Andrew Carnegie & Bill Gates
A Comparitive Study of Empire Builders”
Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish immigrant, and Bill Gates, a native of the American Northwest, have strongly influenced American commerce of the last two centuries. Carnegie can be slotted into the nineteenth century formula of the self-made man while Gates reflects the milieu of a well-to-do Yankee whose ingenuity allows him to further advance his already well established financial status. In Carnegie’s shrewd dealings in the burgeoning nineteenth century American transportation and steel industries and in Gates’ personal investment of his time and money into the early growth of the computer industry within its twentieth century US market, there lies twin patterns of success for individuals gifted with a vision for the future and willing to work hard to achieve it. In their respective paths to success, Carnegie and Gates emerge as empire builders whose business acumen is enriched by an awe-inspiring talent, incredible industry, and driving desire. As an outsider, Carnegie’s rise to fame and fortune proved to be a more difficult achievement than Gates’ who as a privileged insider rose to millionaire status with an almost mercurial ascent. Yet for both numerous obstacles, challenges, and opportunities were presented. A comparison of Carnegie’s and Gates’ career offers insight into how business and personality coaelesce within American society and have helped to shape both its economic and cultural foundations.
Curiously, early in their careers, Carnegie and Gates were both challenged to find strategic solutions within the logistically challenging field of transportation to its all too often hectic scheduling demands. As a young man, Carnegie served as an assistant to Thomas Scott who was a Superintendant of the Pennsylvania Railroad. (Wall 120) One morning Scott had not yet arrived when a pile-up of trains blocked their progress. Working on instinct, Carnegie offered a solution by ins…