15 Interesting Facts About Bill Gates

Written by: Becca Marsh
Reading time: 7 mins
Published on: September 22, 2021

Bill Gates' home is called Xanadu 2.0, which is a reference to the motion picture Citizen Kane.

Facts about Bill Gates

Bill Gates is one of the world’s most successful computer geniuses, known for inventing Microsoft.

But where did it all begin for the college dropout? And how did he become one of the world’s richest men?

Here are 15 interesting facts about Bill Gates.

Bill Gates coded his first program as a teenager.

Bill Gates as a teenager with his arms crossed

At age 13, Gates joined Lakeside prep school in Seattle, and this is where he created his first software program.

When he was in eighth grade, he coded a computer version of tic-tac-toe.

Gates created it using General Electric (GE) computer time with a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal, funded by his school after a rummage sale.

After Gates took an interest in programming, he was excused from math classes to develop his coding skills.

One of the Lakeside teachers even asked him to reprogram the school’s class scheduling system in exchange for more computer time.

Bill Gates was a college dropout.

Bill Gates dropped out of college

For such a successful person, it might be surprising Gates was a college dropout. Although this is a trend amongst successful tech entrepreneurs.

Gates left Harvard in 1975 after two years of study to devote himself to developing Microsoft.

Despite this, he has been awarded multiple doctorates from universities across the world, even Harvard.

He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Stockholm in 2002 and Dutch business school; Nyenrode Business University in 2003.

Other universities include; the University of Shinjuku in 2005, the University of Beijing in 2007, and Harvard in 2007.

Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft.

Bill Gates in front of a Microsoft office

It started in 1975 when Gates took leave from Harvard to build Microsoft with business partner Paul Allen.

Allen came up with the name Micro-soft as a combination of microcomputer and software.

The two worked on developing Microsoft into what it is today.

After working on Microsoft for over 40 years, in March 2020, Gates stepped down as a board member of Microsoft.

He has given away or sold most of his stock in Microsoft and re-invested it into his charity foundation and startup businesses.

Gates has donated around $35.8 billion of his personal Microsoft investments to the Gates Foundation.

He now owns just over 1% of Microsoft as of 2021.

He owns a collection of Da Vinci’s writings.

Bill Gates in his library

On November 11, 1994, Gates purchased “Codex Leicester” for $30.8 million.

Codex Leicester is a collection of scientific writings that Gates got his hands on at Christie’s auction house in New York.

Gates said it was the second most expensive item he has purchased following his private plane.

In 2005 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Bill Gates with Queen Elizabeth II

In 2005 Gates was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of The British Empire, also known as KBE.

A KBE is given to those who have shown great contributions to society through the arts and science.

He was honored with a KBE for his contributions to science, technology, and the business world.

Queen Elizabeth II gave Gates the KBE also for his effort in reducing world poverty.

Alongside his wife, Gates set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has made monetary donations across the globe into research and aid for those in need.

Gates has three children.

The Gates family

Bill and Melinda married on Hawaiian island Lanai in 1994 and not long after had their firstborn.

Together they have two daughters and one son.

Gates’ first daughter Jennifer Katherine Gates, was born on April 26, 1996. His son Rory John Gates was born on May 23, 1999.

Gates’ third child, Phoebe Adele Gates, was born on September 14, 2002.

Bill Gates is catholic.

Bill Gates with his hands up

The Gates family is catholic, and religion is a big part of their family life.

Gates’ children go to the same Catholic Church as Bill and Melinda.

It is sometimes contradictory for someone so heavily invested in science also to follow all aspects of religion as there are some clashes.

But in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Gates summed it up perfectly.

“I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm – not all – that religion used to fill. But the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there’s no scientific explanation of how it came about.”

Gates has an interesting perspective that accepts the findings of science, but he chooses to follow religion for the parts science can’t explain.

His home is called Xanadu 2.0.

Bill Gates Xanadu 2.0 house in Medina

Gates’ mansion is situated in Medina, Washington, and overlooks Lake Washington.

The house was built in a pacific lodge style and is 66,000 square feet (6,100 square meters) in size.

The house has been recognized for its design and incorporation of technology.

It has a swimming pool with a built-in underwater sound system, an onsite gym, and a private library.

In 2009 the property was valued at $147.5 million.

In 2017 he competed in his first charity tournament.

Bill Gates playing tennis

On April 29, 2017, Gates took part in his first-ever charity tournament.

He teamed up with tennis champion Roger Federer to play in the charity event “Match for Africa 4.”

The non-competitive tennis match was to raise money for Federer’s foundation.

The event sold out, and $2 million was raised for children in Africa.

On March 5, 2018, Federer and Gates joined forces once again to form a team for the “Match for Africa 5.”

They had their second match victory and this time raised over $2.5 million for Federer’s foundation.

He played himself in the television series “The Big Bang Theory.”

Bill Gates was a star guest on The Big Bang Theory

Season 11, Episode 18 of The Big Bang Theory, saw Gates as a guest cast member, playing himself.

The episode was titled “The Gates Excitation,” which aired on March 29, 2018.

In the episode, the main characters all want to meet Gates, but only one of them can, so others plot their own secret meeting.

Gates has written three books.

Bill Gates reading a book

His first book, “The Road Ahead,” published in November 1995, was a collaboration between Gates, journalist Peter Rinearson and Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold.

The book discussed the development of personal computing and how computing was changing.

Gates’ second book, titled “Business @ the Speed of Thought,” was published in 1999.

In the book Gates discusses the links between business and technology and how to enhance your work by combining the two.

Gates’ third book was published on February 16, 2021, titled “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.”

The book displays what Gates has learned over the past decade about climate change and looks at ways we can address climate issues.

Gates is monolingual.

Bill Gates looking serious

In an interview, Gates explained that one of his biggest regrets in life was not learning another language.

Although he is the master of many digital and programming languages, he never learned another human language.

Despite having influenced the world in many ways, he has never been able to communicate with anyone that doesn’t speak English.

He has invested in multiple entrepreneurial companies.

Bill Gates has many entrepreneural companies

As one of the world’s richest men, Gates has a lot of power when it comes to investment.

He has invested in startup entrepreneurial companies across many sectors.

As well as financially backing startups, he has stakes in many companies across the globe.

As of 2019, Gates was the largest single shareholder of Canadian Network Railway.

Gates has a stake of 25% in Ecolab as of 2012 and a 16% stake in AutoNation.

As of 2019, there have been six documentaries about Gates.

Bill Gates has been in numerous documentaries

Since 1990 Gates has had a total of six documentaries made about him, his work achievements, and life.

The first “The Machine That Changed the World,” produced in 1990, was a five-part television series focusing on the history of computers.

The second “Triumph of the Nerds” was released on April 14, 1996, by PBS in the US and Channel 4 in the UK.

The documentary looked at the development of personal computers from World War II up until the mid-1990s.

Nerds 2.0.1” was a follow-on series that again featured Gates, this time looking at the development of the internet and the World Wide Web.

2010 saw the release of two documentaries to both feature Gates. These were “Waiting for Superman” and “The Virtual Revolution.”

In 2019 the three-part documentary series “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates” explored the life of Gates from building Microsoft to developing the Bill and Melinda Foundation.

Gates had a net worth of $116 Billion in 2020.

Bill Gates smiling with lots of one hundred dollar bills behind him

It all started in 1987 when Forbes magazine listed Gates as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

In 2015 he was the richest man in America. He was named the richest person in America’s 50 largest cities in 2016.

Gates was named the richest person out of every state of the US in 2017.

He was number two on Forbes billionaires list of 2020.

 

Bill Gates is one of the world’s most important developers in computer technology.

He has been listed as one of the top inventors of the 20th Century, and his legacy of Microsoft will continue to develop.

Although he has stepped down from Microsoft, he continues his work in other ways by investing in startups and focusing on his charitable foundation.

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