Geek Trivia

Who Is The Person Behind The Generic Silhouette in Microsoft Outlook’s Contacts?

Bill Gates
Eric Clapton
Steve Balmer
Steve Wozniak
The First Independent Console Video Game Developer Was?

Answer: Bill Gates

It’s not much of a leap of imagination to guess that the generic silhouette in Microsoft Outlook (which stands in for contacts without a photo) just might be based off Bill Gates, the company’s well-known founder.

The twist that makes this trivia interesting is that while the silhouette is modeled after Mr. Gates, it’s hardly based off of a nice studio portrait paid for by the company. Not even close–in fact the photo was paid for by the tax payers of Albuquerque, New Mexico way back in 1977.

A Microsoft designer with a prankster streak used a mug shot taken of Bill Gates in 1977 after his arrest in Albuquerque as the basis for the silhouette. What for you ask? Young Mr. Gates had a lead foot and was prone to speeding in his Porsche 911, disregarding traffic signs, and driving without a license. Such motorway antics ended him in the local slammer more than a few times in the early years of Microsoft’s rise to fame and power. Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, was frequently the one to go post Gates’ bail and give him a lecture or two about the merits of safe driving.