Born as William Henry Gates III, Gates grew up in an upper-middle-class family in Seattle, Washington. Despite his non-impoverished background like most of our underdog stories, Gates still had his fair share of failures and setbacks.
It became clear that Gates was going to be very intelligent. He would spend hours reading and his parents would often find him reading reference books such as the encyclopedia. Although very intelligent, he seemed very disconnected from the topics at school. He finally found purpose when he came across his first experience with computers at the Lakeside School.
While he was at the Lakeside School, the school teamed up with a local Seattle computer company that offered to provide computer time for the students. Gates was fascinated with the capabilities of a computer and immediately began programming basic games. One, he programmed a tic-tac-toe game in BASIC computer language where users could play against the computer. His fascination with computers brought an idea to mind. He and his friend, Paul Allen, began a business that read the raw data from roadway traffic counters and creates reports for traffic engineers. It was called Traf-O-Data. Later on, Gates earned himself 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT test, setting his eyes on Harvard.
Gates graduated from Lakeside in 1973 and enrolled at Harvard University in 1973, originally with the goal of attaining a career in law. But, just like his early childhood, he had different plans in mind. Although his Traf-O-Data business didn't quite go as planned, shutting it down in 1975, he dropped out of college that same year to pursue his sprouting business, Microsoft, with partner Paul Allen.
Today, Microsoft is worth over $1 trillion dollars, becoming America's most valuable company by a landslide.
Bill Gates now amasses a net worth north of $91 billion.
WATCH: Bill Gates talks keys to success
No, Bill Gates didn't come from poverty, but his success wasn't handed to him. Through trial and error and one failed business, he struck it big with Microsoft. As he once said, "success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose." The greater your failures, the greater your success in the end.