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Author Topic:   Cheers... thank goodness for Bill Gates!
Black belt
posted 04-12-1999 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Salmons   Click Here to Email Jim_Salmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We are members of an active, "happening" reseller community associated with our website hosting service. Not surprisingly, among this otherwise well-informed and thoughtful group, Microsoft Bashing is Big Fun.

At Easter, the otherwise business-wise reseller BBS turned to thoughts of sacrifice and forgiveness.

I decided to play a "Festinger" (Leon Festinger, the developer of the Theory of Cognitive Dissonance) on them. I posted the following in which I, not only admit to being grateful to Microsoft, worse, I confess that I admire Bill Gates.

Both are true, but that does not make me a mindless sheep or an idiot, as some would suppose.

At any rate, the test was to see if this rampant aura of Good Will and Forgiveness would allow these folks to drop their Lemming-like GroupThink to consider the following. (See the next reply.)

It apparently did not... at least as far as the BBS's standard for obligatory "yea " and "nay " reply posts would indicate. Only one brave soul had the courage to respond with a "Good thoughts, Jim" comment.

Frankly, I was surprised by the non-response response. But I think this gives us a real insight into how deeply the knee-jerk Anti-Microsoft GroupThink goes in our industry.

My post to the reseller board appears in the next reply to this topic.

[This message has been edited by Jim_Salmons (edited 13 April 1999).]

Black belt
posted 04-12-1999 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim_Salmons   Click Here to Email Jim_Salmons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
====== posted Friday before Easter
====== on our hosting service reseller BBS

At this time of thoughtful forgiveness and rededication to fundamental human values, I want to encourage us all to take a break from our mindless, lemming-like March off the Cliff of Bill Gates and Microsoft Bashing, slip off our Cynical Hats and give our Self-Righteous Blinders the day off and read the following by Jason Pontin from this month's "Red Herring":


What the technology industry can learn from Bill Gates about charity.


Last month I read in "Fortune" that Bill Gates plans to give it all away. I had heard this before---but cynically I dismissed the story as public relations, because Microsoft's CEO was always quoted as saying that he would wait until he was 60, retire, and spend the rest of his life dispersing what he had so laboriously accumulated. I would, I thought, believe it when I saw it.

I was wrong to be so cynical. Motivated by what Fortune's Andy Sewer ingeniously calls a "time value" theory of charity (where a philanthropist decides that even though his unspent fortune will be worth more tomorrow, and he could therefore give more later, people would suffer for want of those funds today), Mr. Gates has decided to start giving now.


I was stunned by the size of Mr. Gates's charitable foundations: $6.5 billion, or about half his wealth that is not invested in Microsoft, is now divided between the William H. Gates Foundation, which gives to world health and education organizations, and the Learning Foundation, which brings technology and Internet access to libraries in poor regions of North America. Mr. Gates's foundations, which barely existed three years ago, are now so large that they will have to give away some $325 million per year merely to retain their nonprofit charity status.

Quite suddenly, they are among the very largest endowments in the world, rivaling those founded by Ford, Kellogg, Carnegie, and Mellon.

But what is most surprising is that Mr. Gates has become a model among his own kind for charitable giving.

Technologists, the most fabulously, uselessly wealthy of Americans, are notably absent from 1998's "Slate 60", a list of the nation's most active philanthropists. Except for Mr. Gates, the list's only technologists are Martha Ingram, a director of Ingram Micro; Intel cofounder Gordon Moore; Bloomberg's founder, Michael Bloomberg; and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.


Mr. Gates is even more of a model for entrepreneurs in how he gives away his assets. Giving money away well is almost as hard as earning it. Finding organizations that deserve funding--and know what to do with it--is the minimally acceptable sort of charity; the best philanthropists use their money to find new ways to ameliorate human suffering and build new organizations.

Mr. Gates has said, "Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity the same kind of focus and skills building a business requires."

Only Paul Brainerd, the founder of Aldus, and Mario Morino, the founder of Legent, understand so well entrepreneurs' wonderful potential to do good works. (For a look at Mr. Brainerd's venture capital-inspired approach to charitable giving, see page 31; to see how the Morino Institute uses business skills to help charities, see Think Tank, March, page 126).

Entrepreneurs, follow Bill Gates's example in charity, as you have imitated him in business. Give it away.

You have more than you can possibly ever use, you have the smarts to give effectively and so many people have so little, and need your help now.

Jason Pontin

Reprinted for editorial purposes from the May 1999 issue of "Red Herring" magazine, page 168.

Yes, I am grateful to Microsoft. Yes, I admire Bill Gates. There I have said it. Write me off, if you must, but hear me out first.

Is Mr. Gates or his company without sin? Of course not. Neither am I, neither are you.

Capitalism is non-lethal combat. There are winners and losers by design and necessity. Techno-economic "warfare" has replaced traditional warfare in most "civilized" circles. It is our modern means of evolution. Our physical bodies are likely to change little in the Millennia to come. It is our Collective Humanity that is the test of our survivability. Judging by what is going on in Kosovo, we have a long way to go.

In the truest Hegelian dialectic, capitalistic success carries with it the seeds of its own destruction.

Machiavelli talked about it in absolute terms. Winning breeds arrogance. Arrogance leads to mistakes, and the victor falls. Microsoft will not be Top Dog forever. It is inevitable that they fall. And, sure as you sit there reading this, whatever comes in its wake will be just as good/bad as Bill and Company.

Failure is inevitable in a free market technology-driven economy. We do not need governments to protect us from the "evils" of Microsoft or whoever is the latest 400-pound gorilla.

We already have the two most powerful weapons needed at our disposal to fight monopolies. They are Free Will and Personal Integrity.

Many of those self-serving "witnesses for the prosecution" at the Microsoft trial, blinded by their own Greed, used their Free Will to cut bad deals with Microsoft. And if they had had the level of Personal Integrity that they attempt to exhibit on the witness stand, these self-same witnesses for the prosecution would not have been so eager to "sleep with the enemy" in the first place, then turn around and cry, "Rape!"

Has Bill Gates and Microsoft helped changed the World as we know it? You bet. That incredible computer you sit before to read this and which, by all measures, is incredibly cheap for what you get for your money, thank Bill Gates and Microsoft for the large part they played in making it available to you. Thank them as you exercise your Free Will to blow away their products and replace them with whatever flavor OS or app you like. Thank them for helping to create a Technological Feast we all share.

And, in closing, judging by the information Jason Pontin has shared with us in his editorial, "We ain't seen nothing yet, in terms of how Mr. Gates will affect our World."

To my mind, we could use a few more Gateses and a few less Milosevics.

Think about it before you cast that next stone Redmund-way...

[This message has been edited by Jim_Salmons (edited 12 April 1999).]

White belt
posted 11-02-1999 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carole   Click Here to Email carole     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
hear hear!!!

With no college education whatsoever, I have made myself into a successful multimedia developer/web designer/tech writer making vastly more money than many of my college-educated friends.

The availability and affordability of Microsoft software apps and PCs that run them have made this possible.

I admire Bill Gates and owe him at least some thanks for creating tools that have made my work life so fun, creative, and profitable.

Go Bill Go, I say!

All times are ET (US)

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