28th June, 2008 witnessed the end of an era in Business, Technology and Greatness. Founder of Microsoft, William Henry Gates III, presently the 3rd richest person in the world, decided to start living a life with bigger purpose. My idol for a long time, Bill Gates has been a name to reckon with at every single home, at every single corporation. His career spanning over 33 long years provided a great sense of achievement for himself and revolutionized the rest of the computer industry. He quoted “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1000 MPG”. This is the kind of influence he had after founding Microsoft Corporation the big giant in the IT industry. I would like to share some of the great learning’s of mine from this genius.
Success comes with a Great Vision
“Every business and household must have a computer and must run Microsoft software”, was the basic guiding vision of Bill Gates. When people in the world were not even aware of the software industry’s future, when people were unaware of the unknown, here was a man who had full confidence on his gut feel, and had the passion and zeal to take the vision the farthest possible way. He was almost there achieving his vision. This clear vision of him won him success and glory and made him the richest person in the world for 13 continuous long years.
“Do what you are Passionate about, the rest will Follow” – Praveen Sherman
This is something that I learnt from Bill Gates even as a young lad. I grew up seeing the success of Bill Gates and I was for a long time under the notion that his luck favored him to make lots of money. But what Bill Gates proved was beyond my imagination. There is no one who could write software code as he could. When as a student at the
Harvard University , every single student wished to be part of the great institute and graduate to be successful, Bill Gates chose the other way. He decided to follow his dream of writing softwares for every computer in the world. Just started the agreement between IBM and Microsoft, Gates along with friend Paul Allen was to write an interpreter for the IBM PC. He was not prepared on the date that was announced for the installation and the good news for Gates was that the party at the other end too was not prepared. This got the fervor in him to write that piece of software and bundle with every IBM computer in the world. He was just passionate about software, coding and technology that eventually made him the richest man in the world.
“Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana” says Bill Gates that has made him a great innovator too. Focusing on taking the computer to every single household made him a household name too.
Failures are learning lessons:
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” - Bill Gates
Bill Gates was never afraid of losing and went on to win a lot of deals because of this. While the Microsoft windows operating system is widely used in the world, good number of criticisms and dissatisfaction about the software is also heard among the users. While many users got bugged using Microsoft products, Bill Gates did not easily give up. He took it as a lesson and is improving every single day to satisfy the users. When critics were talking about infringement of laws by Bill Gates, he struck on and was giving the best the employees and the users of Microsoft Software products.
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” - Bill Gates
When you start achieving something big, there will be people who would want to make fun of your efforts, criticize and try to pull you down. The stronger you stand the bolder you get the faster these negatives fade.
When IBM pulled out of the contract for the operating system to be bundled with the IBM Clone PCs, Bill Gates stayed on and started focusing on the creating Windows amidst lots of hiccups that will hamper the company. Inventing the MS Access database system was a relevant owing to the failure of the Omega Database with IBM. He saw an opportunity at every single place that helped him to take a step ahead. He did not allow others to discourage him. He came up with new inventions and followed his top most Goals and vision.
“Whether it’s Google or Apple or free software, we’ve got some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes” – Bill Gates
Bill Gates took up the accountability of being the Chief Software Architect, Bill Gates was nurturing Microsoft by building a wide spectrum of products. This was not just to capitalize on the knowledge but to provide the best by understanding the requirement of the people. He did not wait for people to ask what they wanted and instead made a revolution of creating an opportunity for himself and his company by innovating. He did not sit and do something that anyone could, but he took the reins into his hands to take Microsoft to this great heights.
“I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.” – Bill Gates
Action Speaks Louder
This is one never mentioned secret of success. Action is the key word. When logic never drives us its emotions. We must have that emotional strength in us to act, to perform. Bill Gates as a small young boy never had anything to lose which he kept telling his good friend Paul Allen. When he had several odds against him such as the American Law and several cases against him, he still without fail took action by developing more software which the people wanted. This made him a super star overnight. If not for Bill Gates, Microsoft would have not seen the light today of what it gets. This was because of his persistence and constant delivery of ideas to his Goals and vision.
He was a drop out from one of the world’s best universities the Harvard and not everyone from there went to achieve great heights like Bill Gates did, which reiterates the basic fact that education is just a tool for success and does not define success itself. During the convocation address at the Harvard university, Bill Gates mentioned that good he came when they were graduating and not when during the time when they joined the university else they would have changed their mind.
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – Bill Gates
Trust- An unwritten rule for great leadership wisdom
Right from day 1 at Microsoft, Bill Gates was very open to the ideas. This he also proved later when Steve Balmer stepped into the shoes of Bill Gates and became the CEO of the company. He always believed that there is no end to learning from people, from books and so on. “I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot”, says Bill Gates ready for more ideas to float around which will make sure that the same culture of innovation continues in Microsoft even without his presence.
“At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top
Success must never get on to the head
This is by far the best lesson what we learn from Bill Gates. At a tender age of 21, Bill Gates had achieved many a things beyond money and fame. This did not allow him to stop achieving and always had the drive to achieve great heights. “If I’d had some set idea of a finish line, don’t you think I would have crossed it years ago?” quote Bill Gates with utmost passion and determination.
“Microsoft is not about greed. It’s about Innovation and Fairness.”
– Bill Gates