Understanding Bill Gates

by Volker Weber

eWeek quotes Larry Ellison:

One telephone conversation with Gates in 1993 sticks in Ellison's mind. "It was the most interesting conversation I've ever had with Bill, and the most revealing. It was around eleven o'clock in the morning, and we were on the phone discussing some technical issue, I don't remember what it was. Anyway, I didn't agree with him on some point, and I explained my reasoning. Bill says, 'I'll have to think about that, I'll call you back.' Then I get this call at four in the afternoon and it's Bill continuing the conversation with 'Yeah, I think you're right about that, but what about A and B and C?' I said, 'Bill, have you been thinking about this for the last five hours?' He said, yes, he had, it was an important issue and he wanted to get it right. Now Bill wanted to continue the discussion and analyze the implications of it all. I was just stunned. He had taken the time and effort to think it all through and had decided I was right and he was wrong. Now, most people hate to admit they're wrong, but it didn't bother Bill one bit. All he cared about was what was right, not who was right. That's what makes Bill very, very dangerous.

Indeed. The majority of people I dealt with are more concerned about who is right. This is a major disctraction. If you can get over that, it will set your mind free.


If you have a problem in a project the most people in Germany wasting their time just to find out who is responsible for this problem, not to solve it. They only want to show: "I'm right, another one is wrong".
Dilbert is not comic, it's real life !

Tobias, 2003-11-07

Ein weiterer Beweis für die emotionale IntelligenZ und die unternehmerische Cleverness, die Bill G. aus R. in sich vereinigt. Es ist allseits bekannt, dass man durch die Adaption guter Ideen auf der Welle des Erfolgs mitreiten kann (in der USA wird etwas neues gemacht; schwappt die Welle nach Europa wird es auch hier erfolgreich *ohWunder*). Sollte jeder, der in gewisser Weise unZufrieden mit sich und der Restwelt ist, sich hinterfragen und ggf. solche Strategien Zukünftig auch fahren. Das Rad muss nicht immer neu erfunden werden.

webagent, 2003-11-07

That's not limited to any one country believe me! I often find myself falling into the trap of feeling the need to prove that
(a) I was right, or;
(b) why I was wrong.

Stupid. What's more liberating, as Volker says, is simply to say "Doh!" and move on.

It's quite hard though :-)

Ben Poole, 2003-11-07

Das ist richtig. WOrk heavily with Germans and you're bang on. "Who is at fault? I must fill in 12 forms in triplicate and get authorisation from my boss. He must get authoriastion from department head. He must get authoriasation from the site chief. He must get authorisation from the regional head. He must get authorisation from , etc, etc. They are more worried about creating political leverage and following procedure than actually fixing a probelm. Dumbkopf's.

Joe Elway, 2003-11-07

Sounds like my place to me. And we ain't German ;-)

Ben Poole, 2003-11-07

I think it's human nature for this to be the way we feel compelled to behave. What is 'they' say? You're only as good as the last thing you did - well if that was something in which you were regularly wrong and happy to admit, then Mr Wrong wll be your label. The (perhaps true) assessment that you were actually doing the right thing, is down to the way in which someone perceives you and their interpretation of events.

On the other hand, if you can always come out smelling of roses - either by making sure that someone else was wrong, or argue that you weren't then your press will 'always' be positive.

The stronger person (IMHO) is not only the one that is prepared to admit to themselves and others that they were wrong (and then go on to strive for, or confirm the truth), but also the one who recognises the true value of that behaviour.... But isn't all this the stuff of office politics and spin?

John, 2003-11-07

Sorry folks,
but the whole story and this interpretation just doesn't make any sense to me.

What would you expect Bill to say when he first called Larry?

"Hey Larry, I just want to tell you that I'm absolutely positive I'm right about xyz. Just thought I'd let you know. Bye."

There's orders, discussions and arguments. No reason to faint when Bill has a discussion with Larry, right? I'm sure, on numerous occations he was giving orders or was having arguments.

Also I'm sure the story is vastly exaggerated. Larry can't remember any detail about "the most interesting conversation I've ever had with Bill, and the most revealing"?

So he doesn't remember anything except 'Bill Gates, supersocial-man'?

Wolfgang Flamme, 2003-11-07

Old vowe.net archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe