Last week Bill G gave a talk at Stanford. He talked about the rise of the PC, how today there are over 1 Billion PCs in use, about Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential group and its goal of bringing the power of the PC to the next 2 billion people by making PCs more easily available to poor people in developing nations.
- Creating a hybrid form of sustainable businesses such as micro-finance that contribute to both creating profits for a company but also contribute to the social bottom-line by empowering the poor. The hope is that we can find new ways to innovate and new ways to create for-profit companies that also help improve lives.
- Innovation will accelerate on the foundation of better communication & collaboration – being able to model an airplane digitally means not only that you can email it around and improve communication, but you can understand the nature of the product more deeply with data-driven modelling and statistical analysis, and all this together can reduce product development cycles, and thus speed up innovation across all industries.
- Announced our new package where students can download all of Microsoft’s developer tools for free. It’s called DreamSpark. Also gave a very interesting talk in general.
Overall, it’s still interesting to hear him speak. A lot of what he says sounds familar after having heard him speak quite a few times over the past 18 months, but the one impression I continuously come away with is that here is someone who has tasked themselves with taking a long-term view of the software industry. He has, in a very analytical way, freed himself up to learn from the brightest people and put his mental energy towards identifying and solving big problems. Which is fantastic, and probably also the skill that has kept interest in what he has to say so strong, even as a new generation of internet visoinaries have emerged like Larry & Sergey, Marc Benioff, and Mark Zuckerberg. At CES I pridefully noted that someone referred to Bill Gates as “our pope” and his keynote as one of the mainstays of the event. It will be interesting to see how things change as Ray Ozzie takes over. Ray Ozzie is actually the one being credited for Microsoft’s opening-up and embracing of Open Source. However, I’ve also heard that Ray Ozzie doesn’t like to speak meaning that even if he is a fantastic visionary, he’ll never be able to communicate it, and communicating it is an essential part of both aligning the company behind it and also in Public Relations. One response to this that I’ve heard is that Ray Ozzie simply doesn’t want to step on Bill’s visionary toes, preferring to wait till Bill is completely part-time at Microsoft, which will happen this summer. I hope that’s the case. Because Microsoft needs a visionary leader.