FACT CHECK: Did Bill Gates Say, ‘Be Nice To Nerds. Chances Are You’ll End Up Working For One’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A post on Facebook alleges that Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates once said, “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”

Verdict: False

Despite being widely attributed to Gates, the expression actually originated with political commentator Charles J. Sykes.

Fact Check:

Gates, a billionaire with an estimated $96.5 billion net worth in 2019, cofounded software firm Microsoft in 1975. He and his wife Melinda chair the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable organization, according to Forbes.

Although the quote attributed to Gates in the Facebook post has been linked to him since at least 2010, there is no evidence that it originated with Gates. An internet search reveals no credible sources ascribing it to him.

The Daily Caller News Foundation search his books – “The Road Ahead” and “Bussiness @ the Speed of Thought” – but found no record of the expression in either.

The statement, which often appears in a list called “Rules Kids Won’t Learn In School” that also gets attributed to Gates online, actually comes from Sykes, a political commentator. In his book “50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School,” Sykes writes, “Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.”

Sykes confirmed in a Twitter direct message to the DCNF that the quote originated with him, not Gates.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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