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How Bill Gates Works 424

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!
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How Bill Gates Works

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  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:53AM (#15075114) Homepage Journal
    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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:54AM (#15075121)
    Evidently "How Bill Works" is some sort of code for "Hey, here's a commercial for Office, MS desktop search and tablet PC."
  • 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?
  • Mod parent down... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by EvilCabbage ( 589836 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:10AM (#15075241) Homepage
    That comment is presented way out of context. He's clearly referring to his 'old fashioned' whiteboard and copying the information from it to his tablet manually.
  • by speeDDemon (nw) ( 643987 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:12AM (#15075258) Homepage
    Because they format and re-install so often!
  • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C_Kode ( 102755 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:16AM (#15075286) Journal
    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:Next year? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by phil-trick ( 24853 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:24AM (#15075341) Journal
    I think you might call it restraint.

    Just because you can afford to buy it, does not mean you have to buy it.

  • 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.
  • Re:Failures (Score:2, Insightful)

    by archen ( 447353 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:29AM (#15075376)
    I'd like to say that I don't like MS nor bill gates, however looking at what bill gates actually does is an interesting thing. I mean here's the guy who is more or less in charge of the software running on about 85% of the world's computers. How do you sort through information, organize yourself and get things done? Bill Gates uses outlook, and unlike the REST of the world, he runs the company that actually makes the software.

    Aside from his three screens, his office looks REALLY unimpressive.

    But the overall tone of what he talks about is what I already came to understand when I went to a few MS tech seminars years back. MS does eat its own dogfood, and that is something to take notice of. The company also forces its employees to actually use its software properly, and it is also properly maintained, and deployed. So in essance it's similar to what you say - some IT guy will fix it.

    I mean out of all the smaller businesses I deal with I can't see ANY of them actually doing anything with sharepoint aside from wasting money. And that's assuming that it was installed properly - which often it's not. It's nice that the company (and bill gates) that understands the software and what it was intended to do uses it properly, but how well it works for everyone else... hard to say.
  • Re:Desktop search (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maotx ( 765127 ) <> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:43AM (#15075526)
    I wonder what he uses...*cough*GDS*cough* :)

    Or perhaps he is using [] his own software?
  • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:44AM (#15075530) Journal
    I guess using that standard Ingvar Kamprad (founder of IKEA) should be kicked out since he has a 13 year-old Volvo [], 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.

  • 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."
  • Re:huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by miro f ( 944325 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:52AM (#15076064)
    look at it from the other side

    how can you become the worlds richest man when you don't wait any period of time before buying something
  • Re:TFA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tdemark ( 512406 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:59AM (#15076136) Homepage
    Today, if there's something up there that's brilliant, I just get out my pen and my Tablet PC and recreate it.

    If this isn't an example of what is wrong with "the Microsoft Way", I don't know is.

    Problem: I need to make a copy of something on a white board.

    Microsoft Solution: Get a PC tablet and redraw by hand.
    Analysis: Yes it works, but is complicated and expensive. You need an expensive piece of niche computing hardware, spend significant time to copy, and end up with a "lossy" version.

    Alternate Solution: Use an inexpensive digital camera (5 - 7 MP).
    Analysis: Simple, fast, and significantly less lossy.
  • by xodiak ( 95699 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:05AM (#15076209)
    Bill Gates does not have to prove to anybody that he is rich, it is a well known fact. There is a local country club here where a poor person has a net worth of $12,000,000USD (it's basically the minimum liquidity required to be permitted to live there).

    If you valet at one of these events you won't park anything that costs less than $200,000. Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, etc.

    Bill Gates pulls up in an Oldsmobile Bravada.

    Personally, I believe he is still a geek, and he loves to rub in the fact that the people there are some of the richest in the world, yet they can't even hold a candle to his fortune. Part of being a little against the grain and not conforming to the norm of the extremely rich.
  • 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.
  • Re:Desktop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PenguinBoyDave ( 806137 ) <> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:43AM (#15076666)
    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 its luster for me. I do think he's fairly down to earth, given the numbers of eyes just waiting for him or MS to screw up.

    Now...back to my Firefiox and StarOffice...
  • Re:The translation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:55AM (#15076818) Homepage
    Maybe he just doesn't want to deal with the hassle of a new piece of equipment right now?

    Hell, I know I've turned down upgrades in the past for that reason. It's nota matter of money or marketing, it's just convenience.

  • by jaaronc ( 935420 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:29PM (#15077157)
    And what does that say about the future of Linux? If these people knew enough to run linux, they would certainly be able to keep malware off their WinXP machine...
  • by fief ( 12961 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:08PM (#15078732)
    Third of all if he eats his own cooking, doesn't he get occasionally frustrated with the stability and security shortcomings of Windows?

    I don't know what you do with your machine, but I have never had real issues with viruses or malware on my XP machines. Nor do I have much issue with these things on the machines I manage at work. It isn't that hard to setup an XP machine properly. And the defaults aren't that bad so long as you have a firewall between the machine and the internet (even a simple nat device seems to be enough), you keep your software uptodate, you don't use IE, and you don't go installing and running random crap off the internet.

    And as for stability, I turn off my machines for the desire of having them off before I usually need to reboot them. In the past four years of extensive use of XP on my desktop and at work, I have seen maybe a half dozen blue screens.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972