Bill Gates Personal Wealth Clock
just a small portion of Why Bill Gates is Richer than You
|Thu Dec 18 11:00:25 EST 2014|
|Microsoft Stock Price:|| $47.03
|Bill Gates's Wealth:|| $109.510069 billion
|U.S. Population:|| 209,914,123
|Your Personal Contribution:|| $521.69
"If you want to know what God thinks about money, just look at the people He gives it to."
-- Old Irish Saying
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 is an understatement because it doesn't include the multi-million
dollar trust funds he received at birth from his grandparents, houses,
stock, and other gifts from his wealthy parents, or investments he
purchased with sales of Microsoft shares sold prior to 1995. The
clock adjusts for the extraodinary $3.29 billion dividend that Bill
Gates received from Microsoft at the end of 2004.
- Population: U.S. Census Bureau
- N shares of Microsoft owned by Bill Gates: 1995 Microsoft Proxy Statement (141,159,990 shares adjusted for splits in December 1996, February 1998, March 1999, and February 2003)
- Microsoft Stock Price:
What about shares sold subsequent to 1995? Don't they balance out
this understatement of wealth? No. 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? There are two ways to look at this. One is that
Bill Gates is directly involved in managing his charitable foundation.
So he still controls the money, though of course it will be used only
for certain kinds of purposes. If you were a real cynic you might
note that Bill's charitable inclinations remained, uh, undiscovered
until the Federal Government began to file anti-trust lawsuits. You
would then see his charitable contributions as investments in the
maintenance of Microsoft's monopoly and not reductions in wealth.
As the author of such books as Canada: More than Just a Brand
Name?, I am well aware of the importance of multi-nationalism.
You are invited to try an international
version of the Clock.
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 program
took about one hour from start to finish and 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
(see http://philip.greenspun.com/teaching/teaching-software-engineering). Ironically this approach to distributed computing over the
Internet was ignored by most of the rest of the world except for one
company: Microsoft! If you look at Microsoft .NET you'll see that
it provides extensive support for building applications like this
In order to provide you with faster service, and to reduce the load on
the subsidiary Web sites, the program caches the page. However, you
can also operate the clock in real
time mode, which will update the cache for everyone else.
The actual source
code is available and is intended primarily for Computer Science
majors working through the textbook Software
Engineering for Internet Applications.