Billionaire. Genius. Inventor. Businessman. Philanthropist.
We can learn a lot from Bill Gates.
He’s quoted as saying,
Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into believing they can’t lose.
That being said, we can learn a lot from the life of this modern American tech icon.
Gates, founder of the world’s most sizable software business, made his first big sale at the age of 15, when a traffic monitoring program he’d built with a friend resulted in a $20,000 acquisition. From that time on, Gates knew he had a passion for entrepreneurship; though he did attend college, it was more for the benefit of his parents than to reflect his own wishes. He soon dropped out to begin working at a company with easy access to computers, which had been his true passion since he was an adolescent.
Once he finally founded Microsoft with his partner, it had been years in the making. By the time he was 23, the company had grossed $2.5 million. Even then, what Gates knew that the rest of us may still be missing to this day is that passion facilitates success unlike any other. From that point on, it grew at a monumental rate, competition nowhere close.
That is, until Steve Ballmer took over as chief executive immediately following Gates. At that point, and over the next 10 years, Microsoft neglected to follow the emerging tech trends that companies just like it were capitalizing on, each tiny move forward bringing them closer to leadership within the industry.
It was that same success that had come so easily to Gates that ended up his downfall.
So while Microsoft remains a powerful company, and Gates a powerful man, the two also stand for a powerful lesson: don’t let success make you complacent.