Here are ten of my favorite Gates quotations:
o Our vision for the last 20 years [i.e. since 1975] can be summarized in a succinct way. We saw that exponential improvements in computer capabilities would make great software quite valuable. Our response was to build an organization to deliver the best software products. In the next 20 years the improvements in computer power will be out paced by the exponential improvements in communication networks…The Internet is a tidal wave. It changes the rules. It is an incredible opportunity as well as an incredible challenge.
o Your most unhappy customers are your single greatest source of learning.
o We look for opportunities with network externalities — where there are advantages to the vast majority of consumers to share a common standard…The key to our business is building annuities, by tapping into the broad revenue streams that will reply on our software expertise.
o Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.
o Microsoft is the company that has worked with independent software developers more than any other company…Why did we beat other operating systems? Because we worked with independent software companies to get them to write applications.
o It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.
o Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.
o This is a fantastic time to be entering the business world, because business is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50.
o The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.
o Smart? It’s an elusive concept. There’s a certain sharpness, an ability to absorb new facts. To walk into a situation, have something explained to you and immediately say, “Well, what about this?” To ask an insightful question. To absorb it in real time. A capacity to remember. To relate to domains that may not seem connected at first. A certain creativity that allows people to be effective.
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