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Bill Gates To Stanford Grads: Don't (Only) Focus On Profit

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the see-your-enemies-driven-before-you-too dept.

Businesses 284

jfruh (300774) writes "The scene was a little surreal. Bill Gates, who became one of the world's richest men by ruthlessly making Microsoft one of the word's most profitable companies, was giving a commencement address at Stanford, the elite university at the heart of Silicon Valley whose graduates go on to the endless tech startups bubbling up looking for Facebook-style riches. But the theme of Gates's speech was that the pursuit of profit cannot solve the world's problems."

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Also focus on (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250547)

Destroying your enemies.

Re:Also focus on (4, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 months ago | (#47250975)

You don't have to "destroy" them, just "cut off their air supply".

Re:Also focus on (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 months ago | (#47250989)

and pick their pockets.

Bonus points for letting them live long enough to get all the change out of their pockets.

Re:Also focus on (3, Insightful)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 3 months ago | (#47251165)

As well as hearing the lamentation of their women.

Re:Also focus on (0)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 months ago | (#47251501)

Destroying your enemies.

I am totally fine with simply hearing the lamentations of their women.

Re:Also focus on (0)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 months ago | (#47251509)

Mod me -1 redundant. Should have hit refresh before positing. Of course someone would come up with that right away.

Fuck the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250553)

Profit will solve MY problems.

(If you think it's a shame that I care nothing for the world, I assure you the world started it by caring nothing for me.)

Re:Fuck the world (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47250821)

Pretty much this is what I'd expect from the audience.

Does anyone think these people want to start companies to "change the world"? Or solve the world's problems? They want to solve their own problems. Which are almost invariably solvable by the formula "insert money here, problem goes poof".

Re:Fuck the world (1)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 3 months ago | (#47251089)

Solving your own problems very often results in solving somebody else's problems. I've seen all too often where somebody noticed an ongoing inconvenience or problem, which they figured out how to solve, and then marketed their solution, which became lucrative.

Re:Fuck the world (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47251623)

Sadly it has become more profitable to be someone else's problem so he pays you to go away.

Re:Fuck the world (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 months ago | (#47251611)

Yeah we should encourage the people who want to start cooperatives instead of companies :).

Re:Fuck the world (1)

sd4f (1891894) | about 3 months ago | (#47250845)

Exactly! All I require is $500,000,000.

Re:Fuck the world (5, Funny)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 months ago | (#47251645)

640 Megabucks should be enough for anyone.

Water is wet (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250555)

the pursuit of profit cannot solve the world's problems

That's because it causes most of them.

Re:Water is wet (1, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 months ago | (#47250597)

bullshit, most the dramatic increase in human life and health of the last 500 years has been driven by and is the result of profit-seeking. The only solutions to mankinds problems will be produced and distributed that way

Re:Water is wet (0)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 months ago | (#47250669)

[citation needed]

Re:Water is wet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250761)

Really? Citation needed? Was your education really that bad?

Re:Water is wet (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250833)

Yes, I work in imaging research, trying to bring about medical imaging progress, with hopefully useful results. I'm not at all motivated by profit. I just want enough money not to starve and enough funding to pay my students and equipment. In the end, in the best possible scenario, it's a zero-sum game.

Re:Water is wet (-1)

sycodon (149926) | about 3 months ago | (#47251233)

Don't bullshit us. If you are working on something that ends up being useful you will make money. Quite a lot of it if you are not a business idiot.

Don't forget that the people who invented the MRI, CAT-Scan, etc. are motivated by profits. You work for money, you are also motivated by profits.

Re:Water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250839)

Certainly the GP's was. Not even cogent, no capitalization or punctuation...

Re:Water is wet (5, Insightful)

blue trane (110704) | about 3 months ago | (#47250713)

Kleinrock and others have explicitly said that economic gain was not a motivation for the beginnings of the internet. And Berners-Lee wasn't interested in profiting from the World Wide Web. How much did Mendel profit from his theory of inheritance? Why didn't Pasteur pursue profits instead of basic research? Were Watson and Crick thinking of money when they thought of the double helix structure of DNA?

Consider also that the Human Genome Project outcompeted Ventner's for-profit attempt.

Re:Water is wet (2, Interesting)

machineghost (622031) | about 3 months ago | (#47250783)

While I agree in part with what you wrote the reality is none of the value of those inventions would have been realized without profit. Hell, if someone hadn't made a profit and donated it to Mendel's monastary he would have died in the street instead of inventing genetics.

Re:Water is wet (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251377)

You're confusing "profit" with "money".

St. Thomas's Abbey was almost certainly paid for by the tithes of working people. You have to have a pretty twisted view of the world to consider a peasant's meager wages to be "profit".

Re:Water is wet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251419)

So you are a true believer? In the face of evidence to the contrary, you maintain your beliefs.

Re:Water is wet (4, Interesting)

ArmoredDragon (3450605) | about 3 months ago | (#47251075)

The problem is you have to compare the internet before it was profit driven against after it was profit driven. Sure, the TCP/IP suite is good and all, but without an underlying infrastructure it's kind of useless. That underlying infrastructure very often involves trenching and stringing wire across with old fashioned labor. Nobody is going to do that kind of labor at that kind of a scale simply out of the goodness of their heart. At some point they're going to want a return on that investment.

A few things to take into consideration:

1) The original e-mail SMTP implementation was designed under the assumption that it could very well take multiple days to deliver an email. This is because the internet was mostly volunteer driven, and some links weren't open until the volunteers took the time to make them available. (Otherwise why even have SMTP? Why not just send your email directly from your client to the destination server? Keep in mind the spam problem didn't exist back then, so there were no anti-spam motivations for doing so, rather it was purely due to what was a discontiguous internet.) It wasn't until there was a profit motive of an ISP to provide "always on" peering arrangements.

2) Recall numerous times when those behind it said that the original design was never intended to be as big as it is now. That is because before there was big money to be made, most WAN links were pretty damn slow. Where we now have Frame Relay and ATM, there used to be X.25

3) Completely state of the art WAN equipment is hugely profit driven. HFC traders are well known to have some of the fastest and by far the most reliable links that they (not governments, not nonprofits or volunteers) commissioned to be built, which they also lease to other third parties (although these third parties get lower priority QoS, they still benefit from overall faster communication than had they used other links.) Some of the most state of the art networking equipment is also profit driven (like them or not, Cisco has done a HUGE service to the internet with all of the contributions they've made to networking on well more than one occasion, and they're very profit driven. They also provide emergency volunteer services as well though, see Cisco's TacOps team.)

4) You think the Emerald Express transatlantic cable would be under construction by purely volunteers? Look at the kind of work required to build that.

Re:Water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251421)

The original e-mail SMTP implementation was designed under the assumption that it could very well take multiple days to deliver an email. This is because the internet was mostly volunteer driven, and some links weren't open until the volunteers took the time to make them available.

Volunteer driven? Is this true?

Re:Water is wet (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47251457)

Volunteer driven? Is this true?

After the military involvement it was mostly educational involvement.

Re:Water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251273)

Also these people are not in business programs... They are inventors/doctors/researchers etc and have very different motivations.

Re:Water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251559)

Exactly, and no one needed to go into space to develop computers, by the dawn of the space age computers were already on the scene.

Re:Water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251627)

wow, you mean Bill Gates is wrong? How could that be, he is always right. Or is he?

Re:Water is wet (2)

davydagger (2566757) | about 3 months ago | (#47250787)

thats somewhat bullshit. Scientists do science for the sake of science.

The problem is that we treat scientists as freaks and wierdos so we kinda get to ignore their wants and needs.

Re:Water is wet (0)

sumdumass (711423) | about 3 months ago | (#47250963)

Wrong - well sort of.

Many scientist want to do science for the sake of science but the vast majority of them do it for someone profit else they wouldn't have funding. Even gov funding is largely about profits and no matter how you slice it, the funding came from profits somewheee in time.

That being said, i am not surprised byy Gates' comment. Microsoft used to allow certain amounts of pirating wiyhout bitching. They even had licensing terms that allowed operating systems and certain programs to be installed on more than one computer (provided only one instance was being used at a time). This is largely what gave them a foothold into the home markets because business systems could have some functionality duplicated at home before computers were as popular as they became. It just means more profit down the road.

Now that gates is older, he probably cares about more. He probably understands there is more to life than yourself.

Re:Water is wet (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 months ago | (#47251347)

>Many scientist want to do science for the sake of science but the vast majority of them do it for someone profit else they wouldn't have funding. Even gov funding is largely about profits and no matter how you slice it, the funding came from profits somewheee in time.

thats right, no one gives a damn about those fucking scientists, its all about the people paying for their lab. They get paid like fucking crap. There was even an article on the hacker news about it. I wouldn't be damn suprised if the people who invent these fancy cancer drugs would ever be able to afford them if they should need them.

Here is a hint, those scientists would be doing science in any system, without monetary reward.

>Now that gates is older, he probably cares about more. He probably understands there is more to life than yourself.

unbased speculation. He cares about his damn image. He knows its his fucking face on the borg icon. Like gangsters buying their in with god with huge gold crosses and giant donations to the church.

Lets also be honest, who's getting the most credit for curing malaria in africa. Is it the lab technicians that synthesize the drug? Is it the scientists who made the breakthroughs? Is it even the hardworking men who load it on pallets?

No. None of us even know their fucking names.

Its Bill Gates.

Bill Gates is a living example, of what is the American ethos. You make money, anyway you can get it, without a care to anything besides money. Once you make your billions, if you still feel bad about being a capitalist, or not working for charity, give some money to humanitarian aid, go buy some good will. Thats the story Bill Gates leaves us. No amount of bullshit speculation, hyperbole, or storytelling will change that.

Re:Water is wet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250791)

Funny!

I hope you include in that "dramatic increase in human life and health from profit-seeking", the number of dead and wounded as a result of wars stemming from quest for power and profit, and from profit-seeking from developing more effective weapons and other killing mechanisms, like chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons in the last 500 years. Or do you simply hide facts from your consciousness and discount all the negatives, the same as Bill Gates did?

Re:Water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250823)

lol kill yourself

Re:Water is wet (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 3 months ago | (#47250951)

It can very easily be argued that the greatest advancements in the sciences, especially in medicine, have been the result of researchers and inventors seeking to solve problems and diseases that plague humanity and that the subsequent commercialization of those discoveries and creations were not their primary motives and in numerous documented cases antithetical to their desires. (Edison was not one of these.)

Re:Water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251307)

You're assuming mankind's problems are solvable in this model. They are not, nor will they ever be. The reason being that as long as someone wants more than everyone else has, he will exploit people to that end. This has always been happening since capitalism's earliest start, but it's extremely visible now because capitalism continually seeks to increase the divide between the haves and the have nots.

Re:Water is wet (2)

Uecker (1842596) | about 2 months ago | (#47251327)

The dramatic increase in human life an health of the last 500 years has been driven by the ingenuity and hard work of many people. Many of them have not been motivated by profit.

Re:Water is wet (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 months ago | (#47251407)

bullshit, most the dramatic increase in human life and health of the last 500 years has been driven by and is the result of profit-seeking.

Lords were seeking to extract the greatest possible profit from their serfs too, that is not new. Most all improvements to the life of the common man has been hard fought for at the expense of the rich and powerful. True, it has been quite successful at advancing science and technology but the world would not have stood still on curiosity, ingenuity and altruism either. And lately the trickle down effect that created the middle class has slowed considerably and the rich are again pulling away from the rest, where Marx saw machines and factories it's now software and data centers that generate billions while the jobs are outsourced to the cheapest corners of the earth.

Re:Water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251417)

Another person who believes the magic hand of the market solves everthying when history shows most great things have been done inspite of people looking to make a profit.

How many great things Didbt get don ebecause some one conserative with a small 'c' said "theres no profit in that"?

Re:Water is wet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251535)

No, it came because of antibiotics and germ theory, municipal sewage treatment and potable water supply.

So says the richest man in the world... (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 3 months ago | (#47250577)

Cartoon lightening should hit gates in his weedy little head. What a hilarious hypocrite.

Tell you what, Gates... after I hit 70 billion I'll stop making it all about the money too. What a giant joke.

Yes, gates does a lot of very nice charity work around the world... and that's lovely. But he didn't just hop on a couch airplane and then do relief work in africa for years. The man amassed an insane fortune and then casually jet sets around the world making appearences for his charities. Don't get me wrong... he writes checks that clear. But that's his contribution to all these issues... writing checks. And that's very important... but to do that you have to have money. If you don't you can't do that.

So... I'm a little confused about his message. Because if I judged him by his actions... the sensible thing would seem to be... make billions of dollars by any means and then retire to run various charities and tell people what a good person you've always been.

I don't know... this charity kick that some of the super rich go off on seems like more of a donation to the "Everyone love me" fund. I frankly respect the anonymous donations more in most cases simply because you know they actually care more about the cause then they do about what people think of them.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47250629)

Or perhaps in the spirit of Alfred Nobel, he's merely seeking a better mention in history.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (4, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | about 3 months ago | (#47250721)

Or maybe he started out with a ruthless bloodlust for destroying all competitors and slowly grew up. And retired and tried to do something useful.

And figured out that his MSFT business approach was counter-productive as far as bettering the world goes.

Hey, it could happen. Maybe.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 3 months ago | (#47250777)

So... before leaving the company you built with those tactics... Oh, I don't know. Maybe open up a bit?

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 months ago | (#47250781)

I've got this mental image of John D. Rockefeller handing out shiny new dimes to homeless orphans for the benefit of the photographers...

If he wants to be well remembered (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 months ago | (#47251025)

If he wants to be well remembered for his charity only, he will have to kill the monster he created to amass his filthy lucre. Otherwise what evil it does when he unleashes it will taint his legacy still.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 3 months ago | (#47251177)

If you look at his wealth historically you can see if he had some sort of revelation and is now feeling bad about how he fucked people over. His wealth is increasing annually, not decreasing, so there is no reformation.

Same old same old in my opinion. If he got no tax breaks for doing charity work, he would not be doing charity work. I'm not his CPA, but I'm guessing that his "charity" ends where the tax breaks end. His charity work also happens to be largely philanthropic, but I don't agree with his version of philanthropy and believe it's harming society much more then benefiting it.

If I met him, I may be persuaded to have a different opinion. Perhaps he could demonstrate how he's really not abusing the charity work for tax purposes, and show me how his philanthropy is supposed to work over time so it's not as nefarious as it seems. I won't hold my breath for that to happen.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251315)

Or perhaps in the spirit of Alfred Nobel, he's merely seeking a better mention in history.

Actually, I think he has Andrew Carnegie [wikipedia.org] as his model.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250673)

It's more about how he ripped people and companies off, or killed their products by any means possible.

But think about it. Who better to describe how you should not be all about the money, than the guy who screwed everyone he could out of their money, including after he was already the richest man in the world.

How much do you think he'd donate if he didn't get a tax deduction for donating the money? My guess would be close to zero, unless, as you say, he either saw it as dues to the everyone loves me fund, or, he saw it as another way to make money in the long run. Personally, I view him a lot like many of the other robber barons in the U.S. history books. They, or their children, donated lots of money when income taxes starting taking a bite...and/or when their names were dirt and it started making them socially undesirable...so donate a few libraries, a few buildings in colleges, a few performing arts centers, and viola, you're in the socialite set.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 3 months ago | (#47250893)

It's voila, not viola. There is this old DOS game, the Merchant Prince, where you can throw parties, etc, and the game is all about profit, difference is prices, also bribing cities, local rule, church, pope, silly corruptions, silly pirates, private armies, and it's all in the name of profit, how profit controls activity and seeking it makes the world a better place, and it does describe the best way to world ever functioned, right before the Lord Almighty, or powers that be, decided to take Columbus over to this other place called Columbia, and bring this kind of world over too - with churches, gunpowder, horses, sail ships, etc, colleges, sciences, etc. Now the Great Spirit regrets a lot of it, especially losing so many of his people, and I had this dream, like a year ago, where they say we lost so many of our brothers, there is only a few of us left, like you can count it on two hands, and they point up to the top of the cliff-hilltop, where a small white colored church with a cross on top is standing, as in, that is part of the problem, or cause, that christian brotherly love hypocrisy is what destroyed us because it's so powerful, and then there is an ambulance rushing, and cops, somebody got shot again, it's one of my people again, and you can see he is in tremendous pain and bleeding from the gut, but still alive, and they did it fighting over the women.

Over a decade and a half ago I saw this PBS documentary, with a native american on a reservation saying he accepted the Lord three years ago, then. And you can tell on his face, his words, his body language what a rape-job that was, how that robbed him of everything that he used to be. Now he probably gets good food, an easier living, etc. But that kind of stuff is just plain wrong. Forced conversions of Great Spirit believers by the Judeo-Christian powers that be are not in accordance with the ways of God.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 3 months ago | (#47250971)

By the way you can hit the top score in that game if you construct a road running a bunch of Camels from Katsina to Novgorod, if you luck out with a Katsina with lots of diamonds, not just ivory, and you attack Cairo to lose access rights so you don't get a screen pop up every time you go through it. Every time you get an attack or storm and hit Esc you don't have to fight it, that's like a cheat. Also it takes forever if you get involved in politics, so if you just focus on one thing, trading, and nothing else, you'll end up losing half of everything when you have 400,000 florins, then 800,000 florins, every time Venice gets sacked, and the banks where you keep your money in there get sacked,(which you could have avoided by hiring private armies to defend the city and banks where you keep your gold) but can fairly easily get to 1,000,000 florins which gets you the Merchant Prince title in the score log. After that the game gets kinda boring, but it's a nice game to have for the next generations to learn.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 3 months ago | (#47251041)

I hate javascript and this xmlhttprequest stuff, cuz I never know if the typos up there I typed myself or someone snuck them in while I was down the page. I mean most of them I probably did myself, but some are weird and creepy, like no way!

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 2 months ago | (#47251599)

It's voila, not viola.

Actually it's voilà, with a grave accent over the a.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250683)

...Or as the richest man in the world he knows better than anyone else in the world that money doesn't solve all the problems.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#47250879)

All? No. But, you know, most people who do NOT have that kind of money don't even realize that they could have problems like Bill Gates because they're busy worrying about REAL problems. Like, say, how to make ends meet.

Realizing that money can't buy immortality when you hit 90 and notice that the fifth liver transplant failed because, well, you're too old is one thing. Not being able to afford life saving medication at 30 is another one. In other words, the second person doesn't even live long enough to find out that money won't solve all his problems.

It only solves enough problems that you live to notice that it doesn't solve them all.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 3 months ago | (#47250995)

He seems to live pretty well for a guy ashamed of his money.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

Livius (318358) | about 3 months ago | (#47250717)

What a hilarious hypocrite.

Most hypocrites do not realize that everyone else considers hypocrisy a bad thing.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 3 months ago | (#47250847)

Its not that hypocrisy is bad so much as its frequently contradictory.

Their words do not match their actions and that has to be reconciled if they're giving advice.

For example, if you're a heavy smoker and want to caution against smoking... say "I've been a heavy smoker for most of my life and regret it... don't be like me."...

Well, gates isn't doing that. he's basically saying that people should go out to do something besides make money but that's exactly what he did and most people would be very happy to be in his position.

Seriously... would you rather run an impoverished charity or have 70 billion in the bank?

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 3 months ago | (#47251043)

Hypocrisy is not always bad though. I smoke, i tell my kids not to and will punish them if i catch them smoking. A neighbor from years ago broke his neck back yard wrestling- after the then WWF said do not do this at home. His then idol, jake the snake roberts did the same shit he did. Luckily, he wasn't paralyzed. I know a guy who dropped out of school but tells kids to stay in school.

Some hypocrisy is good, some inconsequential, and some bad. And most of that is subject to interpretation too.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 3 months ago | (#47250817)

He's not even really done since he continues to manage an investment portfolio that accumulates wealth at scale that is probably detrimental to the average consumer or retiree

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47250825)

There are arguably two possibilities:

1. He's a hypocrite who got filthy rich and now also wishes to indulge his jaded palate in the pleasures of self-righteousness.

2. He learned something, arguably the hard way, when becoming richer than god failed to provide any substantial hedonic benefits that merely being wealthy enough to avoid the overt pains of poverty didn't.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about 3 months ago | (#47250837)

If "The cost of something is what you give up to obtain it", then Bill Gates has 'spent' very little on his charity work. Not trying to diminish the importance of his charity - I'm sure the recipients of his donations are very grateful. But let's not pretend that this man is a shining example of moral perfection for all to follow.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250925)

"If everyone does what I did, the world would suck SO bad"

    -- Bill Gates

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 3 months ago | (#47251095)

Preaching water while drinking wine. It's what you call a good sense of humor.

Re:So says the richest man in the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47251133)

The charity thing is good for PR... but lets not forget the basic underlying reason why all these billionaires donate at all - tax write-offs. The only reason they started is because 1. They can afford it and 2. They're going to have to spend the money one way or another, might as well get a tax break and some nice PR too.

Oh shit, Mr. Gates! (2, Insightful)

Narcocide (102829) | about 3 months ago | (#47250605)

Did you suddenly realize that no matter how many children you save from Malaria you will still go down in history as "part of the problem?"

Re:Oh shit, Mr. Gates! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47251145)

>Did you suddenly realize that no matter how many children you save from Malaria you will still go down in history as "part of the problem?"

Ha. Bet you can't name how Carnegie and Rockefeller were "part of the problem" without looking it up. Gates isn't going to have the slightest problem.

Some say (2)

jmd (14060) | about 3 months ago | (#47250613)

Profit IS the problem adbusters.org

Re:Some say (2)

machineghost (622031) | about 3 months ago | (#47250855)

I don't think even adbusters would argue entirely against profit ... they're anti-excessive profit, anti-corporation, anti-marketing, etc. but even they recognize we can't all go back to subsitence farming. The ability to profit, and subsequently trade those profits to other people for things you can't produce yourself, is necessary for any viable economic system.

profits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250617)

of course its in his best interest to tell grads to not focus on profits. the less profits for the grads the more profits for the tech companies.

just trying to thin the competition (1)

dltaylor (7510) | about 3 months ago | (#47250681)

Again.

Common plight (1)

ACNiel (604673) | about 3 months ago | (#47250739)

A lot of people have also said this when he started his charitable foundation.

Some of the robber barons of yesteryear also fell to this thing they call a concience. Carnegie with the libraries, etc.

They are so caught up in winning, they don't realize what they sacrificed until after their are done. When no one will play with them anymore, they realize what they have done.

Re:Common plight (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47250889)

There's also mortality salience: bottomless pockets certainly buy better medical outcomes than penury does; but until somebody comes up with a way of shoving the EOL numbers for humans, rather than merely curing more of the causes of premature death, no amount of money keeps you from feeling your body's gradual decline and the gnawing proximity of incipient death.

For now, there are some things money can't buy. Inconveniently for those who have it, they include the stuff of some of humanity's oldest and darkest fears.

Oblig Soviet Russia joke (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 months ago | (#47250741)

In Soviet Russia, Bill Gates thinks YOU'RE a hypocrite.

Easy for him to say. (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 3 months ago | (#47250757)

Thats really damn easy for Bill Gates to say. He did some pretty unethical things for profit.

But no wait, in the business world, ethics are proportional to profits.

Re:Easy for him to say. (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 months ago | (#47250859)

But no wait, in the business world, ethics are inversely proportional to profits.

FTFY

Bill Gates can fuck off (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250759)

When he has more money than hundreds of millions of people and gives advice on not being greedy? Fuck off.

Re:Bill Gates can fuck off (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47250909)

To give credit where it is due, Bill Gates providing advice on avoiding greed is no more insane than the pope providing advice on morally acceptable sexual conduct, and popes have been getting away with that for centuries.

Like repenting on your deathbed (1)

cupantae (1304123) | about 3 months ago | (#47250805)

It's very easy to tell people not to focus on profit when you've already made yours. I'm also adding my voice to the "Fuck Gates" camp. What he gives away is a small price to pay to when you consider what he's got left over. He manages to lose the reputation he should have for poisoning the technology industry in every way he could get away with for his own benefit, and still keep the vast majority of the profits. What a villain.

Re:Like repenting on your deathbed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47251051)

ONLY PROFIT is the keyword he uses, you are commenting and thinking like a poor person...

Gates is right (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 3 months ago | (#47250869)

The general interest is that smart people work to help humanity and make no profit.

The smart people particular interest is to work to make profit.

In other words, Gates defended his personal interest and now defends the general interest by telling people to do what he says and not what he did.

Re:Gates is right (1)

seebs (15766) | about 3 months ago | (#47250939)

That's not obvious at all. I am pretty sure I could make more money doing other things, but I enjoy the things I do now more. Your best interest isn't necessarily what makes you the most money.

A warning to the young (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47250901)

When I was young in the nineteen sixties, I listened to Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jefferson Airplane, and all the other bullshit idealism. We were going to make a better world, eschewing wealth, war, and capitalism.

Fact: 50 years later, my life is less than optimal, while Dylan, Baez, Pete Seeger, Airplane alumni, and others of their ilk all have had comfortable millionaire lives and not a worry in the world. If I had to do it over again, I would ignore all pop culture, save and invest every penny I had. By the time I was fifty years old, I would have been worth a a couple million, but I pissed it away on bullshit idealism.

Don't be fooled by philosophy, love, idealism. In the end, it is only money that makes life worth living. Sure we can sing songs about the contrary, but I'd like to see those Dylanesque pied pipers, who sold us those lies, give away their millions and trade places with me.

Re:A warning to the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251475)

Thanks. I needed that.

A truism: Profit is more valuable than charity. (4, Insightful)

quietwalker (969769) | about 3 months ago | (#47250965)

Aside from the literal connotations, profit is potentially more valuable than charity to charitable work itself.

Let's say you want to help decrease the spread of disease in africa. You can get the necessary training, go to africa, and along with thousands of others, actually DO that, and you'll have an obvious impact.

Or, like the folks he's talking to, you could go to a prestigious college, get a fancy degree, and potentially land a job that can pay for 3 or 4 people to perform the duties of the charitable worker above, while still maintaining a very comfortable lifestyle. You could even end up higher in a profitable company, where you direct millions of dollars to aid programs just for tax breaks, if not altruism.

So it's a problem to encourage new grads to focus on charity. They are at the peak of their earning potential, and no matter how you look at it, focusing on altruism is a quick way to retard their ability to make potentially world-changing decisions later, when their potential has been realized.

The view most cultures have for this sort of work is very odd. I think Dan Pallotta spells it out in his TED talk about how we think about charities [ted.com] . We often direct involvement and financial sacrifice as the only acceptable path to social gains.

Re:A truism: Profit is more valuable than charity. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47251255)

focusing on altruism is a quick way to retard their ability to make potentially world-changing decisions later, when their potential has been realized.

Less than half a second after reading that I thought "what about Ghandi - he did exactly that and ended up running a country of hundreds of millions of people". If that's not "world-changing" then what is?

Except when profit actively undermines charity (3, Insightful)

RobinEggs (1453925) | about 2 months ago | (#47251277)

The process of earning your profit can easily counteract the effects of spending your profit on charity, however. The wealthy often realize this paradox when they begin "giving back". The Gates Foundation itself has been accused many times of investing in things that completely undermine its goals. This editorial from 2014 is just one example. [stanforddaily.com] ; I recall hearing similar claims about investments in totally different industries almost 10 years ago

How you get your profit makes a big difference in what net accomplishments your money can achieve. If your earning provides great support to systems that keep poor countries unstable or work against universal improvements for humanity, but then you wish to spend your profits on humanist goals, then what was the point? I'd rather you'd just become a janitor instead of digging holes in human society and then desperately filling them back in, hoping you might create mountains in the process.

Re:A truism: Profit is more valuable than charity. (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 2 months ago | (#47251289)

I agree with most of what you say here. My only addition is that it would be nice if Gates and others would address the contribution gap.

What I mean is, there are many millions of minds who never get the chance to contribute to technology due to circumstantial or financial realities. There is no telling how much progress we could be missing out on. I think that Open Source has been a decent if not stellar vehicle for addressing this, and I wish that Bill Gates would just take a few minutes to think about it from that perspective. I believe the last time he spoke about Open Source in an interview, he had the same childlike opinion he had in the 90s, despite Firefox, OpenOffice, et al.

I can't afford to buy the code of Rise of Nations or to buy any sort of licensing for so doing, but I can think of many ways the game could live on. For me, it was the only piece of Microsoftware I ever truly, truly enjoyed.

For awhile we had an Xbox, and then we sold it when we realized we were only using it for Netflix anymore. When he did his AMA, I asked him to open the code and received no response. [reddit.com] Surely people were asking him more important questions, but still... It was actually why I made a reddit account, LOL.

But if you ask me, Steve Jobs was by far more evil than Bill has ever thought of being. That's only my opinion. Remember, as Jerry Garcia said, choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.

Meanwhile in the Vatican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47251037)

The pope is protesting the molestation of small boys

May I direct your attention to this? (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 3 months ago | (#47251039)

The other Microsoft story, on the exact same page as Bill Gates telling you not to pursue money at all costs, and instead focus on making the world a better place?

Chinese Gov't Reveals Microsoft's Secret List of Android-Killer Patents [slashdot.org]

Right. We acquired all these patents to crush competition and make the phone market a monoculture. To make the world a better place.

The rich are the new communists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47251083)

Don't let the up and coming generation have capital to compete with the established corporations. Establish regulatory regimes making it prohibitive to try and compete without massive capital investment. Patent everything that moves and demand exorbitant licensing fees. Slavery is the new freedom.

Re:The rich are the new communists (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 2 months ago | (#47251305)

Thank you for this. I'd burn 2 mod points upping it if I could. HINT.

Admitting defeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47251115)

Maybe it's his way of admitting defeat to google or apple or some other company that did not just focus on profit.

Pirates of Silicon Valley (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47251195)

Steve: "Our stuff's better Bill."
Bill: "You just don't get it, do you Steve?"

Just like Murdoch's speeches (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47251201)

He wants good subordinates paid for by someone else instead of direct competition.

Don't Hate (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 3 months ago | (#47251221)

Well, when I was 12 years old, I would have said fuck him, he can never make up for the all pain he's put the users of computers worldwide through. But now that I'm grown, I have to say, fuck him, could he please lend me $1M for my startup?

next time i see bill gates (0)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 months ago | (#47251317)

I'm going to kick him in the balls for saying that.

honest profit (5, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about 2 months ago | (#47251367)

The problem isn't with profit, it's with how you make it. Gates made it through monopolistic practices and dirty tricks, mostly in the first world, and mostly profiting from other people's innovations and ideas. In that case, "making a profit" is not useful. But if you actually make a good product that people want to buy, making a profit is a good thing: it indicates that your product satisfies people's needs better than someone else's.

As for Gates, he is trying to salvage his reputation as much as he can.

He's not a hypocrite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47251553)

He's just admitting that it sucks to be Bill Gates - in spite of the billions.

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