Things You Want To Tell Bill Gates

Yes, you ask for money (nice try), but also for better patching, MCP support and for the Microsoft founder to keep on keeping on.

Among the extra questions we snuck in at the end of our “Reader’s Choice” product survey a few months ago was this one: “If you could say one thing to Bill Gates, what would it be?” Of the 934 responses we received, these 10 are worth passing along to you and Mr. Gates. (Due to the nature of the survey, we promised to keep responses anonymous.)

10 Stop the Madness
• Set a product and feature deadline and STICK TO IT. Slipped deadlines and dropped features are awful for your own PR and for our planning. (See “Microsoft Math”)
• Stop rolling out new PC operating systems. Only issue new OSes every five years. Give us a chance to catch up and standardize.

9 Windows Lite
• Try shipping a stripped-down version of Windows Server that only has the essential functions so it will be robust and easy to maintain. Let the users decide what functions to add to the server.
• Why are you giving Asia and other European countries a “lite” version of Windows XP and not making it available in the United States? Some of us would really like a stripped down version of XP that would make controlling security much easier.

8 Thanks, Bill
• Thank you for my career! Keep moving forward and I will be learning right along with your changes!

7 Take Care of MCPs
• Take better care of your Microsoft Certified Professionals. We’re the ones who keep evangelizing your products.
• MCSEs should receive one free (or modestly priced) copy of all Microsoft business software. This would help us learn the new software and be frontline salespeople, as well as reward us for our certifications.

6 Peace on Earth
• The rest of the IT industry is neither a target nor an enemy. Work together for the benefit of us all. You’ll still grow richer and the world will be more harmonious.
• Try to direct Microsoft to function as a community. Let other developers write software without prosecuting them for royalties because they had an idea that was similar to something thought of by someone in your company.

5 Patch a Mile in My Shoes
• Try being an IT manager for another company for a week. Live the IT budgets, the integration pains and heterogenous environments. I think Microsoft lives in a utopian world with its cash reserves, internal developers and unlimited software licensing.
• Are you coming out to my company to help me install the latest 10 patches on my 25,000 workstations? Come on. You’ve got the jet.

I Want Money (That's What I Want)

Probably the lamest thing you could ask Bill Gates for is money, yet 43 respondents—4.6 percent—did just that. At least these four were somewhat creative in their requests.

  • Can I have one minute of your time? And can you give me what you earned in that minute?
  • Nice job. Can I borrow that gold card for a day or two?
  • Where’s that 50 bucks I loaned you? (I’m serious ...)
  • Can I have an island?

Another 36 respondents, 3.85 percent, asked for a job, two of them with the Bill and Melinda Foundation, and nine—nearly 1 percent—asked Gates to adopt them. One combined the two, saying, “Will you adopt me or at least give me a job?”

4 Food for Thought
• What do you think would be different today if you had based your original products on Unix instead of DOS?

3 Gracious Invitations
• I invite you to College Station, Texas. I will take you to dinner at FreeBirds, known for its world-famous burritos.
• Let’s go fishing.
• Let’s ride to Daytona Beach Bikeweek, or Sturgis, or anywhere—to hell with work.

2 Continue To Persevere
• Never quit. Let them pry the mouse out of your cold, dead hand.

1 An Inspiration
• I appreciate Mr. Gates not for his present or past, but for his future. His plans to donate most of his earnings to charity are noble and inspiring.

About the Author

Paul Desmond, the founding editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine, is president of the IT publishing firm PDEdit in Southborough, Mass. Reach him at [email protected].


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