kinds of questions. We compiled some of the best answers which will help you learn a lot about life and success from him.
For a more detailed view of his thoughts visit https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/5whpqs/im_bill_gates_cochair_of_the_bill_melinda_gates/
Advice to 19 year old self
Smartness is not single dimensional and not quite as important as I thought it was back then. I would say you might explore the developing world before you get into your forties. I wasn’t very good socially back then but I am not sure there is advice that would fix that – maybe I had to be awkward and just grow up.
His greatest achievement
Although the Gates Foundation work is super promising and will be the biggest thing over the decades ahead I still think the chance to be part of the software revolution empowering people was the biggest thing I have gotten to do.
Right now I am very focused on making sure we successfully eradicate polio – that will be amazing if we do it – as good as shipping even the best software product.
His idea of success
Warren Buffett has always said the measure is whether the people close to you are happy and love you. It is also nice to feel like you made a difference – inventing something or raising kids or helping people in need.
Where does he see himself in 15 years
I will be 76 at that time. Hopefully a grandfather. The Gates Foundation with its partners will have eradicated a number of diseases and health in poor countries will be a lot better – specifically instead of 5% of children under 5 dying it should be at 2.5% which is still a lot.
Favorite vacation spot
Australia is particularly nice. It is summer there when it is winter here so going there in December and January is especially nice. I spent Thanksgiving there last year.
I have gotten to travel to a lot of great places like the Amazon in Brazil which I recommend.
Future technological advancement he wishes to see
The big milestone is when computers can read and understand information like humans do. There is a lot of work going on in this field – Google, Microsoft, Facebook, academia. Right now computers don’t know how to represent knowledge so they can’t read a text book and pass a test.
Another whole area is vaccines. We need a vaccine for HIV, Malaria and TB and I hope we have them in the next 10-15 years.