Wired's Epicenter proves Bill Gates hasn't always pooped out money-making tech his entire lifeā€”their latest post documents his failed traffic metering device, which helped automate the process of counting cars on the road.

Fresh out of high school, Gates, along with Paul Allen and another accomplice by the name of Paul Gilbert, developed the Traf-o-Data (pictured here), which was used in conjunction with the black hoses laid down in streets to count the number of cars in an area. According to Gates, the whole thing was working fine, prompting him to invite some city officials to come and check it out.

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When they showed up for the meeting, the Traf-o-Data was Traf-o-Dead. So what did Gates do? He went running to his MOTHER, enlisting her to convince the nice men his ingenious contraption worked.

After displaying his inability to grow a pair, Gates apparently got the device to work, though he only sold one...ever. But I guess that's better than the 0 units of the Nothing I was selling when I was 17. [Epicenter]