I am a Bill Gates fan. I think he is prescient. He is valuable. He blazes a bright path in the dark where others fear to tread.
He’s also smart enough to know nothing lasts forever — except for infamy and shame — and his decision to leave Microsoft on his own terms and on his own timetable demonstrates he knows how to do the right thing even if it may bring him personal heartbreak of purpose and insecurity of mind. 


In 1988 I wrote a piece called Bill Gates Gets Pied in the Puss where I expressed my fury how the world’s richest man wasn’t better protected from a security standpoint.
When Bill Gates
admitted on a television show a couple of weeks ago that being “The
World’s Richest Man” isn’t a label or a position any rational person
would wish upon their worst enemy, you began to see the human cracks in
the Gates facade that, perhaps, he was tired of the Rat Race of bits
and bytes and wanted greater meaning in his life than leading the
leading software company.

Bill Gates said when he dies he plans to leave none of his wealth
behind. He wants to give it all away while is alive so he can direct
its power to do good. He is demonstrating that want
with every breath. As he retires from software to serve the world, the
good he can do with that kind of money positioned in strategic places
— and no one is better at that kind of visioning and specificity of
niche-filling than Bill Gates — one becomes breathless at the
possibilities for advocacy and the healing his billions can bring to
those who are less-fortunate and made poor or impoverished of spirit
merely because of the circumstance of their birth and not their want
for a better life. Here’s what Bill has done so far:

Bill Gates has said Philanthropy is also important to
Gates. He and his wife, Melinda, have endowed a foundation with more
than $28.8 billion (as of January 2005) to support philanthropic
initiatives in the areas of global health and learning, with the hope
that in the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be
available for all people.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has
committed more than $3.6 billion to organizations working in global
health; more than $2 billion to improve learning opportunities,
including the Gates Library Initiative to bring computers, Internet
Access and training to public libraries in low-income communities in
the United States and Canada; more than $477 million to community
projects in the Pacific Northwest; and more than $488 million to
special projects and annual giving campaigns.

Bill Gates is putting his money where his deeds are and there can be no
greater glory in a life than to leave the world a better place than
when you lived in it.

12 Comments

  1. Bill Gates has the right idea.
    It’s better to die having enjoyed seeing your money do great things, than to hold onto it until it can’t be held anymore.
    It’s also better to bow out when things are going great, rather than be forced out when they go bad.
    I heard someone say that while you can’t bring material wealth with you to heaven, you can always bring friends. Bill Gates is becoming richer even while giving away his earthly treasures.

  2. Hey Chris!
    Right on all counts! It is best to leave on your own accord than be asked to leave. There isn’t much Bill can do witj Windows that he hasn’t already done. MSFT will need to change in big ways to stay competitive and that’s a job for a younger man and a newer mind.
    Friends are forever; bank accounts are terminal. I like that idea a lot, Chris, and I thank you for sharing it with us today!

  3. Gates has already done much to help the poor and the sick. He fights AIDS in Africa. He provides computers to inner city ghetto schools and libraries.

  4. You don’t have to give money to give back. There are lots of AIDS volunteers and urban volunteers who give their time. I think that gift has higher influence than cash.

  5. It isn’t just me. There are lots of people like me. Gates money does make our jobs easier. If you can’t give time or mentor a kid then money can always help those who do have the time do an even better job because there are more resources to access.

  6. Giving is always a good thing and should be encouraged.
    I’ve noticed that volunteering and helping others always makes me feel good. There’s something about doing anything that makes a little difference that human beings need to feel. Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced world, it’s hard for people to be able to turn their attention to others because of time constraints and our self-centered ways.
    Accumulating material goods can never cause the feeling that helping others does.

  7. Hey Chris!
    Yes, giving is important.
    I am glad you are able to make time to help the less fortunate.
    Material goods, the longer I live, become less and less important. Tending the spirit in you and in others is really our primary goal of living a proper life.

  8. I’m a Gates fan myself. My husband worked for them for 8 years before leaving to work for himself. This has nothing to do with why I like him, even having met him three times and been impressed that he was very gracious and welcoming.
    I think Bill and his wife are doing what you’re supposed to do, give back. You really can’t take it with you. I think the reason for life……other’s.
    I don’t have the billions of dollars they have, I have a much, smaller income to work from. I voulunteer weekly with schools and the community. I’m doing my share, and they theirs.
    I’m impressed.