We had a little internal yearbook thing you could sign for Bill last week. This is what I wrote:
In not too many weeks now I’ll be celebrating my 20th anniversary at Microsoft. I think I owe you some thanks for these 20 years, and some from before.
In fall of 1979 I got my first real access to a computer. It was a Commodore PET and it was running Microsoft BASIC. For me, and many others like me, that exposure caused a radical change in our life trajectories.
By Christmas I was learning 6502 assembler and those MOS tech handbooks were not exactly rich in examples. If you wanted to see *real* code you had to disassemble/understand the ROMs. So I guess what I’m saying is that, at the tender age of 15, I was ripping off your intellectual property. Sorry about that.
I did manage to get pretty good at 6502 assembler and I like to think some of that code was yours, so I tell my friends I got my first low level programming lessons from Bill Gates. Of course you didn’t know it, but it was nonetheless successful long-distance education through the magic of software.
Eight years, one diploma, and one degree later, I landed in Redmond. That was 1988. Since then, I’ve had many chances to meet, learn from, and work with some great people inside and outside of Microsoft – even Melinda for a time – and in turn affect the lives of others.
Thank you for the education, the opportunities, and the inspiration.