September 27, 2013

An interview with Bill Gates

There's a new interview with the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Lessons learned:
  • Bill Gates never finished his college degree from Harvard. When he founded Microsoft he decided to go on a leave from Harvard to always have the possibility to return if his new company would fail. This is similar to another entrepreneur, Elon Musk (founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, SolarCity), who finished his college degree but he decided to go on a leave from his PhD degree to found the Internet company Zip2. Both Bill Gates and Elon Musk realized that they had go on a leave because they feared that someone else would solve the problems they wanted to solve.
  • He worked a lot during the first years of Microsoft, saying he didn't believe in vacations and weekends until he met his wife. 
  • The ctrl-alt-delete combination was according to Bill Gates a mistake, they could have only used one button to perform the same task, but the combination lives on. This is similar to the current keyboard layout called QWERTY which originates from the times when we used typewriters. It turns out that this layout is not the optimal layout which is the Dvorak layout, and since people are used to the old layout, it's difficult to change keyboard layout.
  • He met Warren Buffett by accident at a party Bill Gates didn't want to attend. Originally Bill Gates didn't want to meet Warren Buffett because he thought that Warren Buffett was only interested in the price of stocks - not the businesses behind the stocks. In reality, Warren Buffett is interested only in the businesses behind the stocks and not the price of the stock. They became friends and have now started The Giving Pledge which is a campaign to encourage the wealthiest people in the world to make a commitment to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
  • He's not interested in funding projects that aim to cure cancer. He didn't reveal the reason in the interview, so I had to search for it and found the following quote "Why try to cure malaria instead of cancer? The world is putting massive amounts into cancer, so my wealth would have had a meaningless impact on that." (CNN)
  • By 2018 polio might become the decease after smallpox to be completely eradicated. If successful in eliminating polio, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will try to eradicate malaria and measles.