AnthonyEvans.Com, Washington, DC


How to Become As Rich As Bill Gates

Seven Lesson To Richness

Lesson 1: Choose Your Grandparents Carefully

"There are four ways to make money. You can inherit it. You can marry it. "You can save and invest it" You can steal it."
-- conventional wisdom by Virtus E. Evans, Sr.
William Henry Gates III made his best decision on October 28, 1955, the night he was born. He chose J.W. Maxwell as his great-grandfather. Maxwell founded Seattle's National City Bank in 1906. His son, James Willard Maxwell was also a banker and established a million-dollar trust fund for William (Bill) Henry Gates III.

In some of the later lessons, you will be encouraged to take entrepreneurial risks. You may find it comforting to remember that at any time you can fall back on a trust fund worth many millions of 1998 dollars.

Lesson 2: Choose Your Parents Carefull

"A young man asked an old rich man how he made his money. The old guy fingered his worsted wool vest and said, "Well, son, it was 1932. The depth of the Great Depression. I was down to my last nickel. I invested that nickel in an apple. I spent the entire day polishing the apple and, at the end of the day, I sold the apple for ten cents. The next morning, I invested those ten cents in two apples. I spent the entire day polishing them and sold them at 5 pm for 20 cents. I continued this system for a month, by the end of which I'd accumulated a fortune of $1.37. Then my wife's father died and left us two million dollars."
William Henry Gates, Jr. and Mary Maxwell were among Seattle's social and financial elite. Bill Gates, Jr. was a prominent corporate lawyer while Mary Maxwell was a board member of First Interstate Bank and Pacific Northwest Bell. She was also on the national board of United Way, along with John Opel, the chief executive officer of IBM who approved the inclusion of MS/DOS with the original IBM PC.

Remind your parents not to send you to public school. Bill Gates went to Lakeside, Seattle's most exclusive prep school where tuition in 1967 was $5,000 (Harvard tuition that year was $1760). Typical classmates included the McCaw brothers, who sold the cellular phone licenses they obtained from the U.S. Government to AT&T for $11.5 billion in 1994. When the kids there wanted to use a computer, they got their moms to hold a rummage sale and raise $3,000 to buy time on a DEC PDP-10, the same machine used by computer science researchers at Stanford and MIT.

Most people who are rich chose their parents wisely. Bill Gates might not have ever figured out 1960s-style computer science but he had the foresight to pick a father who is one of the richest, most prominent lawyers in the state of Washington. And before he and Paul Allen made the deal with IBM that gave them a monopoly on the PC operating system, Bill had the foresight to choose a mother who was friends with a member of the IBM Corporation board.

Note: Recall that in the 1980s we venerated Donald Trump and studied his "art of the deal". If Donald Trump had taken the millions he inherited Burning car.  New Jersey 1995.from his father and put it all into mutual funds, you 'd never have had to suffer through one of his books. But he'd be just as rich or richer today.

Lesson 3: Let Other People Do the Research

Conventional (loser) economic wisdom holds that monopolies should spend heavily on research because they are in a position to capture the fruits of the research. But if you want to become as rich as Bill Gates, you have to remember that

Lesson 4: Quality is not Job 1

At one point Maestretti [physics teacher at Lakeside prep school] tried to encourage Gates to use his hands as well as his intellect. As a project, Maestretti asked him to assemble a Radio Shack electronics kit, in order to force him to build something correctly and make it work.

"I can remember when he brought it to me, telling me, 'Okay, now I've satisfied my project.' And of course solder was dripping all over the back..." Needless to say, it didn't work." South Island, New Zealand

-- Hard Drive, page 38

If you think that getting rich by selling system crashes and core dumps is obsolete in the Internet Age, please read the discussion of Open Market, Inc. in "User Tracking" and my experience with Netscape Application Server.

Lesson 5: Let Other People Do the Programming

"In early 1975, while an undergraduate at Harvard University, [Bill Gates] and former Lakeside classmate Paul Allen developed BASIC for the first microcomputer, the MITS Altair."
--, January 11, 1998
According to Hard Drive, however, Bill Gates and Paul Allen didn't have enough time to get their BASIC interpreter working for the MITS Altair 8080. Paul Allen did the hard work of making an 8080 emulator for Harvard's PDP-10 mainframe computer. Gates and Allen were then able to enlist fellow Harvard student Monte Davidoff to implement the floating point arithmetic portions of the language. A search for "Davidoff" on came up with zero hits (January 11, 1998).

After the demo, someone still had to go down to Albuquerque, New Mexico to (a) convince MITS to buy the code, and then (b) make the prototype into a usable system. Gates stayed at Harvard to play poker with his rich buddies while Paul Allen spent months in a motel room in Albuquerque. Microsoft came into existence because Allen successfully managed both the business and technology, earning him... a minority stake in the company.

Lesson 6: Demand All of the Money, All of the Time

If you write a book, don't put it on-line. Show your Internet savvy and visionary thinking by making people start their car engines, drive downtown, park, go into a bookstore, shell out $30 for The Road Ahead, restart their car engines, and drive back home. Perhaps it transpires that everything you wrote in your visionary book was wrong because you didn't notice the Internet (developed in 1968, available for daily use at Harvard when Bill Gates was an undergraduate, connecting about 9 million computers together as The Road Ahead was being published at the end of 1995) and readers at will contribute reviews such as this one:
"Self-serving. Boring. Wrong. He's not even looking ahead on the cover -- he's looking back to the days of over-priced, constantly-crashing, Wintellian PC monopolies, not forward to the days of universal communications, content, and computing (i.e. network-centric computing)"
Clearly it is time to go talk to the engineers at the Web companies your OS monopoly has allowed you to buy and ask them to bring you up to date on the last thirty years of computing. Once you've done that, bring out a second edition. Put up a Web site, for sure, and but make sure it is only a companion to the revised version that you ask people to drive downtown and buy for another $30. Never would it occur to you to use the Internet to distribute your brilliant forward thinking about the Internet. The second book by Gates does provides online ordering at the following address

It isn't enough to demand all of the money for just a few years. Establish a track record. Note that Bill Gates first attracted the attention of the computer industry in 1976 for his verbal attacks on people who copied MITS BASIC rather than buy a licensed version from him. The users responded by pointing out that the program had been developed on the Harvard PDP-10, purchased by U.S. taxpayers so that Harvard could carry out government-sponsored research.

Lesson 7: Give Generously to Charity

Follow Bill's example. Turn to his very own Slate magazine for inspiration. Remember that you'll have to pay a subscription fee to Bill since Slate is one of the few non-free services on the World Wide Web (following Lesson 6 above). Once you've paid up, read that Gates donated $27 million in 1996, safely below the percentage of income or personal wealth that the average welfare mother donates to charity.

Doing it the Hard Way Instead

If you want to get rich but feel guilty about doing it by inflicting misery on users, read Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing (the book is freely available on-line because the author was too stupid to study Bill Gates carefully). Pay particular attention to the discussion in Chapter 1 about replacing desktop apps with collaborative Web-based apps. You might also want to read the Internet business plans set forth in Chapter 2.


Plato addresses some of these issues in the first book of The Republic (available online from Socrates asserts that people who've inherited fortunes tend to be light with their money but that people who've made their fortunes "have a second love of money as a creation of their own, resembling the affection of authors for their own poems, or of parents for their children, besides that natural love of it for the sake of use and profit which is common to them and all men. And hence they are very bad company, for they can talk about nothing but the praises of wealth."

Socrates asks Cephalus, a wealthy old man, "What do you consider to be the greatest blessing which you have reaped from your wealth?" Cephalus replies that "The great blessing of riches, I do not say to every man, but to a good man, is, that he has had no occasion to deceive or to defraud others, either intentionally or unintentionally."


Good sources of facts about Bill Gates and Microsoft are the following books: