Bill with Paul at School

by Guruprasad

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Bill Gates (standing) watching his friend and senior at School, Paul Allen (sitting) working on a computer terminal at school.

The story of Bill Gates and Microsoft is very long and would need a whole book altogether :)
So, let me narrate some interesting events that showcases the talent and enthusiasm of Bill and Paul who fnally went on to start their company (Microsoft).

Computers were so expensive in 1960s, only big organizations would be able to afford it. And the only way for a common man or a student to access such computers would be by buying “computer time”. The school in which Bill & Paul studied was kind enough to buy computer time from GE for one of their computers and gave their students an opportunity to work on such computers. But the students (Especially Bill & Paul) were so fascinated and addicted to it, they skipped classes, meals & sleep and had got hooked to it. The computer time allocated was exhausted within weeks (the School had thought it would last an year).

So, the school had to look out for another computer time provider and got into an agreement with a company called “Computer Center Corporation” and bought some computer time. Bill & Paul knew that even this will be exhausted soon due to their addiction. So they started looking for loopholes and hacked the systems, resetting the times, crashing their servers etc so that their allocated time goes unnoticed. Although this looks like an innocent attack, the company began losing out revenue because of the systemwide attacks. Upon investigation, the company found out what these wizards were upto. The company suspended them for few days, but later, they realized the potential and actually hired them to find out such loopholes and fix them and instead of salary, they were given more computer time, which was a win-win situation :)

These series of events ensured that Bill & Paul always had access to computer at “Computer Center Corporation” company and they went on to hone up their programming skills. They used to be working on it for upto 40 hours stretch, surviving just on coke & pizza and without any sunlight or fresh air. It was hard work, passion, and the determination to learn & experiment.

In 1970, the “Computer Center Corporation” went out of business and shut down shop. But these wizards were hungry for computer and desperate to do more programming. How did they satisfy their hunger, how did they managed to get a part time programming job, how Bill used his programming skills to get close to girls, what events triggered these wizards to drop out and start their own company etc is another interesting story which I will be narrating using a different photo :)

Talking about Bill Gates in particular, he was a born genius and had started demonstrating his analytical skills from tender age by solving complicated jigsaw puzzles, math problems, thinking games etc.

Watch this 1-min clip about Bill Gates’ early years (extracted from a documentary)

Here is an interesting 1-hour documentary of Bill Gates: