Since joining Microsoft I've heard Bills name in conversations with me so many times now that It's quite disturbing to be honest. In that, a lot of the time I get the "yeah well tell your buddy Bill..." or "..When you next See Gates..." piecemeal conversations.
It gets used in a variety of flavors but usually its got a depth of hatred mixed in, and I'm wondering what will happen to these conversations once Mr Gates steps down in 2008.
Will our CEO Steve Ballmer be the next one on the list, or Ray Ozzie? I think they'll still milk this piece of dribble for about another 1-2 years depending on the profile Bill holds in the future but sooner or later a lot of this "Mr Gates Read This" type rants that we see daily online will need to be redirected.
It's funny how people forget that there's thousands of bodies with brains and pairs of eyes whom stand behind Bill under the Microsoft banner - these are usually the ones that make the day to day decisions as I'm sure that Bill doesn't sit there every night going over expense reports, decisions on what productX will have in terms of features in and out and most of all - I doubt he has money bins out the back like Scrooge McDuck has whereby he's always thinking up evil plots to get a dollar or two extra out of you to add to his ever growing bins of money.
In Seattle when I saw Mr Gates one thing struck me the most - "He looks human" and I had a bit of a chuckle to myself about that. I've meet celebrities before and usually they don't really bother me (I.e. I've always shrugged them and put them down to just being popular kids in the school - yet here I was chuckling at how silly that notion was that "he's actually human after all - no forked tail, no horns out his head and no eating small kids from remote villages").
I also watched folks film his talk and wondered "Do they go back home afterwards and watch this over and over? are they doing it just in case he raises a point or two that they wish to re-use? and so on".
He's an interesting man but to be honest so other thousands of others that work for Microsoft, each with their own story to tell and daily I'm struck down at how intelligent some of these people are.
Anyway, I wonder who's going to replace Bill as the focal point in 2008. I have a strange feeling though that he'll always be the focal point, simply because of habit.
So.. Mr Gates - bossman - if you read this (I know you do, because clearly your reading every blog out there with keyword search for "Bill" in it) - enjoy your retirement and best of luck ;) heh.