in my continuing posts about people that have influenced me in one way or another (in no particular order - just as i think about them), bill gates has been on the list for most of my life (family members are probably the only ones that have been on it longer). my dad purchased our families first pc in the 80s with the only game being microsoft flight simulator. sometime well before i graduated high school i knew who bill gates was and what software microsoft had created. i saw him speak a couple times in chicago, at teched and twice as a microsoft employee. bill leaving microsoft full time was surreal - it doesn't feel like he's gone, but having left to focus full time on the bill and melinda gates foundation places him even higher on my list. like brian regan i don't hear a lot about bill's beliefs other than through the foundation - i think that's pretty cool because i think we can all agree that every life has equal value.