Bill Gates originally wanted to become a lawyer, like his father, when he was a young child.

However, as he grew up he discovered computers and on this week in history (4th April back in 1975) he, along with his school-friend Paul Allen founded “Micro-Soft” as it was called back then. Whilst they coding in BASIC for little projects, their big break came when Bill used a little cunning ploy to ascertain a market opportunity. He reached out to Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) and let them believe that a number of people were writing code for their Altair 8800 microprocessor machine and suggested they could have a demonstration of it if they wanted.

The clever/cunning/devious part was that there was no BASIC written for the machine at that time and Gates was simply fishing to ascertain any appetite they may have. Upon being granted an interview/demonstration-opportunity, he then frantically organised getting the code written for an Altair emulator in time to impress MITS for the fateful demonstration … then got a deal that started them on their meteoric journey.

Since then, Microsoft has acquired a total of 213 companies, with 39 of those acquisitions taking place within the past five years alone and Bill Gates now has a net worth of over $110 Billion dollars, despite not working full-time at Microsoft for quite some time and concentrating more and more time with other issues and philanthropic works (depending on what/whom you believe).

The moral of the story? It’s a good idea to test you have a hungry market first before you build the product. It can also be good idea to outsource the production (e.g. coding) to allow yourself time to rapidly build your business …

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