How I emailed Bill Gates and How I got a response from him!


With four people in my office chanting “Do it! Do it!” I pressed the send button. Last Friday afternoon, I forwarded the Business Week article to Bill Gates. I highlighted the first sentence of the article that mentioned my name and my blog, and, most importantly, I highlighted the last sentence of the first paragraph that read, “And Bill Gates is happy.” I jokingly wrote, “I hope this isn’t a misquote =)” in the body of the email.

A couple of days later, I get a reply back, saying,

I’m happy. Nice article!

It was awesome to grab my coworkers on Monday morning saying, “come check out this mail” just to see the look on their faces (and to here their expletives of course). Before I knew it, I had a small crowd in my office applauding and cheering. Saurabh forwarded the mail around to our product unit. Lots of people have been telling me congratulations. The email hangs outside my door with “Real!” handwritten above the header.  The whole experience was pretty funny.

The Business Week article Blogging with the Boss’s Blessing now appears to be available publicly (no subscription required). It should comes out in print really soon.

Comments (41)

  1. Wow. Congrats!

    I’ve only known one person who’s emailed billg (back in 1995). And I’ve seen the amount of space normal folks gave the guy when they saw him somewhere on campus doing something mildly official.

    To get a response, that’s probably almost unheard of.

  2. senkwe says:

    It would be interesting to know what the subject line of your email was. Something must have grabbed his attention :-)

  3. William Luu says:

    Wow! Super cool :)

    Congrats on getting your name in there :)

  4. Have I mistakenly stumbled across the fabled ‘lost chapter from Microserfs’ 😉

  5. Very cool. Congratulations on the email and the article.

  6. I can understand the euphoria for you… but I think it’s not a good thing that the big boss of a company is so "unreachable"… congratulation from an entire department for a boss reply to your mail makes me worried.

  7. Anonymous Coward says:

    A co-worker of yours could have gotten a good laugh by faking the e-mail. Did he sign the e-mail?

  8. Jukka Valvanne says:

    Nah, it’s just some other guy called bill gates who you sent this e-mail. I don’t think the real Billy-boy would respont to an email recieved from just an ordinary worker. Got this strange feeling that Bill’s e-mail is restricted to recieve mail just from microsoft workers and bill’s mates including friends. If not, he would get spammed, trolled and so on from millions of people. No way, he would never even respond to an email which sits in the inbox with millions of other more important messages..

  9. Julie Lerman says:

    oh, those silly skeptics. Why wouldn’t it have been him? Nice going, Sara!

  10. Adam says:

    I just got my glossy new copy of BWeek in the mail yesterday and there you were on page 100!

    Congrats! Viva la Blog!

  11. He personally sent me a "Microsoft Security Update Patch." Although he couldn’t spell too well …. something like "Hu))ry and i.n.s.t.a.l.l. patch, virus g3t you". But I’m sure it’s cause he’s so busy. What a nice guy.

  12. Anonymous Coward says:

    Julie, because it would have been so easy to fake it. Think about it; you tell your co-workers that you are about to e-mail Bill Gates. Whats the next logical step? To answer it ofcourse! As your co-workers don’t expect you to any real answer, they don’t need to be afraid of getting caught by faking an e-mail… And if it’s not the co-workers it might be some secretary. Bill should really sign his e-mails. This just doesn’t prove anything…

    And besides, he is just a normal person with little more cash than I do. So what?

  13. David Totzke says:

    Anonymous Coward:

    Just because you have zero self-esteem and self-worth does not mean that others do as well.

    I’ve received a response from Steve Ballmer to the two emails that I have sent to him. These guys aren’t as unreachable as you may think. You may only get a couple of words, but you do get a response.

    Go and pee in your own pool!

  14. Anonymous says:

    coresite.org: ben’s writings » So Gates really does respond to email…

  15. esa Tie says:

    why is that so special issue at all!!

  16. How I emailed Bill Gates and How I got a response from him! How I emailed Bill Gates and How I got a response from him! Sara just heard from her boss…both her comments and the Business Week article are

  17. Bill Gates says:

    It was me. Now leave her alone.

  18. Walter says:

    Sara, as I said before…. YOU GO!!! Congrats….

  19. cowboy says:

    Someone explain to me why this is such a big deal. I have never understood why people are so enthralled with Bill G or any other celebrity for that matter. So he has a mountain of money…it’s not like he’s going to whip out his checkbook and write you a big fatty. So why get all fired up if the guy replies to an email of all things. Very strange.

  20. Uh…

    I’ve emailed Bill twice (and gotten responses), emailed Eric and Steve multiple times (and gotten responses)… And I don’t even work at Microsoft (though, maybe knowing this someone will think me Microsoft worthy ;)).

    Congrats and all, I just came here hoping for something more responsive…

    As far as spoofing the response. I’m sure these people dont’ know how the Exchange environment works at Microsoft. It would take quite the feat of hackery for someone to:

    1. Know the email was sent

    2. Be able to respond from a different address (keeping appropriate headers in place)

    3. Not laugh their ass off so hard Sara would hear it if she were in Beijing

    It’s not like this is someone just sending from billg@microsoft.com. It’s receiving and replying as well, a whole other kettle of fish.

    Again, Sara, congrats!

  21. David Totzke says:

    I doubt that the fascination with BillG and STEVE B AT MICROSOFT DOT COM has little to do with their bottom lines. It’s about the contribution they’ve made to the technology that many of us love. Love ’em or hate ’em, they have become icons in the world; and getting an email from an icon; well, that’s just COOL!

  22. RichB says:

    Euphoria! Microsoft is clearly a cult of Koresh’ian proportions.

  23. Ville Mattila says:

    *sigh* I get a lot of replies every day, and not one from bill.

    I get them from important people. Important to me that is.

    bill is not in any way a person, that i’d like to get a mail from.

  24. D says:

    phew, I’m 100% sure that it was just one of the bill’s secretaries…

  25. Naw, I’ve gotten responses from his secretaries before. They’re far more verbose 😉

  26. Anonymous says:

    Michael’s Blog » Bill Gates eine eMail schicken…

  27. Joe says:

    C’mon!

    Do you really think Bill Gates email is billgates@microsoft.com?

    CHISUS!

    IF I had that kind of money in my hands, email would not be my favorite sport….

  28. Xirt says:

    No, I don’t think that, his email address is BILLG AT MICROSOFT DOT COM

    has been for years. Although now it’s filtered by agents and a team of ninja secretary for external email. There are also other internal microsoft aliases that he uses for his main email.

    some of the email was released into the public domain as part of the evidence for the antitrust trials.

  29. genious says:

    hi

    bill how r u

  30. BetsyA says:

    Right on! You go!

  31. Mom and Dad says:

    Your Blogging with the Boss’s Blessings was wonderful and we are very proud of you. We are happy that Bill Gates responded to your e-mail and are very happy for you. Love you

  32. Jeff C says:

    Congratulations Sarah!

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