Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Raising a billionaire: Bill Gates

Published: Jan 25, 2016 06:06:02 AM IST
Updated: Jan 21, 2016 05:46:21 PM IST

Raising a billionaire: Bill Gates
What was the Microsoft founder and philanthropist like when his own operating system was in development? His father, Bill Gates Sr., reminisces.

Q. What sort of child was Bill?

Just about every kind of book interested him—encyclopaedias, science fiction, you name it. I was thrilled that he was an avid reader, but he read so much that his mother and I instituted a rule: No books at the dinner table.

Q. When did he first get interested in computers?
Very early on. An opportunity came at his school when the mothers raised money to pay for a device that connected to a computer over the phone line. Bill was part of a group of math students who were invited to use the system and learn how it worked. By about 13 years of age, he was hooked.

Q. How did you feel when Bill told you he was going to drop out of Harvard?
I can’t say I wasn’t worried. But by then I wasn’t much of a factor in those decisions. He had his own ideas about how he wanted to achieve his goals—plus the computer business he had started with Paul Allen had become very demanding. Being a college dropout wasn’t precisely what my wife and I had envisioned for any of our children, but Bill seemed to know what he was doing.

(This story appears in the 05 February, 2016 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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