Memorable Bill Gates Quotes to Inspire You in Business and Life

Bill Gates speaks after receiving the Professor Hawking Fellowship at the Cambridge Union, Cambridge on Oct. 7, 2019. Image Credit: Luke MacGregor

From 1995 to 2007 Bill Gates was consistently the richest man on planet earth! He still ranks among the richest men on the planet.

The business magnate best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, more than any other entrepreneur, is the reason you're using a personal computing device to look at this story right now. For that, perhaps he deserves to rank among the world's richest men.

Today, the billionaire philanthropist is trying to shape the future by tackling global health issues and inequality, including solving malnutrition and significantly reducing the number of nutrition-related deaths globally.

“By solving malnutrition, we can fix one of the biggest contributors to inequity,” he is quoted as saying.

In 1975, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to co-found Microsoft Corp with Paul Allen. Twelve years later, when he was just 31 years old, he became the youngest billionaire in the world. Microsoft is now one of the largest and most iconic software companies on the planet, and Gates among the richest men on earth.

Now, Gates is no longer the world's richest man because he's busy giving away his money to eradicate disease and improve education around the world through his non-profit, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But he remains a testament to the fact that big dreams, unabashed optimism and shrewd business acumen can lead to exponential success.

Needless to say, the world rarely sees someone who has had the tremendous impact Bill Gates has had, and continues to have. So, when Gates has something to say – it's worth listening. And Gates has plenty of useful things to say on different aspects of life and business.


Bill Gates' Take on Various Topics of Life and Business


Here are memorable Bill Gates quotes that clue us in on what has helped him succeed so spectacularly. Hopefully, you will find lessons from his words and experiences that you can employ to reach the pinnacle of success in your own business and craft. Enjoy!


On dreaming big


“When Paul Allen and I started Microsoft over 30 years ago, we had big dreams about software. We had dreams about the impact it could have. We talked about a computer on every desk and in every home. It's been amazing to see so much of that dream become a reality and touch so many lives. I never imagined what an incredible and important company would spring from those original ideas.”


On protecting your dream


“We’re responsible for the creation of the PC industry. The whole idea of compatible machines and lots of software... that’s something we brought to computing. And so it’s a responsibility for us to make sure that things like security don’t get in the way of that dream.”

“Every day were saying, ‘How can we keep this customer happy?’ How can we get ahead in innovation by doing this, because if we don’t, somebody else will.”


On measuring your progress


“In business, the idea of measuring what you are doing, picking the measurements that count like customer satisfaction and performance… you thrive on that.”


On leadership


"As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others."

“I believe that through our natural inventiveness, creativity and willingness to solve tough problems, we're going to make some amazing achievements in all these areas in my lifetime.”


On learning new things


“I like my job because it involves learning. I like being around smart people who are trying to figure out new things. I like the fact that if people really try they can figure out how to invent things that actually have an impact.”


On appreciating your competitors


 “Whether it's Google or Apple or free software, we've got some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes.”

"The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely."

 “To create a new standard, it takes something that’s not just a little bit different; it takes something that’s really new and really captures people’s imagination — and the Macintosh, of all the machines I’ve ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard.”

“Make it just like a Mac.”


On being positive and optimistic


“About three million computers get sold every year in China, but people don’t pay for the software. Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”


On having the right attitude


“Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping – they called it opportunity.”


On learning from mistakes


“Learning from mistakes and constantly improving products is a key in all successful companies. Listening to customers is a big part of that effort. You have to study what customers say about their problems with your products and stay tuned into what they want, extrapolating from leading-edge buyers to predict future requirements.”


On constantly striving to improve


“In three years, every product my company makes will be obsolete. The only question is whether we will make them obsolete or somebody else will.”

“We are not even close to finishing the basic dream of what the PC can be.”


On motivating people


"If you show people problems and you show people the solutions, they will be moved to act."

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”


On believing in people


“If you give people tools, {and they use} their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected.”


On making important decisions


“Don't make the same decision twice. Spend time and thought to make a solid decision the first time so that you don't revisit the issue unnecessarily. If you're too willing to reopen issues, it interferes not only with your execution, but also with your motivation to make a decision in the first place. After all, why bother deciding an issue if it isn't really decided?”


On reflecting on your achievement


“I think it’s fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created. They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.”


On adopting a global perspective


“I do think this next century, hopefully, will be about a more global view. Where you don’t just think, yes my country is doing well, but you think about the world at large.”


On the power of the Internet


"The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow."

"The Internet will help achieve 'friction-free capitalism' by putting buyer and seller in direct contact and providing more information to both about each other."


On taking risks


“To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”


On success and failure


“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”


On comparing yourself to others


“Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world. If you do so, you are insulting yourself.”


On reading widely


“I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.”

“Whether I’m at the office, at home, or on the road, I always have a stack of books I’m looking forward to reading.”


On building partnerships


“Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.”

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”


On entitlement and self-esteem


“The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.”


On coaching and mentorship


“Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player.”


On taking initiative


"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction."

"If you can't make it good, at least make it look good."


On making money


“You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.”


On giving back to society


“I realized about 10 years ago that my wealth has to go back to society. A fortune, the size of which is hard to imagine, is best not passed on to one’s children. It’s not constructive for them.”


On being the world's richest man


"I wish I wasn't… There's nothing good that comes out of that. You get more visibility as a result of it."

See Also: 7 Books Bill Gates Wants You to Read That We Actually Love.

George Mathews is a staff writer for He is passionate about personal growth and development.