Geek Trivia

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

Steve Wozniak
Steve Balmer
Eric Clapton
Bill Gates
Which Insects Are Used In Emergency Medicine?

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.