So the vision of Microsoft is pretty simple. It changed a couple years ago. For the first 25 years of the company, it was a personal computer on every desk and in every home. And it was a very good vision; very rare for a company to be able to stick with something like that for 25 years. The reason we changed it was simply that it became acceptable. It wasn’t wild. It wasn’t this big claim, where people would say, "Are you kidding?" You know, they would kind of say, "Of course. What’s next? Is it some other company that’s going to drive the next revolution here?"
- William Henry Gates III, keynote address the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-2001)
Planning this kind of strategy was relatively easy. The hard part (for me, anyway) was accepting what my own role had to be.
One thing I understood from the beginning is that the press almost completely tunes out abstractions. They won't write about ideas without larger-than-life personalities fronting them. Everything has to be story, drama, conflict, sound bites. Otherwise most reporters will simply go to sleep--and if they don't, their editors will... We needed a firebrand, a spin doctor, a propagandist, an ambassador, an evangelist--somebody who could dance and sing and shout from the housetops and seduce reporters and huggermug with CEOs and bang the media machine until its contrary gears ground out the message: The revolution is here!
- Eric S. Raymond, Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution (1999), edited by Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman, Mark Stone
The revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them.
- Mao Zedong (1893 - 1976), Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong (毛主席语录 Pinyin: Máo Zhǔxí Yǔlù), aka "The Little Red Book" (1966), Chapter 8: "The People's War"
What say you?
- Gates's keynote address the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-2001), two conferences ago
- A 2002 talk by Gates
- An interview Gates gave on CBS two years ago
On a more humorous note: some of Gates's gaffes.