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Bill Gates last day is tomorrow.
A lot of people have a Bill Gates story. And I welcome that you add your favorite Bill Gates story as comment to this blog entry. My BillG story is unremarkable, but he nevertheless made a place for me in technology.
I saw Bill Gates present at a conference where he was promoting OS/2 in what was then Mountain View, CA before it was called Silicon Valley. He was not the keynoter. Instead, the presentation was to about 100 or so of us in a very crowded break-out session. He gave us each copies of OS/2 as an early evangelism effort. In order to get my free copy, Ihad to visit each of three or so vendors at the conference. I then found my way to a suite at the hotel and presented my credentials, properly stamped for visiting the vendors, and picked up my copy. I have always considered that it was Bill who gave me my copy of OS/2, although I did actually receive it from an admin.
It doesn't seem so long ago either that my brother bought Microsoft stock back when the first version of Windows shipped, while I didn't. He send his kids to college on the profits. I became a Mac developer; later to return to Windows for Visual Basic 5 to do user interface design for John Deere and have been employed working on the Microsoft stack ever since.
The next time I saw BillG was earlier this year in a room of 5000 or us Microsoft employees in a conference to learn. I'm pretty sure Microsoft didn't even have 5000 employees when I saw him the first time. And now I was the blur in the crowd again. Farther back, but just as engaged.
BillG invited us on a journey where I grew as a developer while he led Microsoft to what you see today. And perhaps more important, is leading him to make a difference in the world though the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
His last full time day at Microsoft is tomorrow. You can view the Bill Gates last day video that was first shown at Comdex. I'm the guy in the 200th row.
Bill Gates gave a keynote speech at the University of Michigan a few years back. I'll never forget listening to him reminiscence about the Microsoft story. Now more than ever it means alot to him, and me.
This was while he was developing a new version of X-Box and it was fun watch Bill literally test drive the thing. He took audience questions and discussed the challenge Microsoft faces from Google. Bill Gates' sucessor will largely have to deal with that challenge.