Bill Gates was on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night. I often wonder why the staff at the Daily Show doesn’t let guests know about that whole banter-at-the-end-of-the-interview thing. I’d say that about a third of guests (maybe more) rise during the applause, intending to get offstage ASAP. Usually Stewart grabs them by the elbow and leans in, probably saying something like, “dude, don’t walk out until the cameras stop rolling…pretend like I am saying something funny”. He didn’t do that with Bill and I wonder if it has something with Stewart wanting to return to the state where he is the smartest person in the room. Ah, I love Jon, but I’m just saying.
Seeing execs bolt from an interview or meeting as soon as they are done talking is pretty normal at Microsoft. There are many demands on peoples’ time and sometimes you can just get them in blocks of 20 minutes or so. I imagine that the Vista launch is an exaggerated version of that. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen an exec talk for a bit and then excuse themselves to move on to the next meeting.
I happen to like the fact that BillG is not all media slick. It’s probably part of the same reason why I like the PC in the Apple commercials better than the slacker Mac dude. Yeah, I am sure I am biased. If I wanted to be working in an environment where slick took precedence over substance, then I’d be looking for work elsewhere. It’s less of a feeling-that-way-because-I-work-at-Microsoft thing than a working-at-Microsoft-because-I-feel-that-way thing. I like that Bill seems a little uncomfortable under the spotlight.
I did think that Jon Stewart seemed a little uncomfortable asking his questions…like he didn’t have some common ground to discuss. Bill pretty much seemed like Bill; he got a couple of jokes in there. I would have liked to have seen the writers of the show go somewhere else besides the typical “future of computing” line of questioning.