As a businessman, Bill Gates has done things that many of us could only dream of. For over thirty years, he was the head of the most successful software company in the world. He's created a brand that is known to billions. His enterprise generates revenues in the tens of billions. His company, Microsoft, was recognized at the most valuable in the world, until Apple broke that record in 2012.
He's started his own investment firm, Cascade Investments. His home is worth over $100 million. He himself is worth over $70 billion. He's given us great products like Windows, the Xbox and Zune. Alright, maybe not that last one, but the point is clear.
Bill Gates, as a businessman, is literally unmatched -- this year, despite only working part-time at Microsoft, he's reclaimed his crown as the world's richest man. And yet, his success as an entrepreneur may come second on his list of achievements when it's all said and done.
On July 31, 2008, Bill Gates ceased working at Microsoft to turn more attention to his other enterprise: giving. As co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has donated nearly $30 million to address, as he calls it, "the extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries, and the failures of America’s education system."
Of course, philanthropy is expected of every "rich" person, but the way Gates has gone about his charitable efforts is so incredible that he's taken things to another level. He really wants to change the world.
"We focus on only a few issues because we think that’s the best way to have great impact," a letter on his foundation's website read, "and we focus on these issues in particular because we think they are the biggest barriers that prevent people from making the most of their lives."
His desire to change things on a global scale isn't just talk either. The Gates' foundation works on all six continents as it tries, amongst other things, to aid over 30 million people in the world who live with HIV, to increase the access of technology to all students and to help improve agriculture in countries suffering from hunger.
His commitment to helping people simply live better lives only becomes that much more admirable when you consider the other things he could be doing with his money. His billions could easily go toward a new investments and hit time could easily be spent at Microsoft, in a tenacious wrestle with Apple. Instead, Gates has chosen to help the over one billion people on this earth who live on less than $2 a day.
While his work as a businessman made him the richest man on other, his work as a philanthropist has been even better, simply because he's leading the way in trying to achieve what seems to be impossible.
Whether or not he, his wife and co-chairman Warren Buffet realize this dream themselves is not certain, but one way or another, Gates is intent on at least providing the gateway for others to solve the world's most severe problems.
"Some of the projects we fund will fail. We not only accept that, we expect it — because we think an essential role of philanthropy is to make bets on promising solutions that governments and businesses can’t afford to make. As we learn which bets pay off, we have to adjust our strategies and share the results so everyone can benefit."
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