Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Feature Book Review: Impatient Optimist Bill Gates In His Own Words by Lisa Rogak せっかちな楽観主義 ビル・ビーゲート: ライザ ロガック

This book opened my eyes to the true core drive of any great entrepreneur. I admire anyone like Bill Gates, who felt he had to leave Harvard University, because he saw that time would not wait for his software vision idea to be executed. We now know that it worked out, but what kind of person was Bill Gates in his youth?  If he told you during those early days would you have believed him? Did he make a good case? or was it something that had to be seen in order to really be believed.

I have no negative image of Microsoft being too large a monopoly in the business PC world, and never did. Unlike some of my Apple and Mac friends I never saw the two software rivals in the same way as "the Empire" and "the Rebels" like in the Star Wars films. I leave that pointless fierce rivalry to others. I just want to learn what is in Bill's head, and absorb any key ideas.

Any reader of this book really wants to know if they could have performed the same way, if the timing and opportunity were equal. However, you learn that nobody is equal to Bill Gates, in that he saw a vision that few others did in his time. His mind was already on a path towards a focus that few others really had. It is clear to read from his own words that he did not start on any such visionary path while at Harvard University, but much earlier. 

His vision of the world of technology was established in high school long before university. His mind just first blossomed in Harvard. I no longer can listen to TV reports on the debate over will Bill Gates come back to the firm he founded. He has evolved way beyond a single business like Microsoft. His drive is no longer about profits, but goals for humanity and the future health of humans world-wide.

I seriously doubt that any commentator can really think that Bill Gates would even want to go backand help Microsoft make its numbers again. He is making numbers count with the health of humanity. If his own drive towards the needs of the planet and human health were not so crystal clear, billionaires would not follow in his lead and support him with their personally earned large funds

Players at the top can often read and sense the moves of other similar players, including strengths weaknesses. You read about observations here, and about how they get applied to software or beyond. Timing aside, you learn about one thing that comes out in very black and white. He worked hard or maybe it is better to say, when he coded or learned about coded software he was always hard at work

You never get the sense that money itself ever drove him. His father already gave him all the basics of middle class life so it really remained his life's mission to code software not gather the monetary rewards from it. If there is any surprise in this enlightening compilation of quotes it is that Bill Gates was not a believer in his own software vision from day one. 

He seems to have been torn between seeing what was possible and worried that somebody else or another rival company would share a similar vision and maybe get there first, and block him or his visionary ideas out of the marketplace. Remember that he could imagine a world then dominated by IBM products. However, unlike most, he could see a PC in every office, for every office worker, with everyone using Microsoft software around the globe. It all became a clear reality for many in offices around the world

The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:

1) There is a lot to learn about how difficult it is to code software. Good software really takes a lot of work. Too many users today who use great software now, feel it should be easy to use from the beginning. The very hard work needed to make code all work smoothly, is now less understood today, and less appreciated.

2) The impact of wealth was never a major driver for Bill Gates in his early days. You never get a sense that he was playing any game to be the world's richest person. It all came about as a by-product of his strong drive and innovation instinct.

3) The technology vision of what Bill Gates saw, that became our current reality in offices today, is now full of PCs and laptops. It was a rare and unique vision. Few at the time agreed with this odd high school view of a future business world.

Ordinary people do not have those clear visions or pursue them, but he did, and did so in his teens. I now know a little more about why he acted, and what drove him then and drives him today. This was a worthwhile read, and not just once. Great for any reader about entrepreneurs, it is not just for technology fans. Highly recommended!

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