Bill Gates has accomplished more wealth and success than anyone of our generation. But even more importantly he has worked tirelessly to improve lives and prevent deaths through his generous charitable contributions. He consistently ranks in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people. He’s one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution.
He’s retired from his role as Microsoft’s CEO and instead devotes himself full-time to philanthropy through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Here are the 10 success lessons from Bill Gates – “Wealthiest Man in World” for entrepreneurs,
1. Aim high
Very little people are aware that Microsoft’s big break came from Bill Gates telling a lie. In 1975, Gates contacted computer company MITS, and told them that he had developed a basic interpreter for their microcomputer. MITS was interested in seeing the software, however Gates and his programming friend Paul Allen were yet to actually develop it. This prompted Gates and Allen to develop it in quite a hurry, presenting it to MITS in a matter of weeks, and making their very first sale. Microsoft was founded only one month later, pushing Gates to deliver more than he’d ever proven he was capable of.
2. Always think ahead
Throughout all of his endeavours, Bill Gates has always been known to maintain a vision of the future, and how it can be bigger and better. Microsoft was known to beat competitors throughout the years as they were always one step ahead, looking for the next big thing. Even when retiring from Microsoft in 2008, Bill Gates was still thinking ahead. He was focusing on his philanthropic efforts, with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation now making a huge positive impact on the world.
3. Don’t let success distract you
One of the greatest lessons we can learn from Bill Gates is his ability to look past success. He once famously stated “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose”. While we should reflect on our successes, you must ensure that they don’t cloud your judgement, and that you don’t become overconfident. Gates believed that we shouldn’t ignore the initial patterns of our success, but focusing all of our efforts into why this success occurred can leave you unprepared for future challenges.
4. Value your time
Gates once said, “No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time”. Bill Gates understands the importance of using the time in your day wisely, and prioritises tasks which matter most to him. If he doesn’t believe he needs to be at a meeting, he won’t attend. On the other hand, he takes the time to communicate with the people closest to him, and ensures that he makes time for important commitments.
5. Quality control is crucial
As Microsoft grew, it began hiring more and more programmers. Gates had taken on the role of CEO and his job didn’t call for any programming. But that didn’t stop him from reviewing – and often rewriting – every single line of code that the company released.
Bill’s keen eye for detail ensured that Microsoft always shipped quality software. It also made sure that he never lost track of his team and that he was always intimately familiar with Microsoft’s products.
6. Revolutionary ideas are shown, not told
In the early 80’s, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer would travel around the country delivering seminars about how graphic interfaces were the operating systems of the future – but nobody believed them. Attitudes changed quickly in 1984, when Apple launched the Macintosh. It became the first commercially successful computer with a graphical user interface (GUI).
Microsoft was able to release Windows 1.0 in 1985, just a year after the Mac’s success. If you’ve got a revolutionary idea, don’t worry if other people don’t get it. Start developing it now so that you’ll be prepared when the time is right.
7. Share your vision with your team
Just as Gates has seen the advent of the graphical interface years in advance, he predicted the preeminence of the Internet long before the average Joe had a dial-up connection.
By May 1995, Gates was so convinced that the Internet was Microsoft’s future, that he felt compelled to write a very, very long memo to his company. It concluded:
“The Internet is a tidal wave. It changes the rules. It is an incredible opportunity as well as incredible challenge. I am looking forward to your input on how we can improve our strategy to continue our track record of incredible success.”
Gates took the time to write this memo because he recognized how important it was for his whole team to be on board with Microsoft’s mission. The result: Windows 95 came bundled with Internet Explorer.
8. Learn from unhappy customers
Over the years, Bill Gates has made a ton of his customers unhappy. Anyone who has stared at the “blue screen of death” understands why. But as much as people love to complain about Windows, they continue to use it. Windows has been the world’s primary operating system since 1990 and it boasts a stout 82.5% market share as of August 2011.
The reason is simple: Microsoft continues to respond to customer feedback and improve their products. The attitude starts with Bill Gates, himself:
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. – Bill Gates
9. Use your position to give back
Strong leaders understand the importance of taking their success and using it to call attention to those who need it most, setting an example for others in their position. With the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with an impressive endowment of more than $42 billion, the Gates have dedicated their time to bringing aid around the world, and are especially passionate about sustainability, bolstering education, public health and providing access to affordable technology.
10. Read widely
To call Bill Gates a bookworm is a major understatement. Gates has an in-depth section of his blog dedicated to what he is reading, and over the last year, has taken to reviewing and recommending books for summer reading and year-end lists.
A successful leader understands the importance of taking into account all manner of perspectives and knows that inspiration can come from anywhere.