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Episode 52: Bill the Billionaire

How Bill Gates became a billionaire with Mak & G
Episode 52: Bill the Billionaire


This episode, Mak & G look at how Bill Gates made his billions, what made him so successful, and what he’s doing with his money now.


Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world, but how did he make so much money?


This episode, Mak & G look at how Bill Gates made his billions, what made him so successful, and what he spends his money on now he has so much…


“When you feel frustrated you should take a deep breath, consider your options, then decide which one is the best way forward.” Mak


“Bill and his colleagues saw what was coming, had a plan, and never gave up on making it work.” – Mak

Time Stamps:

02:22 – How Bill Gates made his money.

04:55 – How much wealth Bill Gates has.

05:45 – What billionaires do with their money.

07:00 – Ways to get rich through technology.

08:00 – How Bill Gates learned to program and code.

09:30 – How Microsoft was created.

10:26 – What it means to be an entrepreneur.

11:15 – Why Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard.

12:45 – How Bill Gates made his first operating system.

14:36 – Why Bill Gates is giving away 99% of his wealth.

15:24 – Some of the cool stuff Bill Gates has.

16:27 – How billionaires start out.



The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Connect with Ben Jones:



MAK: What a surprise… You’re playing Minecraft again! You’ve been playing that constantly for the last couple days. How are you not bored of that game already?


GRANT: Well sis, I would be, but I can’t destroy the ender dragon because it’s super hard!


MAK: I get it, that can be SUPER frustrating.


GRANT: No kidding! I probably need to just stop.


MAK: Remember what Dad said. When you feel frustrated you should take a deep breath, consider your options, then decide which one is the best way forward. So? Let’s start with your options?


GRANT: Weellll….the easiest option is to just quit.


MAK: No way! That’s clearly not a good option. If we quit every time something gets difficult, we’ll never get anything done! So what else you got?


GRANT: You’re right, you’re right. Well I could just keep trying over and over again until I figure it out.


MAK: That’s more like it. Way to go! But, remember what Einstein said. “Doing the SAME thing over and over is the definition of insanity.” So, you have to try DIFFERENT things.


GRANT: Ok. But, it might take a loooong time.


MAK: Yeah, and Dad might catch on to how much you’re playing and put the Kibosh on it!


GRANT: Well, I heard about how you can hack the system which can help you do things others can’t. Like flying and aimbot, but it can get you in a LOT of trouble!


MAK: Really, that’s nuts!


GRANT: I know! But, it seems kind of pointless, why play a game if you’re just gonna cheat?


MAK: Couldn’t agree with you more bro. In the long run, it’s gonna come back and bite you FOR SURE! It does remind me of this thing I was reading about the other day…


GRANT: Oh yeah what’s that?


MAK: Have you ever heard of Bill Gates?


GRANT: Duuuuh, of course I have! Pretty much everybody has. He started Microsoft. And Microsoft bought Mojang several years ago for $2.5BB.


MAK: What’s a “Mojang”?


GRANT: That’s the company that MADE Minecraft, duh!! Microsoft also makes computer software AND Bill is the second-richest guy IN THE WORLD.


MAK: Wow, I guess you learn something new every day. That IS the guy! But I bet you didn’t know he once spent $30 million on a book?!


GRANT: What? No way! That can’t be true. Sounds like a job for Super Dad!




DAD: Hey kids what’s up? Come on down, I’m in the basement!


GRANT: Dad! What… Are… You…. DOING?


MAK: I think when he’s not flapping his arms around, or looks like he’s dying, it’s called running …


GRANT: Since when did we get a treadmill? I guess it’s been a while since I’ve been in the basement.


MAK: Good question, because I don’t know either! What are you doing Dad?


DAD: I’m finishing off the last leg of a personal triathlon. You know, 3 sports. I just did a quick swim in the bathtub , had a bike ride round the front yard earlier, and now I’m doing an outdoor run!


GRANT: Don’t you mean indoors??? Oh, forget it. Dad, since when have you TRIED to do all this exercise? Last weekend, I didn’t see you get off the couch one time. Are you sure you’re not a T—R—Y—-athlete?


DAD: Ha, ha. I was tired last weekend. I love to swim, ride my bike, and run, so I figured why not do them all together for a new challenge? Just call me Ironman.


MAK: Oh brother. I think he meant Tryin’-Man. But Dad, we need your help with something.


DAD: Shoot! What’s up?


MAK: Well, we were talking about Minecraft and we got on the subject of Bill Gates.


GRANT: Yeah and we want to know more about him!


DAD: Right on! Bill Gates is a pretty awesome dude, for a LOT of reasons! The first thing you need to know about him is HE IS A BAZILLIONAIRE!


MAK: Wow, did you say Bazillionaire, really? Sure he’s not a gazillionaire, or maybe he has “bow coo” bucks.


GRANT: Mak, I think dad meant “BILLIONAIRE”, and not a gazillionaire or even a millionaire!


DAD: Absolutely, but he does have “beaucoup bucks” for sure. That’s French for a ton. So, a billionaire is someone who has over one thousand million dollars!


MAK: I can’t even comprehend what that amount of money means.


GRANT: Yeah that’s craaaaaazy! A billion one dollar bills stacked together is 6,800 miles or ¼ of the way around the earth.


DAD: Interesting, but guess what else? Billionaires are also some of the biggest GIVERS on the planet. Many will give away most of their wealth while they’re alive to “philanthropic” causes.


MAK: What – just give it away? How do I get me some of that cheddar?!


GRANT: Mak, Dad said phil-an-throp-ic! From English class, it means stamp collecting. You didn’t collect stamps last time I checked.


MAK: What? Billionaires give all their money away to stamp collectors? Ok, I’m super confused. I don’t get it…


DAD: You’re thinking of “philatelic”, not “philanthropic”! It means acts of generosity to those less fortunate than yourself. It’s from the ancient Greek, philanthropos, meaning “love for your fellow man”.


MAK: Wow, it sounds like rich people can be really generous too!


DAD: You got it! According to the most recent numbers, Bill’s worth… $113 billion!


GRANT: That’s a lot of bananas!


MAK: No kidding. He must have sold a LOT of computers and software!


DAD: You got that right G, only one person on the whole planet is richer than him, and that’s Jeff Bezos who started Amazon.


MAK/GRANT: We love Amazon.


GRANT: It’s almost as powerful as thinking! You dream about it one day, and it’s delivered the next.


MAK: Kind of like that sandwich mom brought you last season!! Hey Dad, it sounds like if you want to get rich these days, technology is a pretty good way to go!


GRANT: I guess that means I should keep playing video games!


DAD: You’re right about technology. It is a huge part of almost everything we do. But sorry to tell you G, it’s STILL hard to get rich playing video games!


MAK: But, it’s getting easier. Johan Sundstein made almost $7million doing e-sports.


GRANT: See dad. Twins POW – ER!! We got each others’ backs!


DAD: Things are changing, for sure. So, what else do you know about Bill Gates?


MAK: Well I read he started programming computers at school in the seventies.


GRANT: What? They had computers in the seventies?! That’s when Dad was a kid, so, a LONG LONG TIME AGO.


MAK: You said it G! But, maybe you should cut back on your sugar. I couldn’t believe it either. But they did!


DAD: Mak’s right! Bill learned to code on a Teletype Model 33 ASR. It was SUPER basic compared to today, but also SUPER modern for its time.


GRANT: Sounds totally old school!


DAD: It was! It was mostly limited to printing word documents, but they were the beginning of all the computers you see today on every desk in every office or smartphone.


MAK: Imagine a computer where all you can do is type and print!




DAD: Well, young Bill obviously thought so too, because one of the first things he did was to teach the computer to play tic-tac-toe!


GRANT: Ok, now we’re starting to get somewhere! Not like Fortnite, but still coooool!


DAD: Pretty impressive. At 17, he programmed a scheduling program for all the classes when two schools merged together. Crazy complicated, but he did it. What else did you learn about him, Mak?


MAK: Well he went to study at Harvard and he took a break from studying to set up a little company called Microsoft with his friend Paul Allen.


GRANT: And the rest is history!


MAK: Well, not quite bro! There were a whole bunch of challenges to come. After all, he was starting a business in what was a TOTALLY new industry at the time!


GRANT: Right, very few people had a computer back then!


MAK: You’re right. But Bill and his colleagues saw what was coming, had a plan, and never gave up on making it work.


DAD: That’s right Mak, you must really have been paying attention! In fact, with very successful businessmen and women, there are often a few entrepreneurial traits they have in common.


MAK: Entrepre……what now?


GRANT: Did you say entrepreneurial dad?


DAD: I did! Don’t you remember your dog walking business? You guys were entrepreneurs. You had to be willing to take a risk on your idea. Most people won’t do that.


GRANT: But, when you take a risk there is potentially a huge upside.


DAD: Agree, and anyone can be an entrepreneur, but they tend to have a few things in common.


MAK: And seeing what was coming and having a plan is one of them right?


DAD: You got it Mak! Because failing to plan is…




DAD: Right on! Entrepreneurs spot some need that isn’t being satisfied. If they have the right idea and the skills to make it, they can put a plan in place to fill that gap!


MAK: Pretty cool. But wait it gets crazier…After he set up Microsoft he dropped out of Harvard!


GRANT: You’re telling me the second-richest guy in the world doesn’t even have a college degree!?


MAK: Nope, he doesn’t!


GRANT: Wow, he must have really been prepared to take some HUGE risks to make this happen.


MAK: A-gree, I’m not sure there is a much bigger risk than dropping out of Harvard.


DAD: You’re right, he would have been able to get a great job. It’s not a recommended course of action, after all, because many people get rich after they finish school.


GRANT/MAK: Daaaad we knooooow.


GRANT: Seems like taking risks might be another one of those entrepreneurial things?


DAD: You got it Grant! Knowing how and when to take the right BIG risk is one of the main standout skills among the self-made super-rich like Bill Gates.


MAK: So he knew he was on to something, he saw how he could make it work, and he put everything on the line to get it started!


GRANT: Sounds like he bet everything on himself. What else happened Mak?


MAK: Bill and his partners had some sick skills, they had started their company, now they just needed…




DAD: Yep.. He had started making money early, and he actually sold that program to manage the schedule of students when 17 for over $4,000. But, he also got a HUGE BREAK early on.


GRANT: Big break? Is that when something happens that REALLY helps you be successful?


MAK: Exactly! An idea, meeting the right person, a solution to a problem, etc. In this case, a huge computer company, called IBM, needed someone to develop the base software for their computer.


GRANT: And let me guess, Bill was the guy they asked?


MAK: It’s called the operating system. It’s THE brain of the computer. It manages all the software, and tells the computer what to work on and when. It lets YOU talk to the computer in its own language too.


GRANT: So, it’s like when mom and dad tell us what to do?


MAK: Yep. It took from 1980-1985 when they launched the very first version of the most famous operating system ever…


GRANT: Windows!. I guess no operating system, no video games.


MAK: Right again bro! And, it’s on Millions and Millions and Millions of computers now.


GRANT: Their big break came by getting a huge job early on and working with others outside their company?


DAD: Yep, they had money to work, and working with other people is one of the essential skills for growing a business. Even though some do it alone, most don’t.


MAK: But if you partner with someone else, doesn’t that mean you have to share the profits? Couldn’t Microsoft have just made their own computer and software?


DAD: True. It could’ve been less successful. But, there can be HUGE benefits: more customers, better products, better ideas. It was CLEARLY much better for Microsoft because they were SUPER successful.


GRANT: Kind of like me helping Mak with her homework, and her helping me with mine?


DAD: Exactly! Working together increased your understanding and probably gave you both better insights.


MAK: Ok dad, that bit I understand. There’s something else I read that I don’t get. He promised to give away 99 percent of his wealth! That’s 99 of every $100.


GRANT: Ok WHAT!? 99 percent? That’s basically all of it!


MAK: I know! All that computer stuff must have gone to his head and made him crazy.


DAD: Bill believes in philanthropy. Remember that word? More super wealthy people want to help the rest of the world by helping solve some of the major problems out there.


MAK: He set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They put a ton of their Microsoft stock in it and have already given away $55 billion for healthcare, education, global warming and other stuff


GRANT: That’s pretty awesome. But, I bet he probably still has some cool stuff.


MAK: Yep. He has a pool where you can hear music underwater, a movie theater, and a jet! He bought this crazy old science book called the Codex Lester by Leonardo da Vinci which cost $30 million!


GRANT: What?! So it IS true!? That is way too much to spend on a book!


MAK: But it’s just another thing that shows Bill Gates is a pretty unique guy.


GRANT: Agree.


DAD: So, his life has had three key phases; 1) fascination with computers and programming 2) setting up Microsoft, and now 3) his philanthropic work.


GRANT: So it’s sort of like your triathlon dad? Three parts, and lots of hard work!


DAD: Good point G-man! I guess it is. Which reminds me, I’ve got to finish off my run! Talk to you later!




Dad wraps up

As shown by what we’ve learned about Bill Gates, in many ways, billionaires start out pretty much like normal people, just like you and me. They have the right idea at the right time and a ton of passion to see it come together. Their ability to bring it to life, and bring it to the masses and change the world is something unique.  


Billionaires who made their money from a business idea tend to have some key skills and attributes. We haven’t covered them all by any means, but the three we talked about were:


Number One (Billionaire Life Skill #1): They identified a need, put together a vision of the outcome and used their skills to put it into action. In Bill’s case, this coincided with the technology boom. Talk about the right guy, at the right place and the right time!


Number Two (Billionaire Life Skill #2): Once he had the vision and he knew he had the skills, Bill took the risk. He had a lot to lose and a lot to get done. He was so sure that he and his buddies could make it happen that he dropped out of Harvard to work on it full-time. That’s a LOT to walk away from! And, how did he REALLY know he could do it, it was a completely new industry.


Number Three (Billionaire Life Skill #3): Bill was brilliant when he made his partnership with IBM, which provided many things for crazy growth. His idea probably would’ve been successful no matter what. But the IBM deal provided access to customers and significantly increased the reputation for this little-known fledgling company in Albuquerque, NM.


There’s one more thing you have to throw into the mix, and that’s HARD WORK. Bill Gates reviewed every piece of code Microsoft produced himself, right up until the release of the first version of Windows. Imagine how much time that must have taken! But it sure did pay off in the long run.


Now, Bill Gates, and many of the other billionaires we’ll be meeting in this series, are making a huge contribution to making the world a better place through philanthropy.


We hope you enjoyed this episode of Money with Mak & G. We’d love to hear from you and if you want to test what you’ve learned, go to “” for a downloadable quiz to make sure you are paying attention.


Make sure to like, comment and subscribe. Give us your ideas on who else we should cover. For our next episode, we’ll be talking about Oprah Winfrey, TV personality and, you guessed it, billionaire! What other Billionaires should get the “Mak & G treatment”?! Send us an email here.


Thanks for being here. Until next week…. BYE!

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