There’s a long list of creative entrepreneurs who drop out of college to start their companies. And the list starts with Bill Gates, who dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft with Paul Allen. Looking back, it seems like Gates has always been successful. And wealthy. But he took plenty of risks to start his company. In fact, the catalyst for Microsoft was a call to MITS (the creators of the microcomputer) to let them know he was working on an emulator for their system. In fact, he hadn’t written a single line of code for it. But once the company expressed interest, he got to work, created the emulator and pulled off a successful demo a few weeks later.
The company really took off when Gates partnered with IBM to produced an operating system for their first personal computer, a system called PC-DOS. Gates shrewdly held on to the copyright of software, which later became MS-DOS and powered most of the personal computers made over the next five years.
Through the years Bill Gates has said many things about the computer industry, education, and philanthropy. Here are a few of the inspirational things he has said that apply most to small business:
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
“If you give people tools, [and they use] their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected.”
“Great organizations demand a high level of commitment by the people involved.”
“Every day were saying, ‘How can we keep this customer happy?’ How can we get ahead in innovation by doing this, because if we don’t, somebody else will.”
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
“This is a fantastic time to be entering the business world, because business is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50.”
—Bill Gates, Founder Microsoft