Monday, June 30, 2008

Bill Gates after Microsoft

I started to have been great fond of Bill Gates, since I was in college time. However, at that time , I only knew he was the instrumental in creating Windows 95 and nothing else. Lot's of people told me he has been very "mean" in the way he ran his business. However, all I'm interested is due to his passion and innovation that brought the Windows product what it's today. Not many companies that produced successful operating system in comparison to Microsoft. The OS/2 that one time the proud product from IBM dies off and out-compete by Windows. Apple produces MAC and has been spending most of the time in engineering the masterpiece before releasing to the market suffered little market share gain then.

I remembered I joined Microsoft back 7 years ago. I still recalled the joy in joining "Uncle Bill" family. I was very persistent in offering my skills and experience to them. Thinking back, I must have been nuts in doing that. I did not understand why I would like to do that. That persistent, patient and eagerness was my strongest weapons that successfully on boarded me into Microsoft. Anyway, it was a long history one.

Bill was one of my most favorite icon not only because he created Windows and other stuffs, but it was because the ability of his thought in generating unlimited wealth for himself. In addition, he was a drop-out from Harvard. I sometimes think he must be insane to drop out from Harvard such a prestigious institution in United States. On the second thought, if he were just work on his law degree, we will not be having Bill Gates as we know of today. He seized the opportunity that could create a massive change in generating wealth, revolution and culture. His vision of course most has been materialized " To have Windows and PC on each table in the office and home"

I could not be possible to imagine back those days in 80's, somebody could have that vision. I believed 99% of all people will be mentioned, it is an insane vision, or it could take a rocket-science thing to realize. I guess Uncle Bill proof his vision right to most people today. Most people dislike him because he use all sort of ways to get the product in the path of monopolizing. From a business point of view, I see nothing wrong with it, in fact, there is no right or wrong. On the personal level, he could be brutal in the way the company that ruled by him.
Well, what I want to mention in this post would be learning to reflect on Uncle Bill. What could we learn from him where I summarized:

• Focus: Bill Gates has demonstrated over nearly thirty years the importance of clarity of thought and execution. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he did not move away from the domain he understood better than anything else – software. He has pursued the objective of dominance in software in general and operating systems in particular that has few parallels. Venturing into unfamiliar territory may be fashionable but carries a high degree of risk. Focus also means the ability to pursue one’s goals whatever the obstacles may be. Such a degree of perseverance is hard to come by.

• Thinking big: Along with focus, the ability to dream big and pursue that with single-minded determination sets Gates apart from other entrepreneurs. This is particularly true of entrepreneurs from emerging economies like India where an ultra-conservative attitude has stifled growth. Entrepreneurs need to develop confidence in themselves and their team that they can take on the world and come out winners.

• Passion: Simply put, if anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well. From a simple thank you note to a complex proposal, it is critical to place the stamp of excellence on whatever one undertakes. Equally important is the need to constantly innovate. Change is the only constant and the more agile and adaptive we are to change, the more successful we can be.

• Learning as a life-long process: Though dropping out of college to his dreams, Bill Gates has probably read and written more than most of us ever will. In the process, he has shown the limits of formal education. Important as formal education is, perhaps it is more important to realize that learning is a life-long process. Knowledge is infinite. Even if we keep assimilating it without a break throughout a lifetime, we would not have scratched the surface. Knowledge should lead to humility and wisdom – not arrogance and one-upmanship.

• Giving back to society: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a new dimension to philanthropy by addressing issues that are global in nature – malaria, cancer, AIDS. Feeling good by doing good may appear old-fashioned but this may yet be the best way forward in combating diseases that kill or maim millions of people every year. With friend and legendary investor Warren Buffet also joining hands, a formidable combination has been forged. Bill Gates has shown a remarkable degree of consistency both in his business goals and in his goals in philanthropy.

I'm not sure you would share my view as mentioned on few key items, but I guess it is something we could learn from an entrepreneur, manager, leader, developer and now he set his path to become the next greatest philanthropist. As last Friday was his last day of full-time in Microsoft, although a mixed-feeling that Microsoft without Bill anymore, I wish him a great future endeavor on his new role in Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. May the force be with you SteveB!

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