General Question

Sakata's avatar

How awesome is Bill Gates?

Asked by Sakata (3320 points ) February 8th, 2009

This is straight from Yahoo! buzz

“Release the hounds! Actually, make that mosquitoes. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s wealthiest people, made headlines this week when he released a cloud of mosquitos at a technology conference. The philanthropist was pointing out the dangers of malaria for the world’s poor. “Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. I brought some here,” he said. “There is no reason only poor people should be infected.” Fortunately for the terrified attendees, the mosquitoes were malaria-free. ‘Twas all a rouse. Bill Gates 1, Terrified Minions 0.”

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51 Answers

asmonet's avatar

Hello, lawsuit.

eponymoushipster's avatar

This just proves he’s evil. Didn’t something like this happen in “RoboCop”? What was Phase 2 of his plan, hold them hostage til they gave him…one billion dollars?

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

Oh, I get it. Heh heh. He is a genius.

AstroChuck's avatar

All I know is he could kick Chuck Norris’s ass.

asmonet's avatar

^I believe it.

Adina1968's avatar

I thought that was a bit nutty myself. Are you allowed to terrorize innocent people like that?

marinelife's avatar

He built a company that was great at marketing not technology.

His company, under his direction, systematically went about buying up competitors. often killing their better products after acquisition. They used tactics, some legal and some not, to squeeze other companies out of the OEM arena.

He is not a great visionary: He scoffed at the Internet and its potential until like a freight train it ran right over him.

Now, he is doing good works on a scale most people cannot like a good robber baron should.

None of that makes him worthy of worship. I am not even sure he is truly admirable. he is, however, a great showman thus the mosquito stunt.

richardhenry's avatar

I watched the talk; it really wasn’t as badass as that article makes out.

TaoSan's avatar

Quite frankly, it was an excellent speech, and that recount is really putting everything entirely out of proportion and context.

Speech available on TED website.

On the lighter side, just when we thought Bill is gone he is….yet again….releasing bugs into the world.

archaeopteryx's avatar

@TaoSan

“He [Bill Gates] is divisive. He is manipulative. He is a user. He has taken much from me and the industry.”~ Gary Kildall

TaoSan's avatar

and lastly,

sources say there were 7 mosquitos in the jar, not a swarm

TaoSan's avatar

@archaeopteryx

Of course, he is a tyrant, no doubt, just like Steve Jobs and any other “genius” I’ve read about. Do you think in the US you can become a large, market leading corporation without being manipulative and divisive?

Seems to come with being a genius.

Bri_L's avatar

Here is the Speech

And who the hell would believe anyone would release malaria loaded mosquitoes like that. LAME!

He is spearheading one of the richest entrepreneurial movements by a single person ever. He wants to help change various things like the educational system.

Unlike Jobs as he got older, he mellowed a bit as a person and started to put people higher up on his ladder of importance.

archaeopteryx's avatar

@TaoSan

Actually, I’ve been thinking about that for quite a while now, and I just can’t seem to understand. What kind of a genius really is Bill Gates? Does he even know what the term “CLI” stands for? <That’s an exaggeration, obviously, so don’t it take for real, lol :P>

I’m not sure if he’s even a computer geek as some people describe him.
I bet he just made some surgical adjustments to his face just look like a geek, while in reality, he doesn’t even know what letter the word “Geek” starts with..

However I have to admit that he is pretty professional, as in “professional fraud or thief”, that is.

archaeopteryx's avatar

@Bri_L

First, he ruins the entire computer industry by killing competition and creativity, and then he comes to ruin something else now.. The educational system…??

TaoSan's avatar

@archaeopteryx

Please don’t take it personal or anything, but you’re getting way out of your depth now.

The man went from 0 to a networth of 58 Billion. No offense meant, but you’re really lacking perspective. When I started using computers, a 386sx was the hotrod, and RAM came in KBs not GBs. The man is defacto the inventor of Personal Computing.

I understand that he’s being hated, I’m a zealous Apple-convert myself, but trying to pass judgements on Gate’s capabilities is kinda…. well, got no word for it.

tinyfaery's avatar

He’s the gadfly of Seattle. I think it’s pretty funny. And unlike Marina, I think he deserves some praise for his good works.

Bri_L's avatar

@archaeopteryx saying he is ruining the educational system is like saying he personally caused the economic crisis.

I think your letting some personal bias get in the way of reality.

I am an apple zealot as much as the next guy. But what Bill Gates did is no worse than Jobs or any other big business guy.

cookieman's avatar

@TaoSan: I would argue that Steve Wozniak is the inventor of the personal computer.

It’s arguable who invented the first user-friendly OS, as both Gates and Jobbs have claimed as much.

But Wozniak is the unsung hero.

Bri_L's avatar

@cprevite – I think your right. I believe Gates had more to do with programming that hardware

TaoSan's avatar

@cprevite

I perfectly agree. Wozniak was indeed the key figure in bringing “Personal Computers” into living rooms, no doubt. Referring to Gates though, notice my saying invented Personal Computing, not Personal Computers.

Machines useful to home users did not come about before then “Micro-Soft” OS implementations. Or to rephrase, before Windows, computers were “hobbies” or “mainfraime”, only after introduction of GUIs did they become tools of use to home users.

Bri_L's avatar

yeah, before then they were just something to dust around. hehe.

Allie's avatar

I don’t think it was that bad. He made a point. Good for him.

TaoSan's avatar

In some dark, long-lost childhood memories corner of my brain I seem to remember the Altair, and later on the Amiga…. loooong gone.

Bri_L's avatar

@allie – I didn’t mean to suggest he was evil or over reacting, it was just my opinion that some of his points were misguided, as he pointed out he thought mine were.

Oh my, the Amiga. When I was in college I did an interactive and an animation project on that because it was “the future of animation”. hehe

90s_kid's avatar

I don’t think that he is the richest man now. He has $60,000,000,000, but someone what is his name? has more. It is a good thing that he is not greedy with it.

Did you know that Bill Gates makes $172 a second. If he dropped a $100 dollar bill, it would not be worth his time and effort to pick up. He is probably made of money.

Zaku's avatar

Nice ruse.

As for Gates, I still only think of his iconic status and wealth as awesome, and mostly not in good ways. I think it’s a problem to have so much attention, wealth and power concentrated even in the corporation he led to near-monopolistic abuse of such an important element of modern society and technology.

Bri_L's avatar

I with out a doubt agree that windows has had a monopolistic hold on computers for two decades.

Also that he has not always been, nor may he be, the nicest guy to steal a bus seat from an old lady.

But now, in the present, he is trying to make things better with his money. And with Warren Buffet’s money. Mr. Buffet doesn’t handle money lightly. He believes in Gates’ philanthropy.

Gates is using research to assist him as well, not creating marketing. Now sure, his money can “market” his efforts. His money can persuade systems to do what he wants, but no one will go along with something that can’t be backed up, nor will they stick with something that doesn’t work.

TaoSan's avatar

@Bri_L

How much was it again Buffet gave? 100 Mill. or so?

By the way, I think Melinda is the driving force in the background where philantrophy is involved.

Before she took on a large role and the Bill and Linda Foundation came around all his philantrophic aspirations were always coupled with “some” good business sense.

Giving the left-behind kids PCs always had a taste of indoctrinating them to MS products to me.

Now, he is actually addressing issues far far away from enhancing MS business.

Bri_L's avatar

@TaoSan – a little more. What is 5/6 of 37billion

And I said ”I with out a doubt agree that windows has had a monopolistic hold on computers for two decades. Also that he has not always been, nor may he be, the nicest guy to steal a bus seat from an old lady.

I am talking about now.

syz's avatar

I thought it was a creative ploy to make a point about a vital topic that is largely ignored by western culture.

While I an not qualified to comment on his company or his career, I say any wealthy entrepreneur that realizes that you can have enough money and then uses some of that money in an attempt to make the world a better place is a dammed good guy. If only more of the super rich would follow that example. While giving an endowment to college, having a wing named after yourself at a hospital, or supporting a ballet company are perfectly acceptable forms of charity, trying to develop a global perspective on health, poverty and human rights is more to be admired in my opinion.

asmonet's avatar

Eh, having more information, I now think it was just clever. A swarm is not a handful. :P

russellsouza's avatar

Having tons of money doesn’t mean you have to use it to try to eradicate global diseases. Whether or not you’re fond of Microsoft (I am), what his foundation is doing is helping people. The fact that he releases mosquitoes into a room at least indicates that he’s involved in the foundation’s activity and message, and that he isn’t just a name on the wall.

Blondesjon's avatar

If Bill Gates was interested only in helping people than he would do it quietly and anonymously.

in terms of historical brutality and overall dickiness he is the thomas edison of our time making microsoft the g.e. of our time…

cookieman's avatar

@TaoSan: I see, “computing”.

@Bri_L: I did that exact same animation project on an Amiga around 1989–1990 at MassArt.

Do you remember “Lemmings”?

marinelife's avatar

@tinyfaery I do give him credit. Their work is great. I just find the redistribution of wealth by robber barons who make their money at other people’s expense to begin with ironic.

@TaoSan Actually, while I do think Melinda is very involved in the foundation and in their causes, Bill G comes by his philanthropy honestly. Both of his parents were very philanthropic and involved in the Seattle community. Before her untimely death, his mother was a University of Washington regent.

TaoSan's avatar

@Marina

Oh no doubt. I didn’t mean “hypocritical” or anything to that extent. Just meant that a lot of his benevolence revolved around computing. Say PCs for schools and libraries, educational programs around IT etc.

It just seems he has “broadened” his horizon there.

As for some other comments here, I really do understand the sentiment, but sometimes wonder:

If there are three coffee shops around the corner, and one pulls the most customers, everybody says they’re good at their business. So one goes out of business ‘cause their coffee doesn’t taste so well, and “Good Coffee buys the store.

Again, everybody congratulates.

Now they want to get rid of the third store, eliminate competition, people will say, wow what business acumen!

Translate the very same “chain of events” on a global scale, and the business becomes “evil”.

I’m not defending M$oft at all, just an observation.

Bri_L's avatar

@ Blondesjon – I don’t know that one of the richest men in the world can do much quietly, especially if he is enlisting other for research and it involves multiple public faculties.

Besides, if he believes in what he is doing and he is going to go into schools where others have to vote for his proposals he needs to be public. I have not seen or read anything that comes across as if he is patting himself on the back.

@ cprevite – 1990 baby!!! And yes I remember Lemmings, I remember some dork deleting it from the computer because “he thought it was why his project didn’t work”.

@ TaoSan – It seems as if you might be alluding to my answers as your last comment was to me in an effort to point out that his wife was the source and philanthropic good sense and such.

Again I say “I with out a doubt agree that windows has had a monopolistic hold on computers for two decades. Also that he has not always been, nor may he be, the nicest guy to steal a bus seat from an old lady.”

I am talking about now.

Zaku's avatar

I confess I don’t know a lot about Gates now except that they’re building a huge complex next to the Seattle Center.

What percentage of his wealth is being applied to philanthropy these days?

90s_kid's avatar

@Bri_L
No idea what u were talking about when you said “1990 Baby!!!”, but I say:
1990 BABY!!!!!
No homo.

Bri_L's avatar

I meant was using the Amiga to create animation and multimedia in 1990.

I Have no idea what you mean by “No homo.”

TaoSan's avatar

@Bri_L

oh oh oh….. do you remember one of the first GUI games on the Amiga, I think it was called Mindwalker.

It was a little wizard running around between brain cells….

Bri_L's avatar

@TaoSan I think I do. I am not sure if I am confusing it with a TI game or not.

90s_kid's avatar

If you call men “baby” after it has clearly already been mentioned, that is kind of queer….I just said it in case.

TaoSan's avatar

huh?

Am I missing something?

90s_kid's avatar

Nevermind…

Bri_L's avatar

@90s_kid Oh, so it was a gay joke. Gotcha.

Pandora's avatar

I’m kind of jaded. Can’t help that most rich people pull stunts like this to get noticed when the media drops them like yesterday news. And lets face it. Media for the rich, good or bad, brings with it profits in the end.
However, not really knowing what Bill Gates is like (only Mrs. Gates really knows) I won’t totally dismiss the whole thing. Whether his intentions are good or bad, if it brings some much needed donations to help with the disease or any other, than it was worth the stunt.

Pandora's avatar

@Zaku I found this site that list the first 25 top philanthrophist in the world. link
Bill Gates is number 7 on the list, although in the article they say that he would be easily number one except for some causes maybe rating higher.
So I guess he is a pretty decent fellow, no matter what his motives may be.

Zaku's avatar

@Pandora Interesting, thanks. However, my definition of “top philanthropist” would not be by gross dollar value. For instance, what percentage of their disposable or even non-disposable wealth do they donate to loving causes? I have donated money I couldn’t really afford to give, even when my net worth was negative. Bill Gates has an insanely positive net worth that generates more and more wealth – what fraction is he devoting to good causes? Another thing to consider, is how much damage does his allocation of wealth do? Microsoft ruthlessly squashes out other companies in its attempt to dominate markets to ever increase its own value and power, for example. What about the hidden costs of selling proprietary medicine to Africa? What about the impact of Microsoft’s backing of “intellectual property” policies on the very poor people of the world’s access to media and information that could make huge difference to their ability to survive and prosper if it were made available to them at no cost? What about the enabling effect of those policies on truly evil companies that genetically engineer survival crops and then blackmail poor nations into having no right to regenerate their own crops so that they can dominate the economic rights to supply their food? What for-profit corporations are in Gates’ investment portfolio, and what evil are they up to? If for example his net negative impact is X, how does that compare to the amount given to looking-good donations? And what does he donate but not take credit for?

Which is not to say that it’s not great the good things that have been done in his name on a large scale. And not to say that there aren’t many other rich people who do no good except by accident.

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