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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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  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • by johansalk ( 818687 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:19AM (#15075303)
    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.
  • 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.
  • Re:Is he watching? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by General_Crespin ( 840569 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:28AM (#15075374) Homepage

    The whiteboards in some Microsoft offices have the ability to capture an image and send it up to the computer, almost like a huge Tablet PC. I don't have that right now, but probably I'll get a digital whiteboard in the next year.

    He doesn't say anything about SAVING up to get one.
  • by roubles ( 716740 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @09:41AM (#15075514)
    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.

  • Re:huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by been42 ( 160065 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:00AM (#15075658) Homepage
    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:Failures (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:16AM (#15075777)
    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.

    No he doesn't. It runs 85% of desktop computers. It runs on a very small percent of embedded computers (the largest market).
  • Re:Failures (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gonarat ( 177568 ) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:21AM (#15075804)

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

    From what I have heard/read about Bill Gates in the past, his office is about what I would expect. Gates doesn't seem to be the type of person who would have an "Emperor Palpatine" type office, at least for everyday use. He may have a show office for meeting "important people", but somehow I doubt he even has that. It doesn't suprise me that he uses a 3 screen set up -- I use two screens at work, and wouldn't want to go back to one.

    Personal feeling about how big Microsoft is and how much of a monopoly it has aside, it seems that Bill Gates is the type of person who still has fun and likes to do and build new things, all while dominating in whatever it is he does. That said, I think Microsoft is a little (okay, a lot) too big and powerful, so that is why I use Open Source software as much as possible.

  • by woodlouse_man ( 903301 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:32AM (#15075878)
    We had a digital whiteboard here at the company I work for. It has tracking implants in the back of the pens to capture the output to a computer.

    The amusing thing is that no-one ever used it as a digital whiteboard - it just got used as a normal one for ages, with people not bothering to capture stuff.

    The best bit was eventually people started writing stuff on flip charts and then sticking them to the whiteboard with stickier and sticker bits of masking tape. Eventually the board had so much tape on it, that it could never get used for what it was originally intended

    So from an expensive digital whiteboard to a normal whiteboard to an expensive pinboard - genius.

  • Re:huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HungWeiLo ( 250320 ) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:27AM (#15076477)
    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.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.