Lessons Learned from Bill Gates

October 28, 2013 | Valerie Wong

In the business world, Bill Gates is definitely a famous figure. With a wealth of around $67 billion, he is, as of 2013, the second wealthiest man in the world. Many entrepreneurs around the world are interested in how he managed to achieve such success in the business world. What can we learn from Bill Gates? Here are a few of the most important lessons:

Luck Still Matters

While there is no doubt that Gates is smart and resourceful, luck may have had an important role in determining his future as the leader of one of the largest companies in the IT sector. Gates' interest in computers began in 1968, when as an eighth grader, he first came into contact with a computer and learned how he could program it, despite having no previous experience with the machine.

While in today's world, each and every school in America has computers, things were very different back in the 60's. Few colleges even had a computer lab and a computer at a middle school was extremely rare. Therefore, Gates was one of the few students who had the privilege of actually having access to one.

If his middle school hadn't decided to purchase a computer, there is a possibility that then-13 year old Gates would have never developed a passion for computer programming and instead would have followed a completely different career path.

Improve Your Products If They Don't Succeed At First

Many of Microsoft's early products could be simply described as “duds.” The 1.0 version of Windows had experienced a very poor success. Neither did Windows 2.0. It wasn't until the year 1990, when the Windows operating system was released in its 3.0 version, that it really started taking off, being adopted by businesses and home users alike.

Windows 3.0 featured a vastly improved user interface and was much more versatile than its predecessors. It laid the foundation for what would become the most widely used operating system in the world of computers. This simply shows that even if your products don't succeed right off the bat, you should keep working on them until they do.

Listen To Your Customers

While Microsoft products such as their Windows operating system have many satisfied users, there were also plenty of angry customers along the way. Early versions of Windows were prone to numerous stability issues, often crashing or displaying the dreaded “Blue Screen of Death,” in addition to having compatibility problems with various pieces of hardware.

But even though many users would complain about Microsoft Windows, they would still keep using it. The main reason behind this is that subsequent releases of Windows addressed many of the issues that made users dissatisfied before. The operating system became more stable, secure, functional and easy to use. This explains why it is still in use in over 80% of computers worldwide.

Bill Gates knew that he had some lessons to learn, not only from satisfied customers, but also from unhappy ones. It is by addressing issues brought forward by the users that Microsoft has made the improvements in Windows that we see today.

Surround Yourself with the Right People

While Bill Gates may have built the largest software empire in the world, he didn't do it on his own. Partners like Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen have helped make Microsoft what it is today. By surrounding yourself with smart people, Gates had benefited from their unique skills and different perspectives.

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