This Is Not the Way I'd Imagined Bill Gates... A Rare and Remarkable Interview with the World's Second Richest Man
Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars’s hit Billionaire reached No. 3 on both sides of the Atlantic last year. The irony of the lyrics isn’t lost on either of us. They are, Gates chuckles, regularly used by his three children to poke fun at him.
At 55, he has graced the cover of Forbes magazine many times. As the co-founder, with Paul Allen, of Microsoft, he grew a 1975 back-room start-up into a software behemoth worth, at its peak, $400 billion. Oprah Winfrey is a close friend; the pair meet regularly and she has discussed signing his ‘Giving Pledge’ to donate the bulk of her $2.7 billion estate to charity.
And the Queen? Well, she gave him an honorary knighthood back in 2005.
‘The Billionaire song is what my kids tease me with,’ he says. ‘They sing it to me. It’s funny.’
They have apparently also introduced him to the ‘joys’ of Lady Gaga, ‘but the 12-year-old is always worried about the nine-year-old listening to songs with bad words. So he’s like, “No! Skip that one!” So I only know some Lady Gaga songs.’
It’s probably just as well his children have a well-developed sense of humour. Gates is officially the second richest man in the world, only losing the No. 1 spot to Mexican businessman Carlos Slim last year, after holding it for nearly two decades, on a technicality; he has given away $28 billion to charity, so is now personally worth ‘only’ $56 billion.
But Jennifer, 15, Rory, 12, and Phoebe, nine, aren’t going to inherit anything like that much.
‘I don’t think that amount of money would be good for them.’
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