Sunday, 16 June 2013

Bill Gates: The Quintessential Humanitarian

As anyone who knows me, I've been an Apple fanboy and even on my blog, I've often written and referred to the legacy of Steve Jobs.  The man was no doubt brilliant and the comparison has often been made between Jobs and Bill Gates.

The more time I've spent thinking about it though, my respect for Gates has grown.  Steve Jobs may have re-invented Apple and made us re-think how businesses work but Bill Gates was a revolutionary in that he brought personal computing mainstream before deciding he wanted to do more by making the world a better place for generations more.
Bill and Melinda Gates

Back in May of this year, I was watching Bill Gates interview on 60 Minutes with Charlie Rose where Gates spoke with humility about what he was doing to help those in need.  Gates, together with his wife Melinda have worked tirelessly to focus on issues like poverty, healthcare in lesser developed countries and education (watch is TED talk on education also from May of this year).  With all the resources at his fingertips though, Gates has remained fairly hands on in his quest to change the world.

Even the letter Bill and Melinda Gates on their foundation's website acknowledges the entrepreneurial flair they've instilled in their foundation.  They start by saying "Our friend and co-trustee Warren Buffett once gave us some great advice about philanthropy: “Don’t just go for safe projects,” he said. “Take on the really tough problems.”"

They continue on by saying " Some of the projects we fund will fail. We not only accept that, we expect it—because we think an essential role of philanthropy is to make bets on promising solutions that governments and businesses can’t afford to make. As we learn which bets pay off, we have to adjust our strategies and share the results so everyone can benefit."

If Gates succeeds in his mission of eradicating malaria and polio by ensuring the world's poorest have  access to proper sanitation facilities, he would have done more for humanity than could have ever been envisioned when he was dropping out of Harvard to co-found Microsoft.

I'm not saying that everyone can expect to do what Bill Gates has done in his lifetime but if you do wake up tomorrow wondering what you can do in your life, I hope you will take away a nugget of inspiration from what Bill Gates has set out to do.