Then and Now: What Happened to the People in Microsoft's Iconic Company Photo, 1978
Back in 1978, the founding employees of Microsoft gathered to take a picture prior to moving to Washington. Front row (left to right): Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood, and Paul Allen. Middle row: Bob O’Rear, Bob Greenberg, Marc McDonald, and Gordon Letwin. Back row: Steve Wood, Bob Wallace, and Jim Lane. Not present in the photo is Miriam Lubow.
Bill Gates founder of Microsoft and built it from nothing, turning it into the most valuable technology company in the world. The good fortune he amassed is being shared to all sorts of good causes.
Andrea Lewis, the technical writer for Microsoft. She was the one responsible for documents explaining Microsoft's software. She left Microsoft in 1983, opted to be a freelance journalist and fiction writer. Her net worth was estimated at $2 million by the AP, thanks to her Microsoft options.
Maria Wood, married to one of the Microsofties in the picture, was a book keeper. She left the company after two years and sued it for sexual discrimination. The case got settled by Microsoft.
Paul Allen is the most famous guy in the group, that is, after Bill Gates. He is the other Microsoft cofounder, and is the 37th richest person in the world based on Forbes. He's the owner of the Portland Trailblazers, also the Seattle Seahawks (considered one of the biggest yachts in the world) and much more.
Bob O'Rear was among the oldest employees at Microsoft. He was working at NASA in Mission Control when we first landed on the moon. At Microsoft, he was the main mathematician, and is most credited with reworking code in DOS, and transferring it onto IBM PCs. He left the Microsoft in 1983, moved back to his home in Texas, and settled with cattle ranching. His net worth is estimated roughly at $100 million, and he's on the board of trustees of a few local businesses.
Bob Greenberg left the company in 1981, after developing a new version of BASIC for Microsoft. Upon resigning, he helped his family's company, Coleco, develop the Cabbage Patch Kid dolls, and became a huge hit. Nowadays, he's said to have worked on some golf course software.
Marc McDonald was the very first salaried employee. In 1984, he left Microsoft because he didn't like how huge the company was getting. When he resigned, he went to a Paul Allen company, Asymetrix, and then went to Seattle design company called Design Intelligence. This was acquired by Microsoft in 2000, so he just ended up back at Microsoft!
Gordon Letwin was with Microsoft until 1993. Among all the employees, he was the second longest run in the picture (Gates is first). He was a programmer, and quit when he wanted to take a break from the grind of the company. He owns a ranch in Arizona, and was said to have donated money to some environmental causes. His net worth is estimated at about $20 million or so.
Steve Wood is the husband of Maria Wood, who ultimately left Microsoft in 1980 under bad circumstances. He worked with Paul Allen on a few companies. Then in 1996, he founded and established Wireless Services Corp., a mobile messaging company. It's now been renamed SinglePoint, and he's the chairman. He and his wife's net worth is said to be at $15 million now.
Bob Wallace seems to be the most unusual among early Microsoft employees. He expended time and money researching psychedelic drugs when he left the company. However, he founded a software company called Quicksoft. He passwd away in 2002 from pneumonia.
Jim Lane, a project manager who resigned in 1985 reportedly saying that Microsoft "beat the enthusiasm out of me." He started his own software company. With Microsoft, he assisted with the early partnership with Intel. (It's something that's been fairly useful for Microsoft so far.)
Gone are the bushy beards and big hair, those were replaced with receding hairlines and some streaks of gray. In 2008, after 30 years, 11 of Microsoft’s 12 original employees had a reunion to re-create this famous photo captured before the company moved from its Albuquerque birthplace to a new location in the Pacific Northwest in 1978.
H/T Business Insider