This is the closest I have ever been to Bill Gates - He's the little dot on the right.

In a recent study by Zogby International, many Americans feel that the next big techno genius will come from Asia. Based on the numbers, China leads the pack of likely countries. 

A New Zogby/463 survey finds Americans bullish on the Internet, if not the future of U.S. tech education.

Almost half of all Americans believe the next Bill Gates will come from either China or Japan, according to a new poll to be released Wednesday. Only 21 percent believe the next great technology leader will come from the United States.

The Internet Attitudes poll by Zogby and 463 Communications tested Americans' views on their perceptions of technology and the Internet. Washington-based 463 is a communications firm with a number of technology clients.

When asked from which country the next Bill Gates will come from, Americans picked China (26.7 percent), Japan (22.4), U.S. (20.8) and India (13.0).

"The next Bill Gates has already been born, and time will tell what country is providing the environment of innovation, entrepreneurism and opportunity to enable him or her to flourish with the next great idea," 463 partner Tom Galvin said in a statement accompanying the poll.

 Alfred Thompson, another MS Blogger relates

It was pretty easy for Bill Gates and Paul Allen to startup Microsoft because government regulations and red tape were not onerous. They had some access to start up capital as well. I don't know where they got it but since Bill had independent means that was less of an issue than it would be for others. But still angel funding, venture capital funding or other sources would seem to be required. There is a lot of startup money in the US. Is there in India and China? More than there used to be I'm sure.

The harder it is to make a success are the more courage is required to try. So by making it easier to start (and if many cases fail) combined with a talent pool that allows a new company to tip the balance in the favor of success would seem to help reduce the need for courage. I think it is safe to say that a culture that is unforgiving of failure is less likely to produce the next Bill Gates though.

As for me, I think the next mega rich techno genius will come from Asia as well based on the statistical probability  of producing one from a country of 1.4 billion vs one with 300 million. There is a lot of smart people here in China, now if they can only unlearn some of the useless baggage they picked up in the educational system along the way faster then that would be even better.

-Frank Yu