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Bill Gates & his 12 Steps

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the Truth-&-Hype dept.

Microsoft 291

Hello, my name is Bill Gates, and I'm greedy, arrogant and evasive. Oops, wrong steps. This week, Time Magazine continues the media's proud tradition of fawning over Bill Gates every move. They've published excerpts from his new book "Business@The Speed Of Thought," the stupefyingly boring sequel to the very vapid but best-selling "The Road Ahead." Smiling from the cover, Gates is touting "Bill Gates' 12 Steps" for digital business success. Fantasizing a world in which truth is sometimes told, we offer our own version of Bill Gates secrets for success, certain you'll have even more.

It takes a certain amount of shamelessness to be a monomaniac billionaire dwarf. But even by Bill Gates' standards, excerpts from his new book Business - The Speed of Thought, gracing this week's Time magazine, set new records for gall.

Bill Gates, you may remember, hasn't had a good year. Business Week described one competitor, open source operating system Linux, as Microsoft's "Vietnam." 3Com has snatched the bulk of the handheld computer market right out from under Microsoft's nose. Apple's new open source operating system OSX is on the way. Sony is coming after Microsoft with new operating systems that run personal computing and consumer electronics. And then there's the trial, so far at least, powerful reinforcement of the notion that just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

When Gates appeared as a witness in the Microsoft trial he was shockingly arrogant, and - to put it as generously as possible - forgetful. Meanwhile, complaints about MS software bugs have hit record levels on MS bug websites, and IBM's middleware software is taking off. A number of state attorneys general are licking their chops over expected settlements in the Microsoft anti-trust trial, which the company's leading execs are skewered weekly and reminded what they wrote in e-mails months and years earlier. Beyond that, Microsoft's insanely hyped new media properties - the online magazine Slate, MSN.com, and local Sidewalk entertainment and information sities - are all still struggling, all still losing vast sums of money.

Is Bill Gates chastened? Humbled? Don't be silly. He's written yet another vapid tome, the banal sequel to the much-hyped "The Road Ahead," his first best-seller, which accomplished something few authors could have achieved - making the future of the Internet so boring as to be unreadable. By and large, the press treated that book as if it were the Koran, personally delivered by the Prophet himself. Again, the mainstream media are slobbering over their favorite Millenial visionary. In this sequel, does Gates have a single word to about the many challenges facing his company, and his multiple mis-steps of l998? For that matter, does Time ask him? Don't be foolish. In his new book, gushes Time in its cover story, "Microsoft's chairman says that only managers who master the digital universe will gain competitive advantage."

Duh. This is how Gates made billions?

"To function in the digital age," writes Gates the author, "we have developed a new digital infrastructure. The successful companies of the next decade will be those that use digital tools, he continues. And to make "digital information flow an intrinsic part of your company," he offers a number of key steps.

If you're planning on reading this book and getting rich off of computers, go gamble on some e-stock instead, or play your local lottery. You'll do better. Gates' "Steps" are true yawners, either so obvious as to be useless, or full of the kind of incomprehensible cyber-jabberwocky news organizations like Time drool over. Like "Insist that communication flow through e-mail"; "Study Sales Data Online to Share Insights Easily"; and "Use Digital Communication To Redefine the Boundaries." (My personal favorite is: "Transform Every Business Process Into Just-In-Time Delivery." Everybody must realize, Gates cautions, that "if you don't meet customer demands quickly enough, without sacrificing quality, a competitor will.) Talk about vision.

And those are the best and most provocative ideas. It's hard to know which is dumber, Gates "steps" or Time's incomprehensible decision to air them on its cover.

Clearly, the Gates comeback is underway, the manipulable media ready for one more go at presenting this remarkably unremarkable man as a millenial wizard, and for the second, or is it the third, time? Modern media has no memory when it comes to fawning over the rich and powerful, and falling for hype is sure no vice in that business.

Imagine what Gates's true steps might be if we didn't live in so hype-heavy and world and if journalism told the truth. They might go something like this:

l. Destroy Competitors.

2. Discourage competition.

3. Be arrogant and evasive, even under oath and before a federal judge (this isn't really a new idea).

4. Build a digital castle for hundreds of millions of dollars and stuff it with Leonardo DaVinci's sketchpads, Napoleon's trinkets and other memorabilia. Make it so awe-inspiring that visiting journalists are dazzled and cowed forget to ask any tough questions, and continue to bally hoo even your dubious accomplishments.

5. Refuse to answer questions, anyway, except in carefully selected and protected environments - book excerpts, pre-arranged and carefully screened interviews.

6. Create unnecessary software and hype it beyond all reason, forcing hundreds of thousands of helpless and unknowing people to spend millions or even billions of dollars unnecessarily. Then charge them extra for "incident" help when they call up trying to get help they deserve for the products they bought.

7. Seek to dominate an entire culture.

8. Amass tens of billions of dollars, even though you could give ever poor kid in America his or her own computer without evening touching your capital. Give some money to charity, but require most of the recipients - libraries, for instance -- to buy more of your products to use the free stuff they get.

9. Be obnoxious, surly and arrogant.

10. Be sure to make friends with important people in media and have them over to your house. jonkatz@slashdot.org

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Drudge Report talks about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974502)

Go here. [drudgereport.com]

Bravo -- Vitriol is becoming more impt than truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974503)

how many times a day does someone on /. have to post the same anti-ms dribble over and over again.

heaven forbid that it turn out that MSFT actually did something good... /.-ers would never ever believe it.

Gates book contradicts MS testimony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974504)

Testimony in the MS-DOJ trial said that MS uses paper accounting. Gates book says electronic accounting.
AP story in USA Today [usatoday.com]

Bill Gates is our friend... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974505)

Bill Gates is trying to make the point that he and Microsoft are here to improve life with digital innovation. If the government would just leave Microsoft alone, they could continue to innovate. The people complaining are whining failed competitors who want to bring Microsoft down.

The government shouldn't be in the business of designing software. If the government keeps beating up on Microsoft, it could ruin the economy. Where would we get our software from if we didn't have Microsoft?

(Man I love writing this drivel!)

forgot two steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974506)

Gates' author had 12, but Jon only has 10. I wonder if Gates read his own book while it was being written for him or if he waited til it was all done?

Just a thought..

The Road Ahead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974507)

if the road ahead was a best-seller then why is borders selling it for $2.98? i could've sworn best-sellers maintained their value...

How Intellectual Revolutions are Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974508)

"The point of opening one's mind, as in opening one's mouth, is to close it again on something solid" -- G.K. Chesterton

You're no fun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974509)

Let's bash The Bill some more.

If You Want to rule the kingdom....Chanakya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974510)

If you want to rule the kingdom, keep the subjects in dark - Chanakya, A Minister of a ancient Empire.

No, no, no! It's the New World Order! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974511)


They're trying to smash capitalism by secular humanist Woman Lawyers representing the United Nations!

Get it right!

:)

Maybe, but I don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974512)

I can see how one might get the impression that Katz just did an anti-Gates article to score some points with the /. folks.

But I honestly don't think so. I've read most of the stuff here that he has ever posted, and an anti-Gates attitude fits right in with the content of the majority of his previous posts. Katz has always rooted against the powerful corporations and corporate bigwigs that have all gotten fabulously wealthy by ripping people off in the computer industry (and other industry's, consider for example his comments about mp3's and the record industry.) He has also written quite a bit about the politics of freedom behind the Linux OS, and how he supports it, and how it is the opposite of capitalist money-making philosophies on software and computing (of which Bill Gates might be considered the epitome.)

So it certainly wouldn't have been a stretch, based entirely on his previous posts, to assume that Katz was anti-Gates. Probably surprising he has held out against attacking Gates for so long, considering how much Gates has done to foster the current culture within the computer industry of making as much money as possible by selling software before it's ready, by selling mediocre/substandard software, by over-charging, by deceiving consumers (eg "software is inherently complex, so therefore it is normal for software to crash so much"), creating "hooks" and "integrations" to require more from peoples' wallets, and also generally lowering people's expectations of the computer industry.


It's not really propoganda if it's true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974513)

There has to be more involved to Bill than luck,
after all, if more luck than skill was involved, what about CP/M, and all the others that fell by the wayside. Don't discount bill just because there was luck involved...

Wrong there, slick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974514)

Stock values have NO relationship to Bill Gates' personal fortunes, or even that of the company.

Umm... since BG owns 20% of MSFT, the price VERY MUCH reflects his own net worth. That's why this year he's the richest man on the planet, and last year he wasn't... Additionally, the P/E and cap. cost of a stock are generally VERY good measures of the health of ANY company. MSFT's P/E AND cap. cost (the largest in the world) reflect the great earnings. How little do you really know about investing???

So long as there's a POSSIBILITY of dividends, investers will buy the stocks. From there, it's simple maths:

The word is math... and Microsoft hasn't issued a dividend since it went public almost 15 YEARS ago. Not once. Never.

You buy stocks, the price goes up. You sell stocks, the price goes down. More stocks bought than sold, the price rises by more than it falls.

You're a regular E.F. Hutton, aren't you?!?! I can make a generalization too... If a stock has crappy earnings, but they announce a presence on the Internet, the price goes up (vapor) - because fools buy into it, but if a crappy company announces crappy earnings, people sell. That's why MSFT has the largest cap. cost in the world - because they traditionally return MASSIVE revenue each quarter...

You also have to consider that tech stocks are largely regarded as hyper-inflated, anyway. For the reason given above - people buying promises, not goods. Actually, that, in itself is a good indicator - other tech stocks more than doubled in the year - I believe Amazon.com did very nicely for itself.

COMPLETELY different ballgame!!! Amazon is in the red, and will be for 2+ years! So is almost every other Internet Co. MSFT, on the other hand, is very much in the black. To blindly throw Microsoft (which has performed VERY well over a VERY long period of time) in with sucker-bet "Internet/tech" stocks which are performing well because they are "the thing" this week is laughable.

Don't quit your day job, mr. financial advisor...

OR ...How I Lost Interest in /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974515)

I used to come here for some interesting articles about Linux & open source code and the occasional random but interesting link. Lately, this site has denegrated to a collection of stupid article followed by thousands of argumentative posts that add no value (not all, just most).

The worst thing that happened to this site is that it has become a waste of my time.

I have already gotten a peek at tomorrrow's Slashdot:
- Linux rules, everything else sucks. And don't tell me different.

Who is Bob? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974516)

Now and again I read about Microsoft's "Bob"? Who is or was Bob?

Really, I have no idea. I've used some MS products, but never run acrosss this Bob fellow.
There was "Clippy" the paperclip but I have now removed all MS Office products from my computer.
Where does Bob reside?

I have run across a "Bob" associated with the "Get Slack" cult, as in "Get Bob in your life" in Slackware circles. Same Bob, or his evil twin?

Needing clues

Just waiting.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974517)

... for a large EMP to turn Billy Boy's "digital castle" into a multi-million dollar chunk of sand. hehehe

It's nice to see that Gates has decided to go back to college too and finally take that intro Econ class he always meant to. Maybe next quarter they will get around to talking about the inefficiency of "monopolies". I only he doesn't start claiming to be the father of modern Econonmics, as well as the Internet, GUI's, .......

Sidewalk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974518)

they called my town "unfashionable".
bastards!

Published by Warner Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974519)


This is an insight? This sort of cross-marketing has been going on for years, decades even.

Then here's some ammo for ya .. :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974520)

I just got spam-mail in my mailbox for Sidewalk.

I certainly don't remember giving my email address away to anything Microsoftian, and if I had I would have made sure to check any "do not send me crapmail" checkboxes. Not sure how they got it.

"Visit MSN Sidewalk: Win prizes & shop for deals!" (never mind the fact that Sidewalk isn't available for where i live could have been deduced from my domain)



The Sidewalk service has also been used by Microsoft for data-mining purposes. If you want to know more about this specifically I have a doc on my homepage at http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/2018/ams.html

M$ employee alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974521)

Don't respond to this. It is obviously a troll bait.

You're no fun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974522)

Yeah, but where's the fun in regurgitating the same old lame attacks? Let's be creative. Let's analyze Bill's trial testimony for signs of alien reprogramming. Let's find connections between Biblical prophecies of Armageddon and the Win32 API. Now that would really be fun.

Well, I'm off to Segfault.org.

Hitler...created volkwagon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974523)

Hitler...created volkwagon, does that make everything ok?

Business idea to annoy Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974524)

From the article:

Create unnecessary software and hype it beyond all reason, forcing hundreds of thousands of helpless and unknowing people to spend millions or even billions of dollars unnecessarily. Then charge them extra for "incident" help when they call up trying to get help they deserve for the products they bought.

If Microsoft's stance in court is that they don't discourage competition, then here's a potentially lucrative business idea that would really, really annoy them, because it would deprive Microsoft of revenue.

Start up a business whose line of bustiness is supporting Microsoft software, and charge a lot less than Microsoft for support calls. If it is a user requesting assistance, you make a bit of money. If it is a software bug, pass the bug on to Microsoft only if they will not charge you for reporting it. If they insist on charging, don't tell them. It's not YOUR buggy software that you're supporting. Heck, if your business gets big enough, you could even start charging Microsoft a "finder's fee" for every bug....

Wrong there, slick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974525)

"Maths" is common usage outside of the good ole USA

Wrong there, slick...maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974526)

Microsoft is in the black because a large part of its wage bill, stock options, doesn't go through the profit and loss account even though it costs shareholders. The total adds up to something like $60bn, more than the company has made so far. If you don't believe me, ask Warren Buffet. That suggests that either MSFT has been paying its staff too much or that if the rise in its share price slows, its wage bills will soar. There is also a tremendous amount of money being spent on strategic projects beyond Windows/Office/Visual Studio that has produced very unimpressive performance. Even so it is the prospects for these businesses where MSFT is second guessing consumers that much of the valuation hinges upon. The worrying thing is that even experienced fund managers don't get the options problem thinking that employee benefits somehow have a free pass that says that Black-Scholes doesn't apply to them.

As to BG's wealth, it is what he could sell 20 per cent of MSFT for. I bet that's a bit lower than just the current price times the number of shares.

No, no, no! It's the New World Odor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974527)

Ahh... The winds of change.

"Insist that communication flow through e-mail" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974528)

Did Gates really write that? If he did, it's sufficient proof of insincerity. If he did, he probably also wrote "Be sure to edit the video-taped demos - the other guys lawyers will never notice."

Bad year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974529)

Please. If Gates had such a bad year, why did MS stock more than double in that time?

Hmmm...look at the so-called Internet companies. The "blue chip" stocks in this category trade for 100-500 times earnings. The vast majority of these companies, however, have never turned a profit and most certainly never will (companies which produce nothing of value frequently have this problem). Yet in many cases capitalizations are in millions or billions, and stock price appreciation has been substantial. Microsoft, which actually does earn a profit, should be disappointed if their stock merely doubles in value each year in the idiotic tech stocks market.

Hitler...created volkwagon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974530)

I get so sick of the Nazis being used as some sort of trump card for weak arguments.

Please, making buggy software & being a jerk are not on the same level as mass murder. Implying that they are downplays the horrors of the holocaust & is socially irresponsible at best.

And just for the record, the Volkswagon was a government sponsored automobile during the Nazi regime. I believe the factory was in southern Germany. Due to the war effort, that factory never produced one single car.

_But_, the government took orders for them, people made payments towards cars they didn't have & never got them while the Nazis were in power.

Business idea to annoy Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974531)

That's called being a consultant. How do you think people make money from various forms of *nix?

Bad year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974532)

MSFT only makes a profit if you exclude the easily quantifiable cost of its stock options. They've run to about $60bn dollars so far, easily more than the company has ever made. Also banking on profits from MSN or Windows Everywhere is just as blue sky as Yahoo! say.

Bill Gates is our friend... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974533)

just think if bill did sell MSDOS to IBM... what would we be using now?? IBM probably would have put it on a shelf.. and we would all be using Macs... and then.. we would complain how apple stole their ideas from Xerox.. and how huge, monopolistic, and corrupt they are..

people are funny... arent they?

Stating FACTS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1974625)

I will start by recalling some facts. When Bill started his dos thing, there no people's computers. IBM et al. had huge nifty machines that cost a lot. Bill even tried to sell DOS (some say begged) to IBM, but the answer was to snob the whole PC thing. Apple didn't do any better. Sure they had cool stuff. But they were and still are worse than any Microsoft monopoly. Heck, they do it all from software to hardware, to peripherals. If they had had their way. You wouldn't be able to buy a mouse that's made by someone else.

SO to state the facts, Bill was at the right moment at the right place. Does he deserve anything for this ? I think, maybe yes. After all, he went on with the PC idea, made it or made his company go the win3.x and then the jump to win95.

Of course Windows is not stable, of course the whole thing is probably the crapiest thing to ever exist on the surface of the globe! BUT, no one else was there, to promote cheap PC's, to build software so that average Joe's and Janes get to press and then click some buttons.

Apart from Linux, there isn't and never was anyone who tried to make something that normal users would afford. Like it or not, it's because of DOS, then Windows that we (normal people) could afford to buy computers.

Yes, I think he deserves that money, and I don't think IBM or Apple are to be thought of as poor innocent souls. Both have showed they could be worse than Microsoft. They just never could really do it as Bill did.

However, now is the time for people not only to use computers in a dumb way. It is the time where more and more people are trying to go further while using their machine, and they discover that even though Windows was and still is the best choice for average user with no idea, the OS just doesn't cut it when it comes to true use.

And they at Linux, as I did and discover an alternative than shares with windows the fact that normal people can get it. I can't buy SCO Unix. I can't buy Sun sparc, or even SGI machine.

My choice goes to PCS, and I definitly ditch Apple. They are the worst, but without the cash or the power!

And for a good affordable, BUT STABLE PC, I have one choice: LINUX

So this is Linux's time, Bill won't lose any money though. Good for him, he was there!

Published by Warner Books (1)

Aaron M. Renn (539) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974631)

Bill Gates new book is published by Warner Books, which is owned by Time-Warner which is also (you guessed it) the publisher of Time magazine. Can you say "conflict of interest"? This one even made the Drudge Report...

Almost got that niche, Katz (0)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974634)

Posted by !ErrorBookmarkNotDefined:

A bit less overt venom. More wry wit.
Be sure to sprinkle in some techno facts.

You almost nailed that niche.
Next, you could sell them Toyotas.
Sure beats stringing article to Field and Stream, eh?

-----------------------------
Computers are useless. They can only give answers.

Katz is interesting, the comments here are insipid (0)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974635)

Posted by OGL:

When will you people grow up?

Flames are for babies.

-W.W.

Bravo -- Vitriol is becoming more impt than truth (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974636)

Posted by stodge:

True. It's easy to get caught on the anti-MS bandwagon (its so easy!), but then it's also easy to get caught on the Linux hype bandwagon. You can't win either way!

I'm one of these people who is pissed off with MS, their software and their practices. But I'm not the kind of person that Jon was addressing; the religious zealot. Yes I could just ignore his postings, but I thought this one might actually be witty and not just ranting and raving.

I know all good causes and movements need a loud voice to carry the message to the world. But with postings like this we're posting the wrong message.

Please just calm this hysteria. Be sensible, be mature, be intelligent. The more it occurs the more I'm tempted I am to walk away from Linux.

The Road Ahead? (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974637)

Posted by CyberPete:

About Bill:

I got "The Road Ahead" as a Christmas present a while back from some relatives that thought it was "computery" enough to interest me. I read it, and now it servers a very important place in my life....it's helping to hold up one end of my battered old orange couch!

About Katz:

He could say ANYTHING on slashdot and over half of you would piss and moan! Makes me wish Rob could come up with a "filter all bitching" option for /.

"Insist that communication flow through e-mail" (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974638)

Posted by stodge:

Hahaha. You mean "Insist that communication flow through e-mail, but make sure you delete the dodgy ones that might come back to haunt you in court"??


Who is Bob? (1)

jacrawf (691) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974646)

Microsoft Bob, J.R. ``Bob'' Dobbs' Evil Twin? New Study Suggests

The teriffically horrific attempt to make Microsoft's point-and-drool OS even more point-and-drool. MS Bob was supposed to be a sort-of helping hand to new users of Windows 95; your digital friend to this brand new world of incompatibility and crashes. Or something like that.

It ended up being even more annoying than that paperclip from Microsoft Orofice..er..Office and bombed despite the fact that it was widely touted as being next generation stuff--at least, it was here in Bill's home town. Of course, at the time, Bob required top of the line, super expensive hardware to even run properly. Come to think of it, Microsoft Office is similar in that respect. At least you can shut the more annoying ``features'' off though...

...or can you?

Yadda Yadda (1)

Da Unicorn (941) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974650)

Yeah, I agree with a lot of the Katz tirade. I also agree about the Billy Bashing and the attitude comment, but if you`re a Billionaire dwarf you gotta take it as it comes.

'Nuff Sed

You hear the dry click, too late you realize there is a gun in this house that you tried to rob!...



It's not really propoganda if it's true... (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974651)

Who's becoming "closed-minded?" I think it was an accurate analysis of something that had me puzzled as well. I saw this magazine in a bookstore yesterday and wondered why anyone would listen to the guy. Yes, I realize he has more money than anyone else in the country, but that didn't come through his savvy business sense. A review of the events that got him to where he is today shows that there was at least as much luck as skill involved. Now the media goes and ignores all the trouble his vaunted business sense has gotten him into and publishes a puff piece on him. Are they even the slightest bit critical? Nope. Do they even question anything he says? Nope. Why not? That's all I want to know.

I agree that maybe the "pseudo-steps" at the end were going a bit far, but that's the kind of reaction that irresponsible media produces sometimes. I can't defend Jon for crossing the line either, but I can see why he did.

I'd rather not be written off as another jealous Bill-hater. Money is not that important to me and I don't let it color my perceptions of people. It's not the fact that he has money that makes me not like him. It's just him. His attitude. His business practices. His lies. His arrogance. Tell me what there is to like about him. I can't think of anything.

Bad day ... (1)

Aubrey (1088) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974654)

... he's crying all the way to the bank. And will be for some time to come.

Here is a link to the OTHER article .. (1)

Aubrey (1088) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974655)

http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/reports/gatesbook/s oft1.html

11 & 12. (1)

ninjaz (1202) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974658)

11. Choose your grandparents wisely. (i.e., be born into wealth)

12. Lie, Lie, Lie! (Most people then become so used to the lies that they stop even trying to question them, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lie divert attention from the 1st)

Hmmmm.... (1)

Derek (1525) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974662)

Some interesting thoughts.

That is all I have to say about that.

-Derek

Need a web hosting service (0)

Matts (1628) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974664)

I need a web hosting service - any ISP's out there that do good hosting with mod_perl, pop3 email, free subdomains and a good price. Contact me at msergeant@ndirect.co.uk if you've got what I need.

Oh yeah, and Bill Gates sucks. He doesn't have an original thought in his head. The Road Ahead was full of crap that had already been invented like system wide scripting (Amiga's ARexx for example), object programming and other such stuff.

Matt.

Stock price =/= reality (1)

dilger (1646) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974665)

Why? Because people want to buy it. So what? The price of Microsoft stock indicates one thing: the price of Microsoft stock. That's all.

Example one: Amazon.com, whose market cap is billions, and whose profit is miniscule.

Example two: Dell recently released an earnings report with double-digit growth, and their stock FELL.

I could go on, but why?

Bad year (1)

jd (1658) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974666)

Stock values have NO relationship to Bill Gates' personal fortunes, or even that of the company.

So long as there's a POSSIBILITY of dividends, investers will buy the stocks. From there, it's simple maths:

You buy stocks, the price goes up. You sell stocks, the price goes down. More stocks bought than sold, the price rises by more than it falls.

You also have to consider that tech stocks are largely regarded as hyper-inflated, anyway. For the reason given above - people buying promises, not goods. Actually, that, in itself is a good indicator - other tech stocks more than doubled in the year - I believe Amazon.com did very nicely for itself.

How Intellectual Revolutions are Lost (1)

Blakes 7 (1957) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974669)

"Yeah. I mean, Microsoft has done great things for
computers! They make software which is of high
quality and which increase work efficiency. A
multi-billion dollar corporation has nothing but
our best interests at heart. Anyone who doesn't
agree with them is obviously spreading propaganda
and should, therefore, be ignored."

Quick...Which one is the REAL propaganda?

You're eating right out of his hand (2)

Brian Kendig (1959) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974670)

Gates published his book to draw some attention towards himself and away from his company's woes. Time Magazine published excerpts from it so that people would raise a fuss and other people would buy a copy of Time to see what all the fuss is about. Both of them want your attention; you're giving it to them in spades.

As Mae West said, "I don't care what you say about me, as long as you spell my name right." It's the same concept as when a web site such as CNet publishes a story titled something like "Does Linux Suck?" because they *know* it's going to draw the attention of the exact group of people they want to advertise at.

The greatest danger in this is that Joe Sixpack may read his copy of Time and think that Unca Bill is really a pretty nice guy, and then he sees all of these SlashDotters foaming at the mouth and he decides to keep away from whatever they're selling.

come on, people (1)

hazard (2541) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974673)

Just if Katz has wrote something you like it doesn't mean that he is trying to get some points from you... If he did you would be all considering him a slashdot hero by now..

Anyway Katz did a good job writing a hint sheet of what to say about Mr. Gates' new masterpiece. ;)

Bad year (1)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974677)

Please. If Gates had such a bad year, why did MS stock more than double in that time?

Who is Bob? (1)

Black Art (3335) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974679)

Bob was a front-end to Windows 3.1.

Imagine a children's game interface pitched to adults.

It was incredibly insulting and required more resources than most novice users had. (As well as hoping that their video card was set to something more than 16 colors.) If they needed it, they could not install it. If they could install it, they did not need it.

True Story about MS Bob:

There is a program locally called "Town Hall". They have an audience and guests and try to stir up what passes for controversy in this town.

They had a show on computers. One of the guests was a marketing flack from Microsoft promoting MS Bob.

At one point the MS flack said (and I am *not* making this up) "The reason the name 'Bob' was chosen was because it was a sexually ambivelent name". I immediatly asked in a very loud voice "How many drag queens do you know named Bob?". They whole audience broke up laughing. Not to anyone's surprise, they deleted my comment from the program.

To make it even more fun, the local station delayed airing the show for a couple of months due to a flood or storm or something of the sort. By that time, the local software stores were remaindering Bob at discount prices. (The local Egghead Software claimed that they only sold four.)

You would think that someone responsible for such a fiasco would be fired or worse? Nope.

The manager responsible for Microsoft Bob is now Mrs. Bill Gates.

Shows how much attention Bill pays to quality...

Re: heaven forbid... (1)

Sinner (3398) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974680)

heaven forbid that it turn out that MSFT actually did something good... /.-ers would never ever believe it.

Fortunately, I don't think that's a scenario we have to worry about :-)

Bad day, Jon? (0)

Pretender (3940) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974682)

Or is this an attempt to cop an attitude (which would be an essential attribute of any god in Slashdot's pantheon)?

Not that I disagree particularly, I'm just a little bemused by the tone.

This may get you a few points in the popularity contests around here, certainly.

Charlie

killer bill strikes again (1)

Lurking Grue (3963) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974683)

How many trees must sacrifice their lives so that this "innovative genius" can spew forth his "vision" for us? Trees help clean our environment. Bill helps pollute it. Please, stop the carnage!

not a tree hugger...

pete

Oh well. (1)

Dastardly (4204) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974687)

Posting comments to /. about the evils of Microsoft doesn't help anything.

Yes, but it is fun. :-)

Sidewalk (1)

fugue (4373) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974689)

Just because it's unpopular doesn't mean it's bad... perhaps the opposite is true. Sidewalk (SF at least) ROCKS! I hate to say anything good about MS, but I have rarely been disappointed in Sidewalk. Just thought I'd mention that.

flames galore.. why? (0)

zempf (4454) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974690)

Ok, I don't understand this anymore. Before, when there was a Katz article the flamers would come out in full force, telling Katz what an idiot he was and that he shouldn't be on Slashdot. The popular reply to this was that the flamers shouldn't be reading his articles if they found them so terrible. Of course, with his articles right there on the front of Slashdot, I guess they just couldn't resist the desire to click on the link and read the latest from Katz so they could have more ammo in their neverending fight to inform him of what an idiot he is. But.. now we have preferences. If you all hate Katz so much (and there seem to be quite a few who do), then just filter out his articles. Voila, you no longer have to read his articles, and we no longer have to read comments peppered with "Katz sucks" and other such insightful statements.

-mike kania

Waldenbooks is going to love this one! (1)

Eric Wayte (4583) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974691)

My local Waldenbooks had numerous copies of "The Road Ahead" in their Bargain Books section for the unheard of price of $1.00. I bet they won't order as many copies of Gates' new book as they did last time!

Not even Newt Gingrich's book went that cheap!

And guess who bit? (1)

David Gould (4938) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974693)

Did you notice the last line?:

(Man I love writing this drivel!)

It's sometimes hard to classify the occasional pro-Microsoft comments that appear around here. I see four categories:

  • Astro-turf (as in, fake "grass-roots" support, i.e., MS people trying to make it look like MS has more supporters than it does)
  • Flame-bait (possibly some from MS, trying to provoke us so they can show how immature the responses are, but probably mostly just for fun)
  • Honest Microsoft support (I guess it's conceivable that someone would actually believe this stuff. Takes all kinds.)
  • Sarcasm (He doesn't mean it, and he doesn't expect anyone to be fooled -- he's making fun of anyone who would say these things seriously)
However, in this case, it's not too hard to guess which category we're in -- he acknowledged it right at the bottom as "drivel". He was being sarcastic. He wasn't even trawling. You just jumped into the boat and impaled yourself on a hook.

David Gould

Who is Bob? (1)

drig (5119) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974695)

Different Bob's. Bob of the Slack is JR Bob Dobbs, the symbolic diety of the Church of the Subgenious. I'd tell you what they believe in, but I'd get it wrong and have a hundred screaming fanatic threatening to burn my house down.

MS Bob was a poor attempt at a bad idea. The idea was to have a cute little guy follow you around on your computer and provide help when you need it. Kinda like that jumping paper clip in Word. People heralded it as an (probably the only) example of Microsoft innovation. No one liked it or bought it and it's fallen into the annals of history next to the Edsel.

The Edsel was a car that didn't sell.

I think your comments say more about your own... (1)

shanelenagh (6421) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974700)

...sense of life than they do about Bill Gates. According to you, money is obtained through "luck" -- either you have it or you don't, right? So money is not that important to you, as it's just a crapshoot as to who has it and who doesn't.

I guess the terms "earning money" and "making money" mean the same to you as "stealing from someone else" or "winning the lottery." Maybe if you understood the meaning money a little better (or had to _earn_ it yourself), you would have more respect for it.

Are you out of college yet? Do you live with your parents? Have you had to earn your own money to survive? Maybe money would be more "important" to you if you did.

shane

Who shout's loudest is correct !!!!!!!! (1)

siva06 (6708) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974702)

The book by Gates is an apt example of this statement.

Who else could have made such statements with this many bug's in their products. Definitely not the ones who deliver good products !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 Steps... (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974703)

12 Steps. Sounds like something to do with Alcoholics Anonymous. I know... Microsoftics Anonymous!

The first step: Admission.

"Hi, my name is John Doe, and I'm a Microsoft user."

"Hi John!"



--

Agreed (Katz flames Gates for being a poor writer) (1)

L. Ron McKenzie (7095) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974704)

This is pretty funny. When people flame Katz for being a bad writer, everyone gets real upset. But when Katz himself flames one of the easiest targets in the world for being a bad writer, he's the man.

I wonder if the same folks who have been defending Katz during the flame wars are going to stick up for Gates <smirk>

If you don't like Gates, don't read the book. That's the logic you folks use, right?

Katz's article was a flame. (1)

L. Ron McKenzie (7095) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974705)

But it was intersting, right?

Waaahhhh.

How Intellectual Revolutions are Lost (1)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974707)

People will still be people, regardless of what operating system they use. They will still make stupid generalizations, and propeganda will still take the same form.

Sidewalk (1)

banky (9941) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974714)

It's OK, but sometimes it horribly out-of-date sometimes. They closed down a club in my area and they kept listing it as a "hip" place to go.

Jon, good essay, enjoyed it (1)

blocked (10071) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974715)


See above. Got tired of wading through the variations on the theme of all the possible things that can be wrong with an essay, a person, a philosophy, a life, and figured you might appreciate hearing from somebody who enjoys your work. :) Especially since we seem to be in the majority. :)


Rob

Vitriol? Hmmm. (1)

blocked (10071) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974716)


stodge wrote:
True. It's easy to get caught on the anti-MS bandwagon (its so easy!), but then it's also easy to get caught on the Linux hype bandwagon. You can't win either way!

I'm one of these people who is pissed off with MS, their software and their practices. But I'm not the kind of person that Jon was addressing; the religious zealot. Yes I could just ignore his postings, but I thought this one might actually be witty and not just ranting and raving.

I know all good causes and movements need a loud voice to carry the message to the world. But with postings like this we're posting the wrong message.

Please just calm this hysteria. Be sensible, be mature, be intelligent. The more it occurs the more I'm tempted I am to walk away from Linux.

Um, use Linux if you find it useful. If you're hanging around vitriolic Linux users, find some less vitriolic Linux users. :)

Personally, I enjoyed the essay. I guess it's a bit irritating that having a few billion dollars means you can keep trying to reinvent yourself as a historic figure till you get it right.... Must be nice.

On the whole, I'm just glad I don't have to use the guy's products. They're okay, but they crash a lot. And he keeps trying to tie people into proprietary standards, a strategy that will make lots of money through other people's misfortune, so I guess that irritates me too.

I guess if you make a lot of money, you are likely to get a lot of people annoyed at you, particularly if you're not that picky in how you go about it. Such is life.

But the next article tears Gates to shreds :) (1)

makohund (10086) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974717)

Katz... you got so worked up you forgot to read the article immediately following the "12 obvious, technobabble fluff filled steps".

"Is There a Chapter Missing,Bill?" by Chris Taylor was a pretty good read. He brings up the point that no mention of any of the anti-trust trial are made. And the Gates reflected in the book and excerpt is very different from the Gates seen in the trial, and pretty much tears him and his book into little tiny pieces from there. Fun read, and I was very happy to see it accompany the main article.

My favorite quote from the excerpt:
"The old saying 'Knowledge is Power' sometimes makes people hoard knowledge. They believe that knowledge hoarding makes them indispensable. Power comes not from knowledge kept but from knowledge shared."

This looks like something to be thrown right back at him! :)

From the article:
"If there was ever was a time for Microsoft employees to slap their boss with a reality check, this is it."

Go get the magazine and give it a read. Lots of ammo, and a good article by Chris Taylor.

(And maybe that plug will keep me out of trouble for posting direct quotes. :) But seriously, get it and read it. Or find it online, if it's posted.)

Retraction... (1)

makohund (10086) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974718)

Please allow me to retract the part about "go get the magazine to read the other article". I just read the Drudge Report, and other posts on that little tidbit of information.

Plugging your own company's book as news to generate publicity is a bit sick. Not the first time it's happened, but still.

Don't buy it. Even if the other article is good.

I'm allowed to change my mind, right?

I agree. (1)

Dast (10275) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974719)

Bill does have talent. I will be the first to admit he has business skills.

But as far as being a visionary, however, he is not.

Hmm... (0)

Knight (10458) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974720)

I like this sarcastic side of you. Previously, I have refrained from commenting on your posts, but perhaps sarcasm is a quality (or flaw?) you should cultivate a bit more in your writing.
------------------------------

Bill G's 12 Step Program (1)

RichN (12819) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974726)

many of whom believe Bill Gates and Microsoft are responsible for the personal computer, the GUI, and the internet

C'mon now... Every schoolkid knows that Al Gore invented the Internet!

He is, I swear! (1)

Mr.P (12985) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974728)

Let's see his innovations:

DOS, Windows, Word/Excel/PowerPoint/Office, TrueType, the Internet, the Sidewalk, SoftImage, AVI, ...

Oh well. (1)

jerodd (13818) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974731)

At least I won't run out and buy that book now <grin>. Seriously, while I don't disagree with anything Katz said, isn't this a bit of preaching to the choir? I myself have gotten tired of all the vitriol directed towards Microsoft; instead of complaining about them, let's go write our own freed software. Posting comments to /. about the evils of Microsoft doesn't help anything. Writing freed software does.

Postus scriptum. (1)

jerodd (13818) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974732)

I want to add that for those of you who don't know how to write code, you can still help the freed software community in a very real way--indeed, in a way that is probably more valuable than writing code. You can help other newbies learn how to use freed software like GNU/Linux and you can tell your friends about it. In other words, you can help build the community. ``We supply the bricks; you put them together.''

On a completely unrelated note, has anyone besides me noticed how articles that are not from anonymous cowards instantly get a Score of 1?

Need a web hosting service (1)

jerodd (13818) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974733)

Well, vhosts.net will probably satisfy you. (Those of you have been reading /. for at least three weeks will understand why I'm saying this.)

Sidewalk (1)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974737)

I agree, sidewalk.com rocks. I haven't found anything that does everything for me that this site does. Maybe it's a good thing MS runs it...anyone else might have shut it down by now.

Attaboy Jon (0)

Knish (15685) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974739)

Trying to score goodie points on /. Ah well to each his own..

Seems to make sense (1)

Visoblast (15851) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974741)

Katz seems to be making sense here, even if he offers no great insight. Its been common knowlege to real computer users/controllers that Bill Gates has no vision. Its been stated the one original thing MS did was Bob -- a total failure. And now MS faces lots of competition thats sooo much better that people beyond computer geeks are giving non-MS stuff a chance.

Sounds like its time for Bill Gates an MS to step aside. Being a good business person can only get someone so far, and Bill Gates reached that limit.

The Road Ahead? (1)

SoftwareJanitor (15983) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974742)

if the road ahead was a best-seller then why is borders selling it for $2.98? i could've sworn best-sellers maintained their value....

They probably did it the same way that the Church of Scientology made Dianetics and other L. Ron Hubbard books "best sellers". Buy your own book to get it onto the bestseller lists. Its a tried and true method to "prime the pump". Pressure the big book chains into large advance orders, which you book and advertise as sales. Creative accounting seems to be a Microsoft tradition.

How Intellectual Revolutions are Lost (1)

Tardigrade (17769) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974749)

What about those who open their mouth to drink, speak, breathe?

How Intellectual Revolutions are Lost (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974756)

Criminy. The anti-microsoft propaganda is so formulaic these days. It is utterly amazing how "open-minded" people can become so "closed-minded" in such a short space of time. "Beware when the learned man becomes dogmatic." -Nietzche

He is, I swear! (1)

Z (20026) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974760)

The internet? What drugs have you been smoking?

Gates on book: not again (1)

A.S.M. (20169) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974762)

But T.R.A. had an especially good quote, which I can't recall verbatim, but went along the lines of
"One of the biggest accomplishments in modern mathematics would be finding a way to factor large prime numbers."

Huh. Well, yeah, I guess it would be...

(I think they edited this in the 2nd printing of the book, though.)

Katz needs to take a chill pill... (0)

Pugget (21006) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974763)

I get the impression that Katz felt like he was 'expected' to write an article slashing Gates book, or else the free source community would kick down his dor and drag him to his death.

Stop trying to be a hero Katz, and write about something more constructive.

Way to go Jon, good job! (1)

dieMSdie (24109) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974766)

I liked it :)

Very well done, my favorite JonKatz article to date!

M$ employee alert! (1)

DannyB (24274) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974767)

Sorry son, being an MS employee, i can say we wouldn't write something like that. Hell, even if they did pay me to sit around on slashdot all day espousing MS bullshit, i still couldn't say something like that with a straight face.
Maybe you noticed he wrote "Man i love writing this drivel", implying that he was being sarcastic.
Or did you just want to cry troll because you need better free time management?


Paper vs. Electronic Accounting (1)

ChrisGoodwin (24375) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974768)

Of course. It's possible to *lose* paper, after all. As Billy G and company have found out, one stray e-mail can follow you to your grave (or at least into court).

ignoring (1)

sklib (26440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974771)

I think that a good way to deal with the most recent Gates public warbling is to simply ignore it. If he does it for attention, then he should get as little as possible.

Bill G's 12 Step Program (1)

meersan (26609) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974772)

This sounds more like Bill G's '12 Steps to Microsoft Co-dependency' than anything that would actually be useful to a business manager. From the book: "Email is the killer app of the future". Are these the words of a visionary, or of a crafty billionaire eager to sell more copies of MS Exchange Server and BackOffice? And the mass media will spoon-feed this out-dated crap to the ignorant public, many of whom believe Bill Gates and Microsoft are responsible for the personal computer, the GUI, and the internet (which, as we all know, is synonymous with the web). Excuse me while I vomit.

Re: "The word is math" (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974773)

Sorry to butt in here with something fairly irrelevant to the conversation, but you did it first (nyah nyah :P). Isn't "math" short for "mathematics"? Isn't it "mathematics" instead of "mathematic" because it's plural, what with there being many different branches of study in mathematics. So, is it unreasonable to make an abbreviated form of the word "mathematics" plural?
It seems to me that saying "maths" is actually more correct than saying "math". By the way, I'm fully aware that many, many people say "math", but that doesn't neccessarily make it right. Wide usage does make it acceptable to use, and will probably eventually probably push out other forms of the word as acceptable, but no need for that right now hmmm? It's kind of like the term "hacker". The way things are going, it will eventually be officially incorrect to call yourself a hacker if you don't maliciously break computer security as a hobby. At the moment, it's just de facto incorrect among most of the population to use hacker the way I prefer to use it.

Drivel about drivel about drivel (1)

jet_silver (27654) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974778)

Why does Katz think he needs to `interpret' (even through a sort of fulminating parody) an article in Time? His message seems to be `well, Gates is out of touch.' The terse comment I wish he'd have written would be something like this:

`Bill Gates is out of touch, along with many journalists. His latest collection of doodles and matchbook covers, `Business at the X of Y', received a fawning, if woozy, reception by Time magazine, not coincidentally the publishers of the book. Time holds up a distorted mirror to the Gates scribbles, sees a Jackson Pollock drawing, and pronounces it great - unaware that the drawing is hanging upside down.'

Gates on book: not again (1)

Roadmaster (96317) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974788)

One thing's for sure: The Road Ahead has got to be the worst book I've read in quite a while. Gathering popular knowledge and other people's ideas about the Net's evolution and future, slapping it all together and labeling it as vision, perhaps hoping that Gates' reputation will keep people from realizing what it's all about and disregarding the book as what it is: hype.

Some people just do what they know best... (1)

RCwyvern (122150) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974790)

"It takes a certain amount of shamelessness to be a monomaniac billionaire dwarf."... On the other hand, it takes a certain amount of shamelessness, arrogance, and lack of insight to write an article with less insight than a microsoft ad in an attempt to satisfy one's own self-importance.

Bill Gates may be an arrogant, visionless, competetive bastard, but he has accomplished what he wants if his goal in life is to become incredibly wealthy and get attention from a great deal of people. This article has a tone of jealousy... does Katz secretly envy Bill for getting the attention he would like?

Perhaps a vapid account of Bill Gates' shortcomings is almost as bad as a vapid account of his successes?

It isn't so bad (1)

tubs (143128) | more than 15 years ago | (#1974791)

Have you actually read the article in Time? Yes, it includes 4 pages containing print directly copied from the book. But in the last pages of the article, it reports how 'Bill the billionaire' should try listening more to 'Bill the author'. Apparently when the government first presented its case to MS back in 95 Bill refused to even look at the report. It certainly wasn't propoganda, and the smirking picture of Bill made the hair on my Mothers back stand on end.
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