Bill Gates Personal Wealth Clock

just a small portion of Why Bill Gates is Richer than You by Philip Greenspun


Thu Sep 16 17:45:53 EDT 2021
Microsoft Stock Price: $304.82
Bill Gates's Wealth: $691.74 billion
Losses to Divorce Plaintiff: $345.87 billion
Legal Fees to Defend Divorce Lawsuit: $0.10 billion
Reimburse Divorce Plaintiff Legal Fees: $0.15 billion
Remainder after Divorce: $345.62 billion
U.S. Population: 332,748,757
Your Personal Contribution: $2078.88

"If you want to know what God thinks about money, just look at the people He gives it to."
-- Old Irish Saying

Sources

The Clock attempts to accurately display Bill Gates's wealth, not the value of his current holdings of Microsoft stock. We take as a baseline of his wealth the shares of Microsoft that he held in 1995. This may be an understatement because it doesn't include any investments he purchased with sales of Microsoft shares sold prior to 1995. The clock adjusts for the extraordinary $3.29 billion dividend that Bill Gates received from Microsoft at the end of 2004.

What about shares sold subsequent to 1995? If Gates sold Microsoft shares to purchase shares in cable TV companies, Corbis, or whatever, we assume that these investments have performed about as well as Microsoft. What about charity? Bill Gates is directly involved in managing his charitable foundation. So he and his plaintiff still control the money and it remains a form of wealth, e.g., available for Gulfstream charter.

The clock adjusts for the divorce lawsuit filed by Melinda Gates by assuming that the plaintiff gets half and that the defendant had to pay 100 percent of the legal fees on both sides. (See Real World Divorce for more on the process of American divorce litigation.)

How it Works

... is explained in somewhat simplified form, including source code, in Chapter 10 of Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing. The clock was built back in 1995 as an example for MIT students of the future of Web service design: servers that combine information and services from other servers (see http://philip.greenspun.com/teaching/teaching-software-engineering). Ironically this approach to distributed computing was ignored by most of the rest of the world except for one company: Microsoft! Microsoft .NET was the first environment with extensive support for building applications like this wealth clock.

The original source code is available and is intended primarily for Computer Science majors working through the textbook Software Engineering for Internet Applications.

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