A passionate techie and a shrewd businessman, Bill Gates changed the world once, while leading Microsoft to dizzying success. Now he's set to do it again with his own style of philanthropy and passion for innovation.
Bill Gates is founder and former CEO of Microsoft. A geek icon, tech visionary and business trailblazer, Gates' leadership -- fueled by his long-held dream that millions might realize their potential through great software -- made Microsoft a personal computing powerhouse and a trendsetter in the Internet dawn. Whether you're a suit, chef, quant, artist, media maven, nurse or gamer, you've probably used a Microsoft product today.
In summer of 2008, Gates left his day-to-day role with Microsoft to focus on philanthropy. Holding that all lives have equal value (no matter where they're being lived), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has now donated staggering sums to HIV/AIDS programs, libraries, agriculture research and disaster relief -- and offered vital guidance and creative funding to programs in global health and education. Gates believes his tech-centric strategy for giving will prove the killer app of planet Earth's next big upgrade.
In his second annual letter, released in late January 2010, Gates takes stock of his first full year with the Gates Foundation. Read Bill Gates' annual letter for 2010. And follow his ongoing thinking on his personal website, The Gates Notes.
“A top-quartile teacher will increase the performance of their class — based on test scores — by over 10 percent in a single year. … That means that if the entire U.S., for two years, had top-quartile teachers, the entire difference between us and Asia would go away.”
“I want to admit that I am an optimist. Any tough problem, I think it can be solved.”
“Until recently, over 98 percent of teachers just got one word of feedback: Satisfactory. If all my bridge coach ever told me was that I was ‘satisfactory,’ I would have no hope of ever getting better.”
“Making sure all our students get a great education, find a career that's fulfilling and rewarding, and have a chance to live out their dreams … wouldn't just make us a more successful country — it would also make us a more fair and just one.”