Which Billionaires Did Bill Gates Inspire?

Bill Gates transformed Microsoft from a US$1 million company in 1978 to the leading player in the software industry. In 2000, he established his non-profit foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, advocating for issues ranging from education to poverty and technology. These actions have left a lasting mark on others.

Jack Ma

jack ma

Inspired by Bill Gates, Alibaba’s Jack Ma launched a US$3 billion foundation of his own in 2014.

Called the Jack Ma Foundation, it aims to improve rural China’s education system.

In what observers have described as show of sincerity, Jack Ma announced in September that he was stepping down from Alibaba to head the foundation himself.

Citing Gates’s late involvement in the Gates Foundation, he said there was one significant move Gates did not make that he could do better – that is to retire early and do philanthropy.

jack ma foundation
Rural schoolmasters from western China selected by the Jack Ma Foundation were awarded over US$70, 000 to support rural education in China

The Chinese tech titan says that over time, he wants to aid major issues concerning China and Hong Kong, and aspires to create a world with ‘bluer skies, cleaner water, and better access to health care’.

Mark Zuckerberg

mark zuckerburg

‘Hero’ – that’s what Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said of Bill Gates.

At Microsoft’s peak, a teenage Mark Zuckerberg was eagerly watching the growth of the software giant, while fiddling with chat networks.

It was then, he realised, that the technology entrepreneur was one of the industry’s ‘greatest visionaries’.

Zuckerberg said that Gates’s laser-sharp focus had a powerful influence in the creation of Facebook. Indeed, Gates said that in creating Microsoft, he set the goal of a computer ‘on every desk and in every home’.

mark zuckerburg priscilla chan
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan

But Bill Gates’s influence on Zuckerberg also extends to where he places his wealth.

In 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced that they would be donating 99 percent of their shares in Facebook to charity.

The Gates Foundation has given away billions since its founding in 2000.

Steve Jobs

steve jobs

‘He actually has a good sense of humour’. The late Steve Jobs might have made more than a few well-documented jabs at the man, but he was a great admirer of Gates.

That is partly because they were both obsessed with computers, and as many have said, were each other’s equals.

Their 30-year long friendship started out back when they were young adults, each working on software.

In an interview, Jobs praised Gates for making the world ‘a better place’, and expressed his gratitude to Gates for ‘saving Apple’ when it was nearly bankrupt.

But it’s not just these few.

The billionaire is hugely generous in giving to other foundations, and has made landmark improvements in other areas like education.

Shaping Other Industries

bill gates

The Gates Foundation had poured in over US$40 million to launch the 2015 US education act called ‘Every Student Succeeds’.

It aims to help each school succeed, by giving them the space to customise their own education system according to the needs of their students – and that in turn, helps the students.

The move was hailed as hugely successful among educators.

Bill Gates’s trailblazing work in and outside of his field has been dubbed as ‘The Gates Effect’, where one idea leads to an echo-chamber of similar ideas that build on each other, inspiring others along the way.

warren buffet

One example is the setting-up of The Giving Pledge, where he and billionaire Warren Buffett pledged to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.

Two months after it was launched, the Pledge had secured about US$125 billion from its first 40 pledgers. Now, among 14 billionaire pledgers include Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Michael Rubens Bloomberg of Bloomberg.

Well, the vast majority of us aren’t billionaires, but here are a few ways to still do your part and carry on ‘The Gates Effect’.



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