Friday, June 27, 2008

Bill Gates Reinvents Himself

The last day at work can be a melancholy business as well as the springboard for a new career. But what if the person in question is one of the most successful entrepreneurs the world has ever known? Is there any way he can reinvent himself to compare with what he has already achieved?

If anyone can pull it off, it is Bill Gates. Today is his last day at Microsoft. From now on, Gates will dedicate himself to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and to his stated aim to rid the world of deadly diseases and malnutrition through a combination of technology, medicine, money, management and expertise. That, plus improve the state of K-12 public education in the United States where a million kids drop out of schools every year, plus ensure that teachers have the right tools to motivate and inspire, plus …

“Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?” Robert Browning’s exhortation to attempt the impossible resonates with all but only a few get to experience it. Gates has the passion, the commitment and, of course, the resources to succeed but even if he is partially successful in his “Mission Impossible,” he will have touched people’s lives on a scale that may surpass what he accomplished through Microsoft.

Microsoft will continue to be a dominant technology player for years to come but the truth is that the torch has passed to a new generation of technology visionaries, epitomized by a company called Google. You can take on the new competitors, or you can take on an even bigger challenge – to prove through action that “every life has equal value.”

Is this the road less traveled by that, in the end, will have made all the difference? Who can say? What is clear is that Bill Gates has chosen to make a difference in the lives of people around the world who desperately need a helping hand simply to survive, and that transcends technology, software, and the demands of an unforgiving marketplace.

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