Headline Mar 28, 2015/ ''' THE THINKING TECHNOLOGISTS '''


IT'S 1975 and two college  dropouts  are racing to create software for a new line of ''hobbyist'' computers. The result?

A company called  ''Micro-Soft''  -now the fifth most-valuable corporation on earth. 

YOU COULD TELL THREE THINGS about Bill Gates pretty, pretty quickly. 

He was smart. He was really competitive; he wanted to show you how smart he was. And he was really, really persistent.

Bill came from a family that was prominent even by Lakeside standards; his father later served as the president of the of the state bar association.

I remember the first time I went to Bill's big house, a block or so above Lake Washington, feeling a little awed. His parents subscribed to  Fortune; and Bill read it religiously.

One day he showed me the magazine's special annual issue and asked me. ''What do you think it's like to run a Fortune 500 company?'' I said I had no idea. And Bill said, ''Maybe we'll have our own company someday.''

He was  13  years old and already a budding budding entrepreneur.

Where I was curious to study everything in sight, Bill would focus on one task at a time with total discipline. You could  see when he programmed  -he'd sit with a marker clenched in his mouth, tapping his feet and rocking, impervious to distraction.

He had a unique way of typing, sort of a  six-finger sideways scrabble. There's a famous photograph of Bill me in the computer room not long after we first met. I'm sitting on the hard-back chair at the teleprinter in my dapper green corduroy jacket and turtleneck.

Bill is standing to my side in a plaid shirt, his head cocked attentively, eyes trained on the printer as I type. He looks even younger than he actually was. He looks like an older brother, which was something Bill didn't have.

When Bill got the news that he'd been accepted at Harvard University, he wasn't surprised; he'd been riding high since securing near the top in the Putnam Competition, where he'd-

Tested his math skills against college undergraduates around the country. i offered a word to the wise:

''You know, Bill, when you get to Harvard, there are going to be some people at lot better at math than you are,''

''No way,'' he said. ''There's no way!''
And I said, ''Wait and see.''

I was decent in math, and Bill was brilliant, but by then I spoke from my experience at Washington State. One day I watched a professor cover the blackboard with a maze of partial differential equations-

And they might as well have been  hieroglyphics from the Second Dynasty. It is one of those moments when you realize,  I Just Can't See it. I felt a little sad, but I accepted my limitation. I was O.K with being a generalist.

For Bill it was different. When I saw him again over Christmas break, He seemed subdued, I asked him about his first semester, and he said glumly:

''I have a math professor who got his Ph.D at 16.''

The course was purely theoretical, and the homework load ranged up to 30 hours a week. Bill put everything into it and got a B. When it came to higher mathematics, he might have been-

One in a hundred thousand students or better. But there were people who were one in a million, or one in  10 million, and some of them wound up at Harvard.

Bill would never be the smartest guy in that room, and I think that hurt his motivation. He eventually switched his major to applied math.

Through the spring semester of 1974, Bill kept urging me to move to Boston. We could find work together as programmers, he said; some local firms sounded interested. We'd come up with some exciting project.

In any case, we'd have fun. Why not give it a try?

Drifting at Washington State, I was ready to take a flier. I mailed my resume to a dozen companies in the Boston area and got a $12,500 job offer from Honeywell. If Boston didn't work out, I could always return to school.

In the meantime, I'd sample a new part of the country, and my girlfriend, Rita, had agreed to join me. We had grown more serious and wanted to be together as a trial run for marriage. Plus, Bill would be there.

At a minimum, we could put our heads together on the weekends.

Rita and I had come to New England knowing two people. One was a brilliant, troubled Lakesider who would insinuate that he was working for the Mafia.

Then there was Bill Gates.

Rita had roasted a chicken one night for dinner and couldn't take her eyes off him.
''Did you see that?'' she said after he'd left. ''He ate his chicken with a spoon.''

When Bill was thinking hard about something, he paid no heed to social convention. Once he offered Rita fashion advice   -basically, to buy all your clothes in the same style-
And colors and save time by not having to match them.

For Bill, that meant any sweater that meant with tan slacks.

The Honour and Serving of the  ''operational research''  continues. Thank you for reading, and maybe learning. See Ya all on the following one.

With respectful dedication to Bill Gates and Paul Allen. See Ya both on !WOW! -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' The Science & The Art Wonder '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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