Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

How Bill Gates Works 424

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the day-in-the-life-of dept.
ZZeta writes "What's a day like for the richest man on Earth? In this Fortune interview, Bill Gates explains what he does on his average workday. Most interesting? He is not into some of Outlook's features, such as to-do lists and email notification. Also, he works with three monitors and is looking forward to buying a digital whiteboard next year." I was interested in how he gets his e-mail filtered. Hey Bill, if you read this, I'll totally put you on my e-mail whitelist!
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Bill Gates Works

Comments Filter:
  • HSW (Score:5, Funny)

    by earthstar (748263) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:51AM (#15075102) Journal
    " How Bill Gates Works "

    Interesting.

    I Guess,How stuff Works should include how such " stuff " works too .

    • Re:HSW (Score:5, Funny)

      by clevershark (130296) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:54AM (#15075122) Homepage
      Bill Gates is supported by a system of veins and arteries that cycle blood throughout his body, as well as a set of lungs which collect oxygen which is then added to the blood...
      • Re:HSW (Score:2, Funny)

        by TERdON (862570)
        Bill Gates is supported by a system of veins and arteries that cycle blood throughout his body, as well as a set of lungs which collect oxygen which is then added to the blood...

        Aren't you forgetting the borg parts of him (just look at the picture at the top of Slashdot)? Those would be the parts that don't work like the rest of us. :)
      • Re:HSW (Score:5, Funny)

        by ozbird (127571) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:34AM (#15075437)
        Bill Gates is supported by a system of veins and arteries that cycle blood throughout his body, as well as a set of lungs which collect oxygen which is then added to the blood...

        No heart? That figures.
    • Not into some of outlook's features...
      The following outlook features have little traction in hte marketplace...
      Also looking forward to buying a digital whiteboard...
      We hope to see customers get interested in digital whiteboards soon...
  • huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clevershark (130296) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:52AM (#15075103) Homepage
    "Also, he works with three monitors and is looking forward to buying a digital whiteboard next year." I can't fathom why the world's richest man would wait for any period of time before buying something, especially if it's something useful!
    • He didn't get rich by writing a lot of cheques...
    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:02AM (#15075183) Journal
      I use a digital whiteboard at work. It's placed on top of a multi-thousand dollar plasma screen and and the whiteboard itself cost thousands also. I think the company that makes it is called Smarttech [smarttech.com]. It's a nice thing but there are many frustration/time consuming aspects of it. If I were a billionaire, I wouldn't want to waste my time fiddling with a whiteboard that--in the end--would give me a little better control over my demos and presentations.

      What I'm trying to say is that I bet he was waiting for this technology to get to a point where maybe the two units came as one and were more sleekly integrated. The maintenance/recalibration of this thing is a pain and there are times when we have customers sitting in front of us and we're trying to present to them but we have to run through some diagnostics.

      Not cool.

      Now imagine those customers were interested in million dollar contracts with you.
    • Re:huh? (Score:2, Informative)

      by aug24 (38229)
      Presumably he doesn't think they are quite there yet. Certainly the ones I've used haven't been good enough (they printed on heat-paper, rather than created vector graphics and emailing the file to me).

      J.
    • Maybe the board is his reward/perk promised for getting Longhorn out of the door ;-)
    • Maybe he's working within Microsoft's yearly budget plan? If Bill sticks with the budget, then he's setting a good example of fiscal responsibility for his subordinates.
    • > I can't fathom why the world's richest man would wait for any period of time before buying something, especially if it's something useful!

      Maybe because that's how he stayed rich in the first place: by not giving in to impulse buying.
    • Re:huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by been42 (160065)
      It sounds more like he just hasn't gotten around to it yet. Probably because he doesn't really need it, it's just something he thinks is neat.

      (Of course, for most normal people, neat gadgets come before life necessities and productivity boosters...)

    • Re:huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HungWeiLo (250320)
      About 10 years ago, I witnessed Bill and his wife in their Lexus sedan (nothing fancy, it was the Camry-derived ES300) at the Burlington factory outlet mall (about 40 miles north of Seattle). They were trying to cram a dorm-sized mini-fridge into their back seat.

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:53AM (#15075111)
    ...err I mean Windows!

    Hey Bill, change your desktop wallpaper, it is looking a bit dated. And wash your hair.

    He says he only gets 100 emails a day, surely we can send him some more to billg@microsoft.com ?

    And Bill, where is your XBOX 360??
  • It should have been titled "How I Work^H^H^H^HUse e-mail: Bill Gates".

    Two things I learned from this.

    1. Mr. Gates is getting old and sad (look at the picture).

    2. He does not have much to say to us.
  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:53AM (#15075115) Homepage Journal
    ... I read an article in which he was quoted saying that he had a small staff that personally goes through his email.

    Alas, I am too lazy to link to such article.
    • Harrison Ford jokingly said on the daily show that he had a small staff that watched porn and reported back to him. Makes you think, what if you were Bill Gates and afflicted with a weird fetish? Phewh. For once I'm glad I'm not Bill Gates.
    • ... I read an article in which he was quoted saying that he had a small staff that personally goes through his email.

      Four million Spam a day - here's the article [guardian.co.uk] for ya, and a quote from it:

      Unlike ordinary people though, Mr Gates doesn't get a sore finger from deleting unwanted missives. The company has a team of people dedicated to ensuring he only gets mail that he wants to read.

      Look's like he'll have to find some other way to make his finger sore :-(

  • TFA (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kangburra (911213) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:53AM (#15075117)
    Today, if there's something up there that's brilliant, I just get out my pen and my Tablet PC and recreate it.

    Wow, like that's really changed? See something good and copy it!
  • Shady guy (Score:5, Funny)

    by AsciiNaut (630729) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:56AM (#15075135)
    Interesting to see him using venetian blinds -- doesn't he like Windows?
  • Schematics? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Novotny (718987)
    I was expecting some sort of poorly commented code
  • Desktop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by otter42 (190544) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:58AM (#15075151) Homepage Journal
    Two things to notice:

    1) His (windows) desktop uses the default XP background. Odd that the world's richest man doesn't change his background picture.

    2) The (real) desktop looks as if it were made out of particle board.

    Maybe Gates is more down to earth than we'd thought?
    • by taxman_10m (41083) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:07AM (#15075216)
      And probably why it is everyone else's default.
    • Re:Desktop (Score:5, Funny)

      by jeillah (147690) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:08AM (#15075226)
      That looks like a studio version of a generic office except for the side by side trio of monitors on the desk. I'll bet they didn't want to show his real office with the big golden throne and all the other good stuff...
    • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Insightful)

      by C_Kode (102755)
      Chances are he doesn't see his background very often. The only time I see mine is on bootup. After that my desktop is littered with apps. I'm sure he minimized his windows so everyone could see he was running WindowsXP. (Just another reason it's the default desktop too is that everyone will recognize it)
    • Re:Desktop (Score:5, Funny)

      by AxminsterLeuven (963108) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:19AM (#15075302)
      1) His (windows) desktop uses the default XP background. Odd that the world's richest man doesn't change his background picture. He probably *did* change his desktop to match his personal preferences. He just changed it on all the computers on the entire world.
    • Maybe Gates is more down to earth than we'd thought?

      The "self-made billionaire" types usually kick it average joe style so that they can stay in touch with their customer's sensibilities.

      I heard a story about Ross Perot when he got involved with GM. Normally, high level executives can get their cars serviced through a premium service station that has parts flown in same day on private jets. Ross insisted on using the normal service stations that regular customers had to deal with so he could get a be

      • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Insightful)

        by smooth wombat (796938)
        I guess using that standard Ingvar Kamprad (founder of IKEA) should be kicked out since he has a 13 year-old Volvo [forbesautos.com], takes the bus and flies economy class.

        If anything Ross should have been congratulated on his foresight to want to improve services. Simply sitting in an ivory tower won't get the job done. Witness what not checking on quality and service has done for GM.

    • 1) His (windows) desktop uses the default XP background. Odd that the world's richest man doesn't change his background picture.

      he probably had a girly picture as his background, but changed it for picture being taken.
    • Re:Desktop (Score:5, Funny)

      by oahazmatt (868057) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:37AM (#15075469) Journal
      1) His (windows) desktop uses the default XP background. Odd that the world's richest man doesn't change his background picture.

      The Administrator probably never gave him enough privelages for that.
    • I figure that is his "Press Office"... he real office is probably far different!
    • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Insightful)

      I have to admit (and this will undoubtedly get me the "TROLL" mod) that I was impressed with what I read. Let's face it, we, and a lot of other people, have beat this man about the head and shoulders for years yet he and MS seem to keep a loyal following. He and his family have donated gazillions of dollars to charity, and most of us, if we're honest, became Linux people after we started on Windows.

      Do I agree with the politics of MS? NO...not in a million years. But demonizing him constantly has lost it
  • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:58AM (#15075153)
    Another digital tool that has had a big effect on my productivity is desktop search.


    I wonder what he uses...*cough*GDS*cough* :)
  • "At Microsoft, e-mail is the medium of choice, more than phone calls, documents, blogs, bulletin boards, or even meetings (voicemails and faxes are actually integrated into our e-mail in-boxes)."

    I thought we already knew that [slashdot.org].

    I also recall reading an article a while ago on here (no, can't find it) that explained how Bill Gates has a staff of people sorting his (e)mail. Now it looks like that is no longer the case?

    Maybe Bill Gates did cure spam but is not telling anyone else how to do it. :)

  • I think the guy from Ikea is now the richest man on earth - BG is #2. Can anyone confirm?
  • Bit too clean... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Winterblink (575267) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:04AM (#15075194) Homepage
    His office looks like mine when I take a picture of it. Beforehand, I'd have gone through and cleaned off the mess of paper, chip bags, and cans though. I'm sure he's got a whole team at Microsoft responsible for sanitizing his office prior to press visits.

    The again, it sounds like all he does is chat on the phone and read/write emails. If that's all I had to do my desk would look like nobody worked there too.
  • If I were Bill Gates I'd enter My Name into my Google News customization search string, just as I do for My Corporation.

    I'm not Bill Gates, nor as famous, so I wouldn't get any hits.

  • by jchawk (127686) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:10AM (#15075235) Homepage Journal
    This was a quick and sort of interesting glimpse into how Bill Gates works but it felt like a pitch for Microsoft Share Point... I thought we were going to get a blow by blow account of Bill Gates from the time he gets out of bed until he goes to bed.

    If I wanted a Share Point Ad, I'd return the calls from my M$ rep. :-P
  • Next year (Score:4, Funny)

    by johansalk (818687) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:11AM (#15075246)
    "Also, he works with three monitors and is looking forward to buying a digital whiteboard next year" - why next year? is he saving up for it?
  • Plot to take over the world.
  • by JollyFinn (267972) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:15AM (#15075273)
    The guy is 100% manager these days. He has some filtering whitch decides whether his assistant will read it or him personally.
    I think thats best for a guy like him. If hed get all emails that where send to him he would spend all time getting unimportant emails, now there is assistant who checks the filter which if there is some email he should get.
    He has triple screens, but those screens aren't the 30" dells.
    He has such huge amount of information to go through and manage that he needs to use some search application to keep it in order.
  • The screen on the left has my list of e-mails. On the center screen is usually the specific e-mail I'm reading and responding to. And my browser is on the right-hand screen.

    I guess the laptop/tablet on the photo at the bottom is the domain of Clippy.....

  • by gd23ka (324741) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:21AM (#15075320) Homepage
    Instead of hearing about all the wonderful "Microsoft Technologies" he uses like a desktop that spans three
    screens I guess the really interesting thing to hear from him is how he gets himself focused and disciplined, what's
    his mental trick here. I know how to work an email client like the next guy but I'm still a miserable, disorganized,
    unfocussed son of a bitch. That "part" of your workday is what is really interesting, Bill.
  • A few thoughts... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gregarican (694358) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:26AM (#15075363) Homepage
    First of all how can the be the richest man in the world's office? Bill Lumberg's office was nicer than that! Geez, cheap basic apartment blinds, a cheesy plant, particle board desk, etc. Maybe that's an attempt to endear him as an average joe.

    Second of all I wonder how much real direction Bill offers Microsoft nowadays. Or he is more of a figurehead? I would think a company with 50,000 employees and lots of entrenched middle/senior level management would be relatively self sustaining. Perhaps Bill just gives generic wish list contributions, like "It sure would be swell if people could collaborate on a project through a hosted website." And the underlings put flesh and bone to the task.

    Third of all if he eats his own cooking, doesn't he get occasionally frustrated with the stability and security shortcomings of Windows? Granted XP is a lot more stable than the Windows 9x/ME branch of their product line, but security is still a concern. Even with SP2 in place. Perhaps his Internet access is going through multiple software firewalls, firewall appliances, etc. so he doesn't get hit by malware.

    Forth, this really isn't a day in the life of Bill Gates, and is (as the article is entitled) how he gets his work done. I want to see him on MTV Cribs or the equivalent. Showing off all of his electronic bling. That would be cooler than this self serving advertisement.
    • by Momoru (837801) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:38AM (#15076618) Homepage Journal
      That has always been the MO for Bill Gates. Even after Microsoft went IPO he still drove around an old ratty Mercedes (and bought a Porsche collection, but that was more for his love of speed then bling). From day one he has made sure all developers have the same size office as him, with the same amount of windows (why Microsoft's original buildings were X's). Bill Gates is competitive, not materialistic. There is a reason he doesn't just quit right now and buy a huge yacht with Paul Allen. He's never seemed to care much about the bling.
  • by MECC (8478) *

    He gets others to work for him. That's why he's rich.

  • by hachete (473378) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:35AM (#15075445) Homepage Journal
    if you do, then you should have sucker stamped permanently across yr forehead. This is an advert for SharePoint and the tablet pc. Period. In the pictures, BG even looks like the typically gormless boss forced to advertise their own products. That they have sunk this low...
  • Snake Plant (Score:2, Informative)

    by genghis_1971 (711867)
    I noticed the snake plant in the background and can only wonder if the name appealed to him. On the other hand a snake plant is a hearty plant that requires little attention and is a wise decision for an office plant. "How many people here have telekinetic powers? Raise my hand."
  • I find it interesting that the CEO realizes the need for multiple workspaces - and so he has three separate monitors.

    However, noone at microsoft feels that consumers need to have virtual desktops.

    It's 2006 and Windows still ships with the poorest of window managers, and no support for multiple virtual desktops.

  • he is looking forward to buying a digital whiteboard next year.

    What, it wouldn't fit in this year's budget?

  • Anyone have any idea what Steve Jobs' office / work environment's like? I imagine that'd be more interesting. Bill Gates' is extremely spartan.
  • by jcostantino (585892) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:58AM (#15075641) Homepage
    Self aggrandize much, Bill Gates? Holy shit! The article could have been summed up as, "Be organized, email is good, collaboration is good."

Only great masters of style can succeed in being obtuse. -- Oscar Wilde Most UNIX programmers are great masters of style. -- The Unnamed Usenetter

Working...