15 things you didn't know about billionaire Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates

The world’s richest man, Bill Gates, is the stuff of legend and lore.

Most of us know a lot about him such as:

He dropped out of college.

  • He earned his incredible wealth (worth at least $US79 billion today) by co-founding Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975 when he was just 20 years old.
  • Since 2008, he’s dedicated his life to philanthropy, has given away more than $US30 billion so far, and has vowed to give away most of his wealth.
  • He’s married to wife Melinda, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, and is a dedicated family man, raising three kids.

But there are lot of myths about him that aren’t true, and some are things people would never have guessed.

Contrary to popular myth, he's NOT a rags-to-riches story. His father was a prominent lawyer and his great-grandfather founded a bank, later ran by his grandfather who reportedly set up a million-dollar trust fund for him when he was a child.

Bill Gates likes to wash the dinner dishes himself and does so most nights. 'Other people volunteer but I like the way I do it,' he explains.

Bill Gates calls his private aeroplane his 'guilty pleasure' and 'his big splurge.' His jet is HUGE and must be expensive to maintain and fly.

Bill Gates' plane

During his days at Microsoft, Gates was notorious for f-bomb filled rants in meetings and emails. But they were not directed at people. One guy who worked with him back then remembers, 'Bill could be scathing, but I personally never saw him attack anyone personally--only ideas.'

He used to collect Porches which he drove like a maniac. Gates got so many speeding tickets during his young days at Microsoft that he was forced to hire a traffic attorney. He once crashed into a car in the employee parking lot, and left his business card telling the employee to contact him about fixing the damage. A meme around Seattle became famous: 'send the bill to Bill.'

This is rumoured to be one of Bill Gate's Porsches.

More info.

The young Bill Gates was fearless. In the 1980's when Gates and Allen were late catching a plane at San Francisco International Airport, Gates starting pushing buttons on the jet way control. Instead of getting arrested, the plane came back and picked them up.

Bill Gates has a huge sense of humour although it leans toward geeky jokes. For instance, he once posted a YouTube love video about Reddit that was filled with jokes like a web programming reference to the colour red.

Bill Gates Reddit geek joke

And last year, he did a 'viral' video with Jimmy Fallon that did indeed go viral. He still links to it from his personal blog website.

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He expects to give away over $100 billion to charity in his lifetime.

Not all of Bill Gates' charitable work is done through his foundation. Gates has personally taken on some projects that interest him, such as finding a way to supply clean energy to all impoverished communities.

Although Bill Gates is giving away billions of dollars a year, he still has such massive business holdings, that he's been getting richer faster than he can give his money away.

Bill Gates does not consider himself to be the greatest philanthropist, despite the vast sum he intends to spend on charity. His giving doesn't hamper his lifestyle, he says. The people he admires are the ones who go without in order to give to charity.

Microsoft is no longer the major source of his wealth. Gates has been selling off stock for years, investing in other businesses and using all of that to fund his charity work. His secret weapon in investing is Michael Larson, his business manager.

Michael Larson

Bill Gates is no longer the biggest shareholder in Microsoft, either. He's been selling his Microsoft stock in large chunks every month for years. So in 2014, Steve Ballmer officially became the largest shareholder in the company.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Want to be like Bill? These jobs might not make you as rich as Bill Gates but they still pay well ...

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