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'an Icon in the Window' - an Original Biography on Bill Gates

Essay by review  •  October 2, 2010  •  Essay  •  974 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,741 Views

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What does it take to become a cultural icon? Through the perspective of the world today, just a few of the basics might be fame, power, IQ, and enough motivation to utilize it all. But did we forget something? Perhaps. How about all of that, and also enough money and power gobble up any and every company that may stand in your way? This is especially true if you happen to be the CEO of an $18-million company called Microsoft, and even more so if you bare the name "Bill Gates" on your VISA card.

Mr. Gates began his life in Seattle, Washington. He was born on the 28th of October in 1955. Being the middle child in his family, he found himself often working by his lonesome due to his differing interests from his siblings. As a boy, he was sent to Lakeside School; an all-boys prep school. Seemingly though, not even 40 years ago was the world safe from his genius, being that the school's mini-computer was Bill's primary source of amusement. It was at Lakeside that he first learned how to 'hack' code and write programs. In fact, his first program was not anywhere close the eloquent interfaces of Word 97, Encarta, or Windows. No fancy-shamncy monitor. Not even a keyboard or mouse. It was a tic-tac-toe game where he and other classmates would flip switches and wait for minutes to get the computer's output. Nonetheless, everyone must begin somewhere, and it was here that it all started.

In his later school years, Gates met Paul Allen, and the two co-founded what would eventually become Microsoft. The dynamic duo's first commercially-based job was to write up a program to manage payroll services. This first job worked out so well, that Gates and Allen later formed a pint-sized company called "Traf-O-Data" which studied traffic patterns for small towns around Seattle. Microsoft was slowly taking it's first baby steps into the technology business.

Gates was 19 when he graduated from high school and went on to Harvard. There he kept working with Paul Allen night and day in their dorm room to create one of the first micro-processors that would run the latest in computer technology: software. The computer was known as the MITs Altair, and was the first computer to be accompanied by the BASIC computer programming language, as well as Intel's 8088 8 KHz processor. This revolutionary new technology was the hype of the 1970s because before then, all computer programs were based on switches, vacuum tubes, LEDs, punch cards, and wires running in all directions. Software still required hardware, but could be changed and updated when flaws were found, and only needed some type of mass-storage device (such as a reel-to-reel tape) to capacitate all the 1's and 0's, thus eliminating the need to custom build an electronic board that was meant for only 1 single program. Gates eventually ended up spending more time in the campus computer labs than in his classes, and in 1975, dropped out of Harvard his junior year to begin Microsoft, which was then known as 'Micro-soft'. On a wing and a prayer, Allen and Gates were guided by the belief that the personal computer would one day be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home.

Microsoft began developing it's first software titles, but as their software programming techniques progressed, the ran into a common problem that we still

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