Lines that stood out for me from Bill Gates’ remarks at Harvard:
I remember going to Davos some years back and sitting on a global health panel that was discussing ways to save millions of lives. Millions! Think of the thrill of saving just one person’s life – then multiply that by millions. … Yet this was the most boring panel I’ve ever been on – ever. So boring even I couldn’t bear it.
What made that experience especially striking was that I had just come from an event where we were introducing version 13 of some piece of software, and we had people jumping and shouting with excitement. I love getting people excited about software – but why can’t we generate even more excitement for saving lives?
He spoke about issues close to his heart, but he started off with a couple of jokes, which is always a nice way to start, and made me think, again (( Remember AllThingsD and the “I am not Fake Steve Jobs” remark, again, right at the start? Either this guy is good or well tutored :p Ya ya, once a Microsoft cynic, always a cynic. )), not bad, this guy has a sense of humor (( There’s no such thing as a good sense of humor or bad sense of humor. You either have a sense of humor, or you don’t. )).
I want to thank Harvard for this timely honor. I’ll be changing my job next year … and it will be nice to finally have a college degree on my resume.
I applaud the graduates today for taking a much more direct route to your degrees. For my part, I’m just happy that the Crimson has called me “Harvard’s most successful dropout.” I guess that makes me valedictorian of my own special class … I did the best of everyone who failed.
But I also want to be recognized as the guy who got Steve Ballmer to drop out of business school. I’m a bad influence. That’s why I was invited to speak at your graduation. If I had spoken at your orientation, fewer of you might be here today.
And this little gem:
Radcliffe was a great place to live. There were more women up there, and most of the guys were science-math types. That combination offered me the best odds, if you know what I mean. This is where I learned the sad lesson that improving your odds doesn’t guarantee success.
Keep up all the good work Bill, the world appreciates it. Needless to say, I am talking about all non-technical projects.