There’s a certain amount of facial recognition that comes with being the richest man in the world. Right now (and for 16 of the last 21 years) that title belongs to Bill Gates. And whether it’s the spectacled, golf-shirt and sweater-wearing 60 year-old, or the serious man in the suit, it’d be hard to find someone who wouldn’t recognize Gates’ mug.
But before Microsoft, his philanthropy, and his billions, Gates was a beanie-wearing 17 year old at the prestigious and private Lakeside School in Seattle. This was the Gates of 1973, and this was the Gates he decided to put forward in his Reddit AMA verification photo today.
A lot’s changed since those days. Not only is Gates rich AF now, but everything in that picture is outdated — except maybe Gates’ fashion, which would fit in in Williamsburg or Silver Lake and mosts college campuses.
Apparently creating a perfect replica of a photo isn’t a problem when you’re worth $76.6 billion:
The original picture is from Gates’ high school yearbook. Retro fashion comes and goes, so the high-water pants and bowling shoes probably weren’t too hard to lock down at the nearest vintage shop. The corded phone and the Teletype machine in the lower-left corner, on the other hand, are a different story.
1973 was a big year for Gates. He had spent the last six years at Seattle’s Lakeside School, where he met Paul Allen, the man who would later co-founded Microsoft with Gates. Both shared a love of computers and talent for programming, something Lakeside recognized early. The school took it so far as to ask Gates to make a computerized class schedule.
It was also the year that the zip-up sweater wearing Gates enrolled at Harvard as a pre-law major. Within two years, he would leave to start working on an innovative software he called Micro-Soft.
It might have been unlikely for 17-year-old Gates to accurately predict he would be answering questions over the internet in 2016, just like it’s impossible to know exactly what will happen in the next 43 years. Whatever happens in the future, Gates and his companies will likely have their hand in it.