Our November issue has a long interview with Bill Gates, who discusses the future of clean energy with James Bennett and his hopes for human innovation. In this part of the interview we printed as a sidebar, the planet’s richest man discussed his first job:
My first job – In addition to having a page in the Congress, which is not the actual job – Bonneville was doing a computer-software project for power administration, which is a semi-government institution that controls the power grid in the north-west. . We were computerizing the power grid. And the company that had contracted with BPA had TRW behind, so the people there urged the country to see who actually knew a certain type of programming, and they found me, because I was a boy In the form of defamation was a certain kind of programming.
They said, “Have we hired every person who is really good at this stuff?” And somebody said, “Well, we have not kept Gates at work.” “Wait, there is a man we have not hired at. Gates? Go get him!” And they said, “Well, no one has ever met him, they say he’s quite young.” And The boss says, “Go get him!
So I go down for this interview – and when I was 16 I did not see 16; I was 12 when I was 16 years old. My parents left me. I do not have my driving license. And so they were such, “God, we are really desperate. We are hiring children.
This was a fundamental experience for me, because TRW brought its very best programmer to the program there. So I came in and got this stuff, and people saw that I am ready to work 18 hours a day and to work hard. So I will write the code and these super-smart people will see it and tell me, “Hey, it’s not very good, it’s not very good,” That’s why my entire programming skills went there during that year.
And they were very good for me. I mean, they got a kick from my energy. The only problem was that they put it in my head that I should quit graduation and go straight to graduate school, which my parents vetoed.