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Bill Gates talks girls, memorizing employee license plates


Monday, February 1, 2016, 8:16 AM

Bill Gates gave a candid interview to the BBC.Ted S. Warren/AP

The brains behind Windows dabbled in “WarGames.”

Bill Gates revealed he and his Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen fixed their high school’s scheduling software to rig the roster so that Gates was the only guy in all-girl classes.

If true, it’s a scene that could be pulled straight from Matthew Broderick’s character in 1983’s “WarGames,” who hacks the school computer to change his grades.

But Allen missed out on the coed monopoly, since he was already in college.

“So I was the one who benefited by being able to have the nice girls at least sit near me,” Gates tells BBC’s Desert Island Discs, admitting he was “particularly inept” at talking to girls.

“It wasn’t that I could talk to them or anything – but they were there,” he says about studying alongside the fairer sex, and stressing about whether or not to ask them out.

That changed some once he went to Harvard, where Gates says he became “a little bit more sociable … but I was below average on talking to girls.”

The candid interview covers youthful discretions of the world’s richest man worth $ 87.4 billion today.

He was sent to a psychologist at 12 for being “disruptive,” since the young genius would question the logic behind his parents’ rules.

Gates said the shrink “convinced me it was kind of an unfair thing that I would challenge my parents and I really wasn’t proving anything,” and he got over it by age 14. He credits his parents for supporting him once he began writing software.

But he dropped out of Harvard at 19 to start Microsoft with Allen, which was “really frantic” since he was so young.

“We got to make a lot of mistakes because it was all new,” he says. “How do you do business in Japan? I’m hiring people older than me, and I can’t even rent a car because I’m not 21 years old.”

He lost his license for speeding his Porsche 911 each time his mind raced.

“One of my few indulgences was that, at night, to think about our strategy, I’d go out and drive my Porsche up in the hills,” he says.

The ranging interview also reveals some of his controlling business practices, such as keeping tabs on his employees.

“I knew everybody’s licence plate so I could look out the parking lot and see, you know, when people come in,” he said. “Eventually I had to loosen up as the company got to a reasonable size.”

He speaks highly of his late arch Apple rival Steve Jobs, whom he calls “a singular person in the history of personal computing” that he collaborated with in writing software for the original Apple II.

“Steve was an incredible genius, and I was more of an engineer than he was,” says Gates.

His luck with the ladies improved as he got more successful and confident. He recalls meeting his now-wife Melinda at a Microsoft meeting in New York and asking her to go dancing.

“She arrived at kind of the perfect time, and we fell in love,” he says, adding that she taught him to shift his priorities and relax his fanatical schedule.

“Now we actually take quite a few vacations,” he says. “I’m sure myself in my twenties would look at my schedule now and find it very wimpy indeed.”

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Entertainment – NY Daily News

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