Known for: Microsoft (2010 revenue: $62.5 billion); philanthropy
Quote: “Never before in history has innovation offered the promise of so much to so many in so short a time.”
About: Left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, the two began developing software for personal computers. Gates’ foresight and vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry. Microsoft employed 89,000 people in 2010. In 2000, Gates and his wife Melinda started a foundation to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning.
University education: Harvard (no degree)