Born the son of a lawyer (father) and teacher (mother), William Henry Gates was a middle child in a well-to-do family in Seattle, Washington. He was always a highly motivated child. By some accounts, he was the equivalent of today’s “nerd” playing with computers while other kids played with each other. His interest in the computer started with an early tele-type machine through a time-share program. Gates learned BASIC (programming language) and earned the right to use the machine as a trade-off for maintaining the equipment. He met Paul Allen a 10th grade electronics buff to learn more about the hardware and programming. While Gates was a “techie”, he possessed the very unusual gift of insight and most importantly vision for what the hardware would require to provide “utility” to the masses.
After several years of learning and thinking he graduated the private Lakeside School and then went on to Harvard. He dropped out of Harvard to pursue his passion to create the “operating software” for computer hardware companies. In 1972 with Paul Allen they created Traf-O-Data, a company that sold a computer to analyze traffic data. Their eyes then came upon a microcomputer called the Altair offered by MITS Computer and began to provide programming languages. At one point as the consummate entrepreneur, he attempted to sell software to a company that he didn’t even own!! in order to get the business. From the Altair, Gates saw the personal computer as the future.