Bill Gates left Microsoft today, to pursue his philanthropic causes. I have to say that I really admire Bill Gates. I say this with all seriousness: it’s not easy to be on top. When you are number one at anything, you are the target of all the haters everywhere. Just ask McDonald’s and Walmart. They know what it’s all about.

Bill Gates changed the world with a computer program. Not once, but several times. As a geek, I have to respect that, even though more than once, his products have caused me to curse.

A couple of days ago, I read a story about the release of one of Bill’s internal email memos, blasting his team for shortcomings in Windows usability. The email was a fascinating read, and an insight into Bill’s continuing vision for his company.

As he leaves to pursue other, more charitable ventures, I can’t help but notice the void left in his absence. He was an icon, a legend, and even a geeky personality. He personally represented a giant behemoth of a corporation, and a worldwide technology movement. Now we have… Steve Ballmer.

I owe my livelihood to Bill Gates and the personal computer revolution that he spawned. My IT business depended on people who owned and struggled with Microsoft-powered hardware. My photography practice depends on that same technology. Who knows where I’d be today if not for Bill Gates. Maybe in some newspaper newsroom somewhere, hacking away at a Selectric typewriter, a Brother word processor, or worse yet, a Mac!

Happy trails, Bill!