Heading to the BBC

I'll be on the BBC in a little more than an hour as part of its "NewsNight" show. What are we talking about? Bill Gates.

What am I going to say? He's the smartest guy I've ever met. Read Joel Spolsky's "BillG review" meeting notes to get a little insight.

I've had two meetings with him in addition to the Channel 9 interview we did and that lunch that Arrington attended (I interviewed him once before I was an employee too).

In the meetings I observed how he dealt with things. First, he took lots of notes. Second, he figured out where we hadn't done our homework quicker than anyone else I'd ever known. Third, he asked more questions in a shorter amount of time (one meeting was scheduled to last 30 minutes, but went an hour-and-a-half, the other was scheduled for six minutes and I think it went to seven) than I've ever been asked in my life.

Some things I told him were repeated by him on stage word-for-word months later.

He is an extraordinary person. I doubt I'll ever meet someone like him again.

His attention to detail prepared me for the rest of my life. Last night we were presenting to a group of VC's and CTOs and CEOs and we were getting the same kind of treatment, but I noticed that there were 60 people in the room last night. I then understood why Microsoft often went up against the best in the industry and won.

Anyway, enough BS. If Bill were here he'd have called "bull" on me by the fourth sentence. My few minutes spent with him will always be among my most treasured memories. 

There are tons of other stories about Bill Gates over on TechMeme today.

168 thoughts on “Heading to the BBC

  1. Elvis: I’m not an exec.

    My three meetings were not staged.

    It doesn’t matter anyway. It’s over now. Next!

    But, if any Microsoft employee wants to get into that position, I’d recommend putting their cell phone number on their blog. In reality that’s why I got invited.

  2. Elvis: I’m not an exec.

    My three meetings were not staged.

    It doesn’t matter anyway. It’s over now. Next!

    But, if any Microsoft employee wants to get into that position, I’d recommend putting their cell phone number on their blog. In reality that’s why I got invited.

  3. @63. Where did I suggest they get an exec? You’re not exec, right? I simply suggested they could have found someone with more insight on Bill Gates and more experience at Microsoft than a regular employee with 3 years tenure and having only had 3 staged meetings with Gates, that’s all. I gotta believe there was someone in the UK with even much more insight on Gates than you have. And someone more in tune with the BEEB’s audience as well. Didn’t have to be an exec. And for that matter you are still an employee, right? So you can still break into jail just as easily as any other MS employee/exec. I’m not sure the US laws make that fine a distinction.

  4. @63. Where did I suggest they get an exec? You’re not exec, right? I simply suggested they could have found someone with more insight on Bill Gates and more experience at Microsoft than a regular employee with 3 years tenure and having only had 3 staged meetings with Gates, that’s all. I gotta believe there was someone in the UK with even much more insight on Gates than you have. And someone more in tune with the BEEB’s audience as well. Didn’t have to be an exec. And for that matter you are still an employee, right? So you can still break into jail just as easily as any other MS employee/exec. I’m not sure the US laws make that fine a distinction.

  5. >The BEEB wanted someone with insight on Gates so they chose a blogger that is leaving the company?

    I assume I was picked because I interviewed more than 700 Microsoft employees internally and knew the management team around Gates (I interviewed Gates’ Technical Assistant on Tuesday, for instance).

    But, really, it’s hard to get people to agree to come on camera. The chances you’ll “break into jail” are quite high in such a situation, particularly when they are asking questions about Microsoft’s monopoly status. So, most execs will turn down those kinds of interview requests.

  6. >The BEEB wanted someone with insight on Gates so they chose a blogger that is leaving the company?

    I assume I was picked because I interviewed more than 700 Microsoft employees internally and knew the management team around Gates (I interviewed Gates’ Technical Assistant on Tuesday, for instance).

    But, really, it’s hard to get people to agree to come on camera. The chances you’ll “break into jail” are quite high in such a situation, particularly when they are asking questions about Microsoft’s monopoly status. So, most execs will turn down those kinds of interview requests.

  7. Re: Daz. As usual, Robert’s harshest criticism comes from a non-blogger. They can dish it out but don’t feel the need to take it themselves. Makes me sick.

    I thought you did fine, Robert. Rock on.

  8. Re: Daz. As usual, Robert’s harshest criticism comes from a non-blogger. They can dish it out but don’t feel the need to take it themselves. Makes me sick.

    I thought you did fine, Robert. Rock on.

  9. Yeah, no ego, just the facts to make an informed decision, a good listener. Sorry I missed your appearance on TV, would have watched if I had known as I’ve been following your blog lately but to little time, work has cut in to my private life quite a bit – seems to have a habit of doing that. Mick http://rockwatching.wordpress.com

  10. Yeah, no ego, just the facts to make an informed decision, a good listener. Sorry I missed your appearance on TV, would have watched if I had known as I’ve been following your blog lately but to little time, work has cut in to my private life quite a bit – seems to have a habit of doing that. Mick http://rockwatching.wordpress.com

  11. I didn’t get to see the interview the first time around and managed to screw up my TiVo settings so I didn’t record it, either. Too bad, because it sounds like it was an interesting show!

  12. I didn’t get to see the interview the first time around and managed to screw up my TiVo settings so I didn’t record it, either. Too bad, because it sounds like it was an interesting show!

  13. I can’t wait for you to leave MS and become part of the real world again. I would love to see how you blog on MS affairs in the years to come.

    Seriously.

  14. I can’t wait for you to leave MS and become part of the real world again. I would love to see how you blog on MS affairs in the years to come.

    Seriously.

  15. @47. I don’t think Daz was asking for a PR hack. The BEEB wanted someone with insight on Gates so they chose a blogger that is leaving the company? And a blogger that by his own admission has only had 3 meetings with Gates in his 3 years at MS. And all of those scheduled? Are you telling me that of the 60,000 people employed at MS that a more knowledable and experienced person, someone that had had more than 3 meetings with Gates and more than 3 years experience at Microsoft couldn’t have been found?. I’m not blaming Scoble. From what I can tell he would sell his soul for such publicity. I just don’t find it credible that Scoble is the most insightful or knowledgable person they could have found.

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