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Bill Gates Wealth Index
(chuckle, computers, topical, original)

NOTE: This joke has an associated chart and various HTML links. 
If you are reading this with a browser or have one conveniently
available, I recommend you read this joke by instead going to the URL:

                   Bill Gates Wealth Index

Most people will have read the recent reports of how
Microsoft Chairman (
Bill Gates has had his personal net worth soar over 40 billion
dollars.  He certainly knows how to make money.

Consider that he made this money in the 22 years or so since
Microsoft was founded in 1975.  If you presume that he has
worked 14 hours a day on every business day of the year
since then, that means he's been making money at a
staggering half-million dollars per hour, *around $150 per

Which means that if, on his way into the office, should he
see or drop a $500 bill on the ground, it's just not worth
his time to bend over and pick it up.  He would make more
just heading off to work.

We're assuming about 4 seconds to bend down and pocket the
bill.  Of course he can afford to hire people to follow him
and pick up any $500 bills he may drop.  Not that he would,
fortunately he doesn't quite think of his wealth or time
this way.

When I first calculated this, it was only a $20 bill, and
then for some time it was a $100 bill.  I remember speaking
to him at a conference some years ago thinking, "$31 per
second, $31 per second" as we talked.  I didn't mention

It's perhaps more disturbing to look at the slope of his
appreciation this year.  From January to July he's gained
some $16 Billion, meaning that at the rate he's going, if he
sees a $10,000 bill, he's just as well to pass it by.  (They
do exist, but he won't see one until he buys the U.S.
treasury -- they are not circulated.  Salmon Chase, former
secretary of the treasury and chief justice, is on it.)  If
it's a pile of cash he has to count, it's even worse.  At
$2,500 per second so far this year, they would have to be
thousand-dollar Bills -- and he would need to have a quick
hand -- to avoid him losing the money in wasted time while
he's counting them.  Counting $500 bills would be very

The "Too-small-a-bill-for-Bill" index has gone up quite a
bit over the years.  When Microsoft went public in 1986, the
new multimillionaire only had to leave behind $5 bills.

In the HTML version, you will find a chart of the
amount of currency it's not been worth Mr.  Gates' time to
pick up off the ground over the years, based on his current
281 million shares of Microsoft (he hasn't sold many) and
the split-adjusted stock price courtesy of Microsoft's own
web site.  The spreadsheet (Excel of course) is there too.

                     Bill Gates Dollars

Another way to examine this sort of wealth is to compare it
to yours.  Consider the average American of reasonable but
modest wealth.  Perhaps she has a net worth of $100,000.  Mr.
Gates' worth is 400,000 times larger.  Which means that if
something costs $100,000 to her, to Bill it's as though it
costs 25 cents.  You can work out the right multiplier for
your own net worth.

So for example, you might think a new Lambourghini Diablo
would cost $250,000, but in Bill Gates dollars that's *63

That fully loaded, multimedia active matrix 233 MHZ laptop
with the 1024x768 screen you've been drooling after?  *A

A nice home in a rich town like Palo Alto, California?  *Two

You might spend $100 on tickets, food and parking to take
your family to see an NHL hockey game.  Bill, on the other
hand could buy _the team_ for *100 Bill-bills*.

You might buy a plane ticket on a Boeing 747 for $1200 at
full-fare coach.  In Bill-bills, Mr.  Gates could buy *three
747s*.  One for him, one for Melinda and one for young
Jennifer Katherine.

                         Other Pages

Some other web pages have had something to say about this
staggering amount of money.  You can try:

      The Bill Gates Net Worth Page

      Bill Gates Personal Wealth Clock

      Search the rec.humor.funny joke archives for jokes about Bill Gates

      Yet Another Unofficial Microsoft Jokes page.

By Brad Templeton, who still stops to pick up nickels (but has given
up on pennies.)  The funny thing is, Bill Gates probably still
does, too.

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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