We all take risks every day. We drive cars even though driving is a statistically dangerous activity. Some of us pursue recreational activities that have the potential to result in serious injury.

We engage in behaviors that can definitely have a detrimental effect on our health. It seems that even though we know that a particular action may come with negative consequences, we are still drawn to take a chance to try and avoid that consequence.


That said, not all risks are bad. In fact, many risks come with rewards that make that risk worth taking. This fact is essential knowledge for any entrepreneur looking for the next level of success.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the career of Bill Gates. Specifically, we’re going to look at how Gates used risk to improve his business, and along the way changed the world.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is today one of the wealthiest and most recognized people on the planet. He is the founder and owner of Microsoft. His personal worth is estimated at 90 billion dollars. He is also the head of the world’s largest private charity, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It must be pointed out that all of these achievements came about because of risk.

Back in the 1970’s Gates was a sophomore at Harvard University studying pre-law. However, his primary interest was computer coding. Home computing was in its infancy.

Gates saw an ad for one of the first home computers and was instantly fascinated. He saw that home computing was going to a huge growth industry and he wanted in.

Gates contacted the owner of that home computer company and told him that he had written software that would allow that particular computer to run Basic, a popular programming language at the time.

The owner was interested and asked Gates to stop by the company’s home office the next time he was in Texas. It was a great opportunity. The only problem was that Gates did not have the software.

Gates began spending all of his free time feverishly writing the software from scratch. All the while, the company owner was pressuring Gates to show him the yet to be completed project.

Finally, Gates had no choice but to make a definite appointment to be in Texas to demonstrate the software. At the eleventh hour, he finished programming but didn’t have enough time to test the software to see if it worked properly.

Gates flew to Texas and the software ran perfectly. The company owner paid him $20,000 plus royalties for the program. With a year, Gates had dropped out of college, founded Microsoft and parlayed that 20 grand into 26 million dollars.

The rest, as they say, is history.