Six things you need to know from Bill Gates’ Reddit AMA

Being a workaholic is great, for awhile 

“20 years ago I would stay in the office for days at a time and not think twice about it - so I had energy and naivety on my side. Now hopefully I am a bit more mellow but with a little extra wisdom.”

In the early days of Microsoft, Bill Gates earned a reputation as one of the world’s hardest workers. He would burn as much midnight oil as necessary to keep his business growing. But, apparently, that’s not the case anymore.

Business comes first, philanthropy follows

“Just creating an innovative company is a huge contribution to the world. During my 20’s and 30’s that was all I focused on. Ideally people can start to mix in some philanthropy like Mark Zuckerberg has early in his career. I have enjoyed talking to some of the Valley entrepreneurs about this and I am impressed and how early they are thinking about giving back - much earlier than I did.”

Bill Gates stressed the fact that he didn’t kick off his exploration into charity until a long way into his journey as an entrepreneur. He believes that if you’re starting a great business that gives people jobs, you’re already doing something incredible. We couldn’t agree more.

If you’re not your target market, find people who are

“I am not a huge gamer. My son knows a lot more than I do about what is cool on Xbox.”

Bill Gates loves playing bridge, but he’s not the kind of person who will be boosting X Box One sales. Does that make him any less qualified to lead product development and branding? Yes, it does. But that’s why he’s filled Microsoft with people who know what the public are looking for. 

There’s no market that technology can’t change

“The idea was that men don't like the current design so perhaps something they would be more open to would allow for less HIV transmission.”

That’s right. Bill Gates is now aiming his flair for innovation directly at the condom market, with a new design that uses nanotubes to reduce thickness. That’s probably not what a lot of people expected to find out when reading a Bill Gates talk. 

His guilty pleasure is a private plane

“Owning a plane is a guilty pleasure. Warren Buffett called his the Indefensible. I do get to a lot of places for Foundation work I wouldn’t be able to go to without it.”

With Gates’ wealth, and the fact the private plane is being used for good, we probably won’t judge him too harshly on that purchase.

Bill Gates isn’t looking into eternal life

“I wouldn't want to extend my last few years unless that is happening for most people.”

Fair enough.


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