Lessons From Bill Gates


I just finished watching the BBC documentary on Bill Gates which chronicled his 30 odd years at Microsoft and the fact he’s stepping down next week. Overall it was enjoyable but I wish it’d been much longer - not least as the many demos I recorded for the show may have got included - but mainly because an hour just doesn’t do his story justice. Fortunately the BBC has put some great additional footage on the web.

Bill talks about buying a Porsche, chasing girls and the early days of the company. You get much more of an insight to the man in the Gates From The Beginning Video. A few other videos they have up there

[update] a source who really would know just pointed me to http://www.snopes.com/language/document/liferule.asp which confirms that the speech and list below are both urban legends. Bill never gave them! I still like #11 though 🙂

Finally, I loved the post Katie just published on a speech Bill recently gave at a High School about 11 things kids will not learn in school


Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 :
The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 :
You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 :
If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 :
Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6 :
If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault; so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 :
  Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8 :
Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 :
Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time..

Rule 10:
Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11:
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.


btw, congrats to my friend Annemarie who made it in to the show. chuffed for her as I know how hard she worked to make Bill last visit to the UK a big success. hopefully she’s sat at home with a V&C right now!

Comments (6)

  1. Great lessons, so simple, but so true. Now we know why he get there, at that place. Some are pros, some are cons, but the fact is that : Microsoft success and B. Gates handles to do it.

  2. Sharon says:

    I remember seeing a very similar list a couple of years ago with the same claim (a speech given to a class at high school). It was rumoured to be a spoof… would be good to know the source. Doesn’t change the fact the advice is oh so funny and not at all untrue 🙂

  3. Tony C says:

    Was it just me or did Mitch Kapor seem really bitter?

  4. stevecla01 says:

    agreed TC – Kapor just came across as sour grapes to me. Cringely was pretty similar IMHO and his suggestion that Bill is doing his philanthropy to gain a Nobel Peace Prize was just crass. Shame as I previsouly enjoyed some of his stuff.

  5. Sharon says:

    Confirmed – the list appears to be a spoof and nothing to do with BillG. See here: http://www.snopes.com/language/document/liferule.asp

    … also agree with TC, I’d add a bit of twisted in there too 🙂 Lotus 1-2-3 got me into IT in the first place, so a bit rich for him to suggest we wouldn’t need consultants if it weren’t for Windows. Muppet. Cringely seemed to be doing classic journalism, throw a controversial bone regarding a possibility and claim to be correct if/when it happens, even if there is no link between the possibility and the bone.

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