Saturday, February 05, 2005

Bill Gates: Genius?

It's a slow connection day today, so I'll write instead of read. What's with this legend that states that Bill Gates is some kind of genius? I know that he's disgustingly rich — so he obviously has some business savvy — but to hear him talk...

Last week he was being interviewed on the BBC's Click Online. The questions were the usual ones you hear when someone is interviewing the world's richest dweeb; only slightly challenging so you'll stay on the list. You know the drill. What struck me was that I'd seen Bill Gates interviews before — dozens of them over decades, and nothing about what he has to say has changed at all.

He doesn't really answer questions at all; he has a set of about ten statements that he's learned by rote. When he's asked a question he chooses one of the statements as a reply. When it's a question he's never heard before: he looks slightly pissed off, pouts, then he once again chooses one of the ten statements as a reply.

The statements go along the lines of: "I'm glad you asked me that. At Microsoft we're having a lot of fun coming up with new ways to satisfy the changing needs of our customers, and it's a really exciting time we're living in right now — blah blah blah..."

Does he ever say anything that makes you sit up straight? Anything that makes you think, or cringe, or laugh; or even just say, "Ah hah!"

Steve Jobs is a natural. Larry Ellison is a loose cannon. Both of them are obviously bright sparks. I don't see any sparks coming from Bill Gates; to me, he's more in the mold of George W. Bush — a heavily coached buffoon. Only pure power drives his mystique, and celebrity. So what's the origin of that power. Is that power the result of genius, or the wildest stroke of luck...


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