25 quotes from Bill Gates that take you inside the mind of the world's richest man

Bill gatesRamin Talaie / GettyBill Gates ranks No. 1 on Forbes list of the world’s billionaires.

Bill Gates’ personal net worth — an estimated $US76 billion — makes him the richest person in the world.

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, which he and his wife set up in 1997, gives away nearly $US4 billion a year.

The Financial Times wrote that “through the stroke of pen on cheque book, Gates probably now has the power to affect the lives and well-being of a larger number of his fellow humans than any other private individual in history.”

How did the world’s wealthiest man get to where he is today? Gathered from 20 years of interviews, these quotes show how Gates went from computer geek to software titan to history-shifting activist.

This is an update of an article originally written by Drake Baer.

On why Microsoft succeeded

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'Most of our competitors were one-product wonders ... They would do their one product, but never get their engineering sorted out.

'They did not think about software in this broad way. They did not think about tools or efficiency. They would therefore do one product, but would not renew it to get it to the next generation.'

BBC, June 19, 2008

On collaborating with Apple early on

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'We had really bet our future on the Macintosh being successful, and then, hopefully, graphics interfaces in general being successful, but first and foremost, the thing that would popularise that being the Macintosh.

'So we were working together. The schedules were uncertain. The quality was uncertain. The price. When Steve first came up, it was going to be a lot cheaper computer than it ended up being, but that was fine.'

AllThingsD, May 31, 2007

On how he defines intelligence

Kevork Djansezian / Getty

'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.'

Playboy, 1994

On why he wants to 'eradicate' diseases

Ramin Talaie / Getty

'Eradications are special. ... Zero is a magic number. You either do what it takes to get to zero and you're glad you did it; or you get close, give up and it goes back to where it was before, in which case you wasted all that credibility, activity, money that could have been applied to other things.'

The Financial Times, November 1, 2013

On his life's work

'The most important work I got a chance to be involved in, no matter what I do, is the personal computer. You know, that's what I grew up, in my teens, my 20s, my 30s, you know, I even knew not to get married until later because I was so obsessed with it. That's my life's work.'

AllThingsD, May 31, 2007

On competition

'Microsoft has had clear competitors in the past. It's a good thing we have museums to document that.'

Infoworld, October 1, 2004

On his place in the universe

'It's possible, you can never know, that the universe exists only for me. If so, it's sure going well for me, I must admit.'

TIME, January 13, 1997

On being in business

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

Playboy, July 1994

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