I’m going to be out of town tomorrow, so I won’t be able to post this on Bill’s last full time day at Microsoft, but I wanted to post a couple of anecdotes about Bill.
This one actually comes from Valorie, it was her first interaction with Bill…
Valorie was an intern back during the summer of 1985 in the Word group (she was working on testing Word for the ATT 3B5 minicomputer (yeah, we had a version of Word for Xenix machines back then)).
She was late at work one night and she noticed this madman skipping down the hall leaping at the ceiling tiles trying to tip them out of their frames. She thought this was weird, but back in those days all sorts of strange things happened. Employees used to have softball games in the hall (which were eventually stopped when someone accidentally smashed a relight with a bat), the Windows team used to climb onto the roof of the building and have impromptu jam sessions on the roof of the building. Stuff like that happened fairly regularly, so a crazy man running down the hall swatting at the ceiling wasn’t a big deal.
She asked Libby, the person in the office next to her who the madman was and Libby replied: “Oh, that’s just my brother.”
Valorie chalked it up to nepotism – over the years were a lot of siblings working at Microsoft (just off the top of my head, I can think of at least 4 pairs of siblings working there at the time), so she thought nothing of it.
Until a couple of days later when she noticed that her neighbors nameplate said:
Valorie had several more interactions with Bill when she worked with Nathan Myhrvold, but this one was by far the most memorable. I absolutely love the image of Bill Gates, skipping down the hall swatting at the ceiling, it’s SO different from the stereotypical image people have of Bill.
I have a couple of other BillG stories I want to tell, but they’ll have to wait until I come back next week.
Is it that different? It sounds just like the sort of thing monomaniacal programmers do when they get the urge.
Alright, so maybe that should read "the stereotypical image non-Microsoft developers have of Bill". Some still think he wrote Windows himself...
Great post - looking forward to the others.
I have a BillG Story...
I have the fortunate or unfortunate (depending on ones perspective) of having my name listed next to BillGs in the Microsoft GAL. Needles to say over the years I've missed out on a few emails because they were sent to the other BillG. :)
But, that isn't my story. In 1998 when Microsoft released Office 98, my sister who worked for HP at the time was working on a presentation. One of the issues with 98 was the location you installed it from was the location it tried to download and install additional features. Well, for my sister I guess this hung her computer, After rebooting, she sent me a scathing email. Ripping me and Microsoft about our #$% @^&#, @^#$$(@& software...although she did not edit her words.
Several years went by and at a family gathering we were talking when the topic of MS Office came up . She said the newer version of Office was much better. Did you get the email I sent you, she asked. No. I ripped you a good one, she said. Really? I didn't get it. Then the thought occured to me. What was the email address you sent it to? firstname.lastname@example.org, she said... Nice, I thought...I'm glad she has a different last name.