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Bill Gates

Co-Founder and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

Bill Gates: Math was the thing that came most natural to me. And you know you'd take these exams, some of which were sort of nationwide exams, and I did quite well on those. That gave me some confidence, and I had some teachers who were very encouraging. They let me read textbooks, they encouraged me to take a college course on symbolic math, which is actually called algebra. So I felt pretty confident in my math skills, which is a nice thing, because not only the sciences, but economics, a lot of things if you're comfortable with math and statistics and ways of looking at cause and effect, that's extremely helpful.
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Bill Gates

Co-Founder and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

I went through several phases of doing more complex programs where people who were great programmers would look at my work, give me feedback on it, and you get so you can be quite a good programmer. It was kind such an intense activity, between the age of 13 and 17, that we learned a lot. Eventually one of the programs we took on was the idea of the scheduling of our school. When should the classes meet? Who should be in what section? You have all these requests for people who want different classes, and keeping them small, and not having the teachers teach too many classes in a row -- very complex kind of software problem. And actually, when the school first asked me to do it when I was 15, I said that I didn't know how and they asked some adults to do it, and that didn't work. Then, about a year later, I'd figured out how to do it, and so my friends and I actually did the software that did all this high school scheduling. It had some fantastic benefits to us, and we got paid for doing it. It was exactly the kind of complex problem that developed my skills very well. And we got some degree of control over who was in our classes, so it combined the best of everything!
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Bill Gates

Co-Founder and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation

We were lucky. There were always kinds of things that not only gave us an opportunity, but exposed us to that next level. After the payroll program, then there was a computer project to use computers to control all the electricity grid in the dams of the Pacific Northwest. A government agency called Bonneville Power had done a contract with a company called TRW to use computers to do all this control. And TRW had committed to do all this really high-reliability great software work. Well, they found it more difficult than they expected, so they were looking for people who understood these kinds of computers, which Paul Allen and I had done a lot of work on. These were the same computers that were at Computer Center Corporation and at this Portland company, Information Sciences. Anyway, we were kind of famous -- but nobody had met us -- because we had filed these problem reports. And by the end of these problem reports -- they were so sophisticated -- it was like, "Who are these guys out in Seattle telling us how to fix all this stuff?" So when TRW was saying, "Hey, we're desperate. Find us " they're telling Digital Equipment, who makes these things, "Find us the best programmers," and somebody says, "Well, there's Gates and Allen " and somebody says, "Nobody's really met them, but yeah, they're really good, we ought to be able to track them down." So they find us, this one guy, and we go for an interview. And these two kids show up and -- what was I when I was interviewed? I was 16 when they interviewed me. So they were like, "We can't hire you." But then they talked to us about software and we clearly know a lot. And when you're young and you know a lot, people don't have any kind of intermediate thing. You're either what you're supposed to be, which is a kid that doesn't know that much, or they think, "Whoa, this guy is the limit!" We were pretty good programmers. But anyway, so we got jobs at this TRW and that exposed me to some programmers, who were way better than I was, who critiqued my work. I could look at their work. And this one guy was really a phenomenal programmer.
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John Gearhart

Stem Cell Research

It was a regimented school kind of a thing and they had control of you for 24 hours a day. So you were up at study hall at 5:30 in the morning, then you would have breakfast, then you would go to school, and the academics were very rigorous and everyone did extremely well as you can imagine. I mean, in the evening you had another long study hall so you really learned some good kinds of habits which I would say I carry toady. I get up extremely early in the morning -- at 4:00 o'clock -- and I study and I read.
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Frank Gehry

Award-Winning Architect

Frank Gehry: I try very hard to get the energy of the idea, the first idea, the drawing, and that character to the finished building. And I hate all the computer images that I've been confronted with, from the beginning until today. However, since I've gotten involved with buildings that have shape to them, that are very difficult to describe to a contractor, to a builder, I've made a relationship by some circuitous route, through IBM, to the people in France that make the Mirage airplane, Dassault. And they have a software, or a program, CATIA, for making airplanes, that allowed us to describe steel structures and curved structures in a way that demystified them for the builder, so that they weren't afraid and didn't superimpose fear costs on the project. We've been very successful in that, and I think it's turned the tide. In other words, most architects and contractors are in mortal battle from the day they start. The contractor is scared of the costs and losing money, and the architect is pushing to get his or her dream to fruition, and they're in conflict. And I found, through this funny gadget, that the architect can become the master builder, can become the leader, can direct the project, and the contractor likes it. They would rather be the child in the equation than the parent. They'd rather have the conceiver take a parental role. So it's through this technology that I've found, in the few projects now, that it's been very possible to change that relationship, in a positive way, for everybody.
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Frank Gehry

Award-Winning Architect

I used to think that the explanation robbed the essence out of the thing. It was sort of, "I didn't want to take this." There is a feeling of that in the art world or in architecture, but I discovered that the more I could explain myself, the better it was in terms of the relationship with the other people, and that even when I became very intuitive and I didn't know exactly where I was going, I could analyze it for somebody and tell them what I thought I was doing and where I thought I was doing it and how it fit into the history of my work. So I think in my case, I find the clients very important to the equation.
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