Bill Gates says he made this 'very large sacrifice' during Microsoft's early years

Bill Gates sacrificed weekends and vacation time during Microsoft’s early years in order to build the tech firm — but said he doesn't recommend the tough lifestyle for company founders.

During an event last Thursday, Gates acknowledged that rumors he had worked through weekends and skipped vacations were true, adding that it was the sacrifice he was willing to make to build Microsoft into a leading tech company in the early years.

“It really is true that I didn’t believe in weekends [and] I didn’t believe in vacations. I mean, I knew everybody’s license plate so I could tell you over the last month when their car had come and gone from the parking lot — so I don’t recommend it and I don’t think most people would enjoy it,” Gates said at an event hosted by Village Global, a venture capital firm backed by the billionaire.

The Microsoft co-founder said he’s since changed his “no-vacation” lifestyle, adding that his "20-year-old self [would be] so disgusted with my current self."

“But yes, I have a fairly hardcore view that there should be a very large sacrifice made during those, those early years, particularly if you’re trying to do some engineering things that you have to get the feasibility,” he said.

Gates said in the software world, especially for platforms, it is a “winner-take-all” market. He went on to say one of the “greatest mistakes” he’s ever made was giving Google the opportunity to launch Android.


“In the software world, in particular for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets,” Gates said at the event. “So, you know, the greatest mistake ever is the whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is, [meaning] Android is the standard non-Apple phone form platform.”

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