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“I m bill gates and these are moments from my life. Paul allen. Who s s the co founder of microsoft. And i are at lakeside high school and that a teletype terminal that connects over a phone line to a ge time short computer.
Where you can write basic programs. I was 13 when that teletype showed up and i had done super well in a math exam. You know best in the state. So paul who was 2 years ahead of me when the computers kind of complicated he kind of challenged me to say hey you know math can you figure this out.
And so he and i became good friends despite that age difference. And you know paul had read a lot of science fiction. And knew a lot of things. I didn t so our friendship and partnership started up from that time forward and in this computer room.
The teachers had come in and tried to figure it out. But they ended up wasting a lot of money and so we kind of took over the the computer room. And taught the other kids how to program. We re writing huge complex programs and basic trying to solve hard problems a lot of kids were interested at first.
But there were a small group that stayed just in day and night using the thing..
It s still there my daughter who goes to that school calls. It the shrine. So this is kind of an array of different computers. There were a lot of personal computers way before the ibm pc.
That comes out in 1981. Microsoft had its software on all of them the apple. The commodore pad. The radio shack trs 80 about a dozen machines that were done in japan you know we worked on a ton of come machines.
We were spreading the idea that these microprocessor based machines would be revolutionary. The one right here. Was the first portable computer. That s a eight line lcd with 32 characters across that s called the model 100 that s the last piece of software that i was the primary engineer and then i you know sort of more managed people well i still coded.
But this is the project where i m totally in charge now so figuring out how to fit into a 32k byte wrong a floating point basic and a text editor or an a director manager. So that was a super fun very difficult project. So i wrote code you know even to this day. I do some architecture things on the the various products.
But yeah i missed the elegance of you know writing super tight code..
Almost nobody does that now cuz memory is so big people can be a bit more sloppy than you could be back. Then the microprocessor. Had been coming along and paul in 1971 showed me the four thousand four which is the first intel product and we talked about moore s law. I d written basic for a lot of many computers that were still quite expensive and when he showed me the 8080.
I said no it s not good enough. But the 8080 that s 1973. That was good enough for me to do a basic interpreter. So you know that became our first product and that was you know that was the revolution that was the thing that assured in personal computing.
The creation of microsoft and being part of the personal computer industry. And you know then the internet and all that great things that come out of that and i feel super super. Lucky to have had a central involvement along with thousands of others in in those days. Well windows.
95 was a big milestone for the company. This series of events was a immensely fun for everybody who s involved because we had been working day and night these were pretty maniacal days in terms of work was everything even you know i didn t believe in weekends or vacations. The team pretty broadly had worked super super hard the marketing people had figured out how to take this phenomena. And you know get create a lot of excitement around it you know we all over the world.
We had things being lit up in the windows colors..
We had big events all over the world. There have been a lot of anticipation because the beta test was literally hundreds of thousands of copies of this thing. And all. The developers who had written applications for it were waiting because the memory capacity you got in this generation machines was so much better than what came before this was the ushering in of the graphics interface moving from character mode which all the dass worked before this had been to this graphics mode and windows 95 on the pc and then the mac os on the mac were bringing graphics interface into the mainstream it had been sort of invented at xerox parc with some very expensive low volume type machines.
But windows. 95. You know we brought office across and this product was phenomenally successful caught on in a big wage windows itself i had bet the company on all the way back in 1983 and so there s 12 years of getting the windows concept to be faster and the processors are getting better. And here clearly had arrived and there was no doubt that versus anything else out there.
This was the mainstream of computing and all the developers were there to to take full advantage of it yes. So this is a melinda who i was not yet married to at the time although we were engaged we re out on the the serengeti for our first trip to africa and we re kind of looking around we have took a bunch of friends with us. It was the first long vacation. I d ever taken it was a two week vacation.
Which seemed quite extreme to me. But it was you know great fun and very eye opening. It s important because it s you know the start of our marriage. But also some of the insights that led to the foundation being focused on health of the poorest particularly in africa came from the curiosity about the people and you know we re living in very tough conditions and so subsequent to this she and i did a lot of reading with this idea that okay someday.
The microsoft wealth was gonna go back to the public and what how you know the lens towards innovation..
And i m really helping those most in need how could we do that well in you know in microsoft. My early partner was paul allen and then steve ballmer was my partner now melinda s you know even a totally equal partner and all the foundation work. We re doing so she she and i run it together it was so fascinating i mean the relationships. We were building learning all this new stuff to have somebody to brainstorm with about it you know made it a lot more fun you know things like writing letters together giving speeches together.
We had to learn how to bring out the best of the both of us and in doing those things. But yeah. It was always you know clear we wanted to do it together yeah. We re backstage at the microsoft ceo conference and warren s telling me a story about a business that he had invested in you know was a guy call him on the phone you know trying to tell him.
He had an investment that warren should make and warren was explaining why it was pretty clearly not something that he was gonna waste money on he s such a been such a great friend and you know so clever and i ve learned so much from him you know he s got an amazing sense of humor well. I was very lucky that we were introduced and it was 1991 where i was quite reluctant to take any time away from work within a few minutes of meeting him he was asking questions about why could microsoft compete with ibm. And what were the dynamics and our business. There were really amazingly good questions that nobody really had asked before and then i could ask him about his broader view of business and so we you know we became great friends right from that that first meeting well a hobby of mine.
So i was playing tennis and so it was it you know real privilege to do a fundraising event. Where i was a doubles partner with roger federer well you know he s gonna take care of it you practice saying yours as loud as you can and actually when an amateur s playing in something like this moving up to the net is particularly valuable because you can hit quite attractive shots up up at the net so a blast for everybody involved these are a few moments from my life thanks for watching. ” ..
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