Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday 13: 13 quotes from Bill Gates

So I saw this book of Bill Gates quotes (Impatient Optimist) at Costco last weekend and picked it up on a whim. I like quotes, I like technology, I can't say I "like" Bill Gates but I certainly don't think he's the anti-Christ (I have a few friends--one who shall remain nameless, in particular--who have thought so).

I thought I'd share 13 quotes from the book with you today:

[Melinda] and I enjoy sharing ideas and talking about what we are learning. When one of us is being very optimistic, the other takes on the role of making sure we're thinking through all the tough issues.
-Working Together: What Great Partnerships Succeed, 2010

I don't have an iPod. A phone is a nice portable device to have your music on. Maybe some other people will think so too in the future.
-The Big Idea, CNBC, May 8, 2006

If you had asked me at any point how big Microsoft could be, Paul [Allen] and I once thought we could write all the software in the world with 100 people. If you had told us that someday we would have more than 5,000 people writing software, we would have shaken our heads.
-CNNMoney/Fortune, Oct. 2, 1995

If a kid is addicted to a personal computer, I think that's far better than watching TV, because at least his mind is making choices.
-Programmers at Work, 1986

I came to be the leader of the antisocial group [at Harvard]. We clung to each other as a way of validating our rejection of all those social people.
-Commencement address, Harvard University, June 7, 2007

People's perception of the importance of my role is certainly greater than the reality.
-Newsweek, Dec. 1, 1996

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
-Business @ the Speed of Thought, 1999

I've always been hardcore about looking at what we did wrong. We're not known for reflecting back on the things that went well. We can be pretty brutal about the parts that didn't do well.
-Masters of Enterprise, 1999

[One] way that running a foundation is not like running a business is that you don't have customers who beat you up when you get things wrong or competitors who work to take those customers away from you. You don't have a stock price that goes up and down to tell you how you're doing. This lack of natural feedback loop means that we as a foundation have to be even more careful in picking our goals and being honest with ourselves when we are not achieving them.
-Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Letter, 2009

The world is getting better, but it's not getting better fast enough, and it's not getting better for everyone.
-Creative Capitalism, 2008

When your own government sues you, it's not a pleasant experience. I wasn't sitting there going, "ha, ha, ha, I'll do what I want." I was thinking this is the worst thing that's ever happened to me.
-ZD Net, Jan. 28, 1998

I devote maybe ten percent to business thinking. Business isn't that complicated. I wouldn't want to put it on my business card. [I'm a] scientist. Unless I've been fooling myself. When I read about great scientists like, say, Crick and Watson and how they discovered DNA, I get a lot of pleasure. Stories of business success don't interest me in the same way. Say you added two years to my life and let me go to business school. I don't think I would have done a better job at Microsoft.
-Playboy, July 1994

It's unusual to have so much luck in one life, I think. But it's been a major factor in what I have been able to do.
-CNBC Town Hall Event, Columbia University, Nov. 12, 2009

I could keep going, but these represent a few of the highlights in terms of his work (both at Microsoft and their foundation) and he's perspective on everything from the antitrust case to general business philosophy.

Any favorites of the bunch? Let me know! Of course, if you know of another Bill Gates quote I haven't included that you think is particularly well-said, I'd love to hear it.

Happy Thursday, and check out other Thursday 13 participants here.


  1. I love, "The world is getting better, but it's not getting better fast enough, and its not getting better for everyone." Too true...

  2. I like the quote about the kid addicted to his computer. Thanks.

  3. I actually like the first quote shows a great marriage at work :-)

  4. I like the the 2008 Creative Capitalism (what an oymoron). Good list.

  5. Gates is #1 I hear and he gives half of his earnings to charity!

    Have a great rest of your day!

  6. I like the quote about unhappy customers being the best source of learning. True in all of life if we let it be.

  7. I might steal some of these. Thanks for sharing.

  8. What an inspiration to read the whole list... it makes me want to get the book!

    There is no doubt that Melinda had a positive influence on Bill... and likely visa versa.

    Thanks for sharing, Sher.

  9. I'm an Apple gal through and through, but Gates and his charitable work has my heart.

  10. I like reading about this man. Bill Gates quotes are quite inspiring and motivational, with a hint of humor and fact. I like him being so straightforward with a little hint of sarcasm. Thanks for sharing his words of wisdom.

    1. Glad you enjoyed, Faith. I find him pretty inspirational at times, myself.

      Thanks for coming by!


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