Running a business is one of the most difficult activities because of its vastness and versatility. Individuals are able to achieve success only thanks to quality work, competence and the availability of the necessary knowledge. One of the most prominent representatives of successful businessmen is Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. By researching his activity, it is necessary to analyze how he built his own path and what factors contributed to achieving success.
The Way of Business Creation
First of all, it is worth noting that Gates began creating his business idea as a student. At some point in his life, he took a sabbatical from Harvard and created Microsoft. This was due to his wide knowledge of programming and dedication to improving the performance of computers. However, this also required a financial component, where Bill Gates emerged as a quality businessman. Gates’ investments can be divided into two parts: during Microsoft and after. Today, Bill Gates’ stake in the company is slightly more than 1%, he retired from management back in 2000, and 15 years later he changed his position as chairman of the board of Microsoft to a technology adviser (Guah, 2021, p. 66). This was done in order to focus entirely on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Microsoft website has published data on mergers and acquisitions since 1994. During this time, the company bought 188 IT companies. Microsoft’s top ten acquisitions include Visio, which was acquired in 1999 for $1.3 billion (Guah, 2021, p. 71). Visio is a developer of data visualization, diagramming, and presentation solutions. Thus, Bill Gates combined several strategies and strengths to create a profitable business.
However, not all of Gates’ investments in Microsoft have been successful. In the late 90s, the company invested billions of dollars in cable and telecom companies – AT&T, Comcast, Titus and Korea Telecom (Guah, 2021). However, Microsoft failed to implement its solutions in the telecom network and had to write off these investments after some time. At the moment, global health is now Bill Gates’ main focus. His close friend Warren Buffett is also an investor and is involved in the management of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This shows that Gates’ business solutions are multifaceted and complex, while being highly successful projects.
Reasons for Success
It is necessary to analyze in more detail several key strategic decisions that Gates allowed to achieve success. In 1980, IBM needed an operating system for a new 16-bit computer. The organization turned to Gary Kildall, who owned a software development firm. A meeting with him took place, but IBM could not agree on a price with him. The company offered $200,000 to develop the operating system, but Kildall wanted more. Then Bill Gates decided to apply the strategy in negotiations and partnership with Kildall (Guah, 2021). For IBM, which at that time was the main manufacturer of computers in the world, it was just an experiment. However, for Microsoft, which at that time was only five years old, this was a vital stage (Guah, 2021). The main problem was that the young company did not have an operating system that it could offer to the industrial giant.
In such a situation, Gates needed to find a quick and reliable solution. Instead of rushing to develop an operating system, the head of Microsoft decided to find a company that had already done it. Thus, Gate discovered Seattle Computer Systems, whose rights to the product Quick and Dirty Operating System were purchased. The operating system cost her $50,000, which is exactly the same amount Gates asked for MS-DOS from IBM (Guah, 2021, p. 45). On the one hand, such an offer can be called meaningless, because the company does not receive any income. However, Gates has ensured that the computers with the operating system installed on them, in fact, have become incompatible with software products from other manufacturers. Moreover, Gates reserved the right to sell DOS licenses to other computer manufacturers (Fazzin, 2020). In addition, the partnership with IBM forced Microsoft to strive for new standards and taught the young firm a lot. A strategic partnership with the largest technology company of the time allowed Gates to take Microsoft to a whole new level.
Another important reason for success is the work of a company with a different culture and mentality. A special role for Microsoft was played by the work with the Japanese representative office of IBM, which was especially demanding in terms of quality. Because of this, Gates began to understand that this is a special level of discipline to strive for. According to the creator of Microsoft, working with the Japanese, he and his colleagues “spent two years full of pain” (Guah, 2021, p. 34). However, in the end, the international success of Bill Gates and his company began in Japan. In the mid-1980s, Microsoft products began to be actively sold in this country, and then began to penetrate into other markets. Drawing on his experience with IBM Japan, Gates advises choosing the most demanding customers and striving to meet their needs (Fazzin, 2020, p. 54). Thus, the Gates Corporation’s main sources of success are its strategic decisions.
Leadership Style and Its on Influence Business
It is necessary to point out that Gates’ leadership style can be interpreted as a pacesetting. I find this approach to be extremely efficient and effective as it extends to all aspects of the business. In other words, Gates not only assumes the vector of his own development, but also extends it to the entire corporation. This is noticeable in his strategic decisions, approach to the implementation of resources. Based on this, thanks to this leadership style, Gates has achieved such success and levels for his implementation. It is worth considering in more detail the impact of this style on business:
- Permanent development of the industry. Bill Gates believes that any individual and organization must develop permanently. In other words, there is no end point, which means that innovations and reforms are always important. This extends to workers who constantly improve their skills, gain new knowledge and arrange experiments. In addition to people, this approach also affects the organization, which is always trying to transform and invent new things, despite the success of the old.
- Fair and maximum use of resources. While this style was used most effectively early in Microsoft’s history, it’s also relevant to business today. Gates is aware of the clear limit of resources and business opportunities, which leads to several consequences (Fazzin, 2020). Thanks to such control, the organization will not go into negative territory, which means that the risk of bankruptcy is reduced.
Bill Gates is an outstanding businessman who paved his own way. In his case, several factors are used, from knowledge and hard work to strategic thinking and leadership qualities. It is impossible to single out only one reason for the success of his activity, since only the combination of all aspects leads to such effective results. However, the example of Gates clearly shows that in order to achieve high results and leadership positions, it is necessary to develop all areas of business, and not focus on one.
Fazzin, S. (2020). Advancing skill development for business managers in industry 4.0. Emerging research and opportunities. IGI Global.
Guah, M. W. (Ed.). (2021). Handbook of research on innate leadership characteristics and examinations of successful first-time leaders. IGI Global.