What if Bill Gates laughed at your start-up idea?
That's exactly what happened to former Microsoft product manager and entrepreneur Rich Barton in the 1990s when he pitched beginning his own company outside Microsoft.
But Gates had a different plan. Looking ahead at the risks Barton could face, Gates allowed him to bring his company idea to life within Microsoft. That start-up eventually became the billion-dollar online travel company Expedia.
Gates possessed the one key characteristic that Barton says makes him, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings, Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs the greatest kind of CEO: He's the company founder.