Signed Bill Gates Microsoft Letter “To win big....”
Bill Gates could be one of the most innovative entrepreneurs of our time, but we do know he is the most generous, pledging nearly $50 Billion of his fortune to charity.
His story didn’t start like that though. In 1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen create a partnership calling it Microsoft, Bill Gates is 19 years old. Microsoft will grow into one of the largest and most profitable U.S. corporations in history and ultimately make Bill Gates the richest man in the world.
Gates and Allen had been friends and fellow Basic programmers at Lakeside School in Seattle. After graduation Allen went to work for Honeywell in Boston, and Gates enrolled at Harvard University in nearby Cambridge. News in late 1974 of the first personal computer kit, the Altair 8800, got Gates and Allen excited, but they knew they could improve its performance with Basic.
They spoke to the president of Altair and sold him on the idea. Gates and Allen worked night and day to complete the first microcomputer Basic. Allen moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in January 1975 to become director of software for MITS(Altair). Gates dropped out of Harvard his sophomore year and joined Allen in Albuquerque.
Gates was only 19 years old in March of 1975 when they finished Altair Basic.
On November 26, 1976 Bill Gates and Paul Allen register the trade name “Microsoft” with the Office of the Secretary of State of New Mexico. Previously, Gates and Allen had been working under an informal partnership known as “Micro-soft”, a combination of Microcomputer and Software.
This incredible document, dated November 23, 1976, three days before Microsoft was trademarked, is a piece of Tech history and like nothing we’ve ever seen. At the top of the letter reads Microsoft’s first letterhead, a logo that screams 1970’s. Below the letter is written to a Danny Parker, who Gates is thanking for a meeting and the introduction to a Mr. Miller. Possibly Allan Miller of Atari, who Gates inked a deal with a year later. At the bottom of the letter, the young twenty one year old Gates, has hand signed his full name, something he wouldn’t do today, “William H. Gates”, in black felt tip pen.
We’ve also included what was Bill Gates first business card, an absolute rarity, that may be the only one that exists in the world today other than the one living in the Microsoft Museum in Seattle Washington. This fascinating card reads ‘William H. Gates, President’ and was included at the time the letter was sent along with the envelope that held both items. It’s amazing to think this would become the richest man in the world. This primitive stationary is an incredible testament to the early beginnings of Bill Gates and Microsoft.
We’ve also included this iconic photo of Gates from an arrest in New Mexico on December 13, 1977, after he was caught speeding in his Porsche, running a stop sign, and driving without a license.
Centered below the letter is one of Bill Gates most inspiring quotes, that speaks to exactly how he was able to create this legacy.
“To win big, sometimes you need to take big risks." -Bill Gates
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