Monday, June 30, 2008

Here's Hoping Gates Gets His Groove Back

As this is the last day of Bill Gates as the head of Microsoft (sort of) - I was wondering if Bill is a little sad or if he's planning a huge "I'm so done with this" party?

I've read a couple of biographies over the years - as well as all the various retrospectives that have been all over the press the last couple of weeks.

If I were him - I'd want to get the hell out and try something else for a while as well. I mean, there are millions of people's lives who have been forever changed because of the luck, greed, ambition, talent, ruthlessness, and genius of a rag-tag group of 13 people at a little start up company no one had ever heard of - more than 30 years ago.

I know that I'm one of those people.

Yeah, sure, he made a few dozen billion dollars doing it. That's what everyone likes to focus on. That's what everyone is jealous of. That's what everyone respects.

Now I don't happen to have a few billion in the bank - but I have to imagine that once you've built a $140 million house outfitted with Michael Jackson-like technology at every turn, and you have traveled the world and met with world leaders, business leaders, tech leaders, social workers, etc. that you're basically just bored with it all.

I think for Mr. Gates, the real challenge is... well... the challenge. From what I've read about him - he's crazy smart and really devours books and information at near computer speeds.

He doesn't seem to tolerate people that "don't get it" (eg him) and has been known to really get in their face and maybe even fire them if he thinks they're too thick to get his meaning (on anything). He seems to be the kind of person whose brain just doesn't shut down.

He always seems to be trying to solve a problem. Trying to find an answer.

Maybe he's just bored of being the whipping post for EU (and US) regulators - just for doing "good business" in his mind.

Maybe he's just trying to spend more time with his kids and his wife in doing something worthwhile with his pile of dough.

Trying to solve the problem of world hunger and disease in 3rd world countries is a little harder than the Sunday crossword - but I for one think it's a really noble cause. Apparently so does his wife, Warren Buffett and loads of other (on both sides of the foundation's money).

So, Mr. Gates - as you're getting older, and your kids are growing up in front of your eyes - maybe it's time to just pick up a few (hundred) books at Amazon, kick back (ish) and see how you can influence another untapped area of humanity.

Best of luck!

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