20 Quotes That Reveal How Bill Gates Became The World's Richest Man

bill gates

Photo: World Economic Forum via flickr

Let’s have a moment of thanksgiving for Bill Gates.Two reasons.

  • More than any other entrepreneur, Bill Gates is the reason you’re using a personal computing device to look at this story right now. For that, he became the world’s richest man.
  • Now, Gates is no longer the world’s richest man because he’s busy spending his money trying to save the world from disease and poor education.

When someone who has done, and is doing, such an incredible things – and has something to say – it’s worth listening.

'Of my mental cycles, I devote maybe 10 per cent to business thinking. Business isn't that complicated. I wouldn't want to put it on my business card.'


'It's an elusive concept. There's a certain sharpness, an ability to absorb new facts. To walk into a situation, have something explained to you and immediately say, 'Well, what about this?' To ask an insightful question. To absorb it in real time. A capacity to remember. To relate to domains that may not seem connected at first. A certain creativity that allows people to be effective.'


On telling employees the truth, quickly

'If I think something's a waste of time or inappropriate I don't wait to point it out. I say it right away. It's real time. So you might hear me say 'That's the dumbest idea I have ever heard' many times during a meeting.'


On using fear as a motivator

'In this business, by the time you realise you're in trouble, it's too late to save yourself. Unless you're running scared all the time, you're gone.'


On Steve Jobs

'The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely.'


On unhappy customers

On youthful entitlement and self-esteem

On boring parents

On comparing yourself to others

On success

On religion

On nerds

'Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.'


On fairness

On failure

'It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.'


On the short term versus the medium term

'We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.'


On capitalism

'Capitalism is this wonderful thing that motivates people, it causes wonderful inventions to be done. But in this area of disease of the world at large, it's really let us down.'

'Creative capitalism takes this interest in the fortunes of others and ties it to our interest in our own fortunes in ways that help advance both. This hybrid engine of self-interest and concern for others can serve a much wider circle of people than can be reached by self-interest or caring alone'.


On intellectual property

'Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.'


On using technology to make a business more efficient

'The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.'


On education and poverty

'Until we're educating every kid in a fantastic way, until ever inner city is cleaned up, there is no shortage of things to do.'


On getting good grades

Steve Jobs had some pretty interesting things to say, too

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