I’m going to be out of town tomorrow, so I won’t be able to post this on Bill’s last full time day at Microsoft, but I wanted to post a couple of anecdotes about Bill.
This one actually comes from Valorie, it was her first interaction with Bill…
Valorie was an intern back during the summer of 1985 in the Word group (she was working on testing Word for the ATT 3B5 minicomputer (yeah, we had a version of Word for Xenix machines back then)).
She was late at work one night and she noticed this madman skipping down the hall leaping at the ceiling tiles trying to tip them out of their frames. She thought this was weird, but back in those days all sorts of strange things happened. Employees used to have softball games in the hall (which were eventually stopped when someone accidentally smashed a relight with a bat), the Windows team used to climb onto the roof of the building and have impromptu jam sessions on the roof of the building. Stuff like that happened fairly regularly, so a crazy man running down the hall swatting at the ceiling wasn’t a big deal.
She asked Libby, the person in the office next to her who the madman was and Libby replied: “Oh, that’s just my brother.”
Valorie chalked it up to nepotism – over the years were a lot of siblings working at Microsoft (just off the top of my head, I can think of at least 4 pairs of siblings working there at the time), so she thought nothing of it.
Until a couple of days later when she noticed that her neighbors nameplate said:
Valorie had several more interactions with Bill when she worked with Nathan Myhrvold, but this one was by far the most memorable. I absolutely love the image of Bill Gates, skipping down the hall swatting at the ceiling, it’s SO different from the stereotypical image people have of Bill.
I have a couple of other BillG stories I want to tell, but they’ll have to wait until I come back next week.