Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Does Bill Gates Have to Do With Decorating?

Well, there are probably many answers to that question, but he is on my blog because I have had this page torn out People Magazine for several years. It is always on my inspiration board somewhere. "If you wanted a personal computer back in 1975, you had to build it yourself. For under $500 ($1,700 in today's money) you could mail - order a bag of parts that, after a days' frustrating construction, became the Altair 8800. Named after a star in a Star Trek episode, the Altair was a large blue box with no keyboard or screen. To program it, you flipped switches on the front and then read off the results on two rows of tiny red lights.

That doesn't sound like a very big deal today, and it wasn't that useful even back in 1975. But for me, the Altair was a revolution waiting to happen. Before then, computers took up an entire room, and only trained technicians were allowed to use them. The idea of a small computer you could have all to yourself was enough to convince me to drop out of Harvard and start a company with my friend Paul Allen. We called it Micro-Soft.

Our vision was to put a computer on every desk and in every home. We'd eat pizza, drink Coke and stay up all night writing programs that would make computers more useful. When we weren't writing code, we were daydreaming about all the exciting things the computer might someday be able to do. People probably thought we were crazy.

Today, our visions seem tame. Computers have disappeared into the fabric of our lives-into our living rooms, our cars, our pockets, even our wristwatches. It's a long was from flipping switches and soldering parts together, but it's only the beginning. Computers will change our world more in the next 10 years than they have in the previous 30. I don't eat as much pizza anymore and I don't stay up all night that often, but I'm just as inspired as I was back in 1975.

I don't know exactly what it is that inspires me from this article. Thinking about the excitement of two young people going after a dream. Staying up late eating pizza and drinking Coke. The fact that he is still as inspired. Who knows what it is, but when I am feeling stressed about starting my business I always come back and read it. I hope I am still as inspired by what I do 30 years from now.


High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Sweetie great post. Totally inspiring. I'm so feeling the same way with having my own business, but at the end of day we are doing what we love and it will hopefully always be exciting. I think it's great that you saved this article and love that it's on your inspiration board. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Maria Killam said...

Love that post, it makes one thing about the world and what it will look like very soon the more advanced technology is.

Great post!

Kara said...

Excellent post! Marianne, thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. You're a great friend to me.
Hope you have a great night.

Brooke said...

Ahhh, eating pizza & drinking coke until the wee hours. Makes me harkin back to college days... I had the best roommate! Gates, love that guy!