Friday, June 27, 2008

History in the making

What would I do if a friend from school asked me to drop my career and join his startup? What would I do if I had a vision that I really believed in? Not just a great idea, but a vision of how the world would be 20 years from now. And the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat and make it happen. Do I leave everything and go after it? Or do I sigh and get back to my life and let somebody else grab the opportunity? I doubt if I’d have the courage to leave everything and follow a dream. But this man, and his friends, had the courage and conviction to act on a vision so far out that, at the time, even they could not imagine the enormity of it.

Yes, I’m talking about Bill Gates. Today is his last day as a full time employee of the company he founded. In an employee town hall a couple of hours back, he and Steve Ballmer talked about how they met and became friends. About the time the two of them went out to watch 'A Clockwork Orange'. How Bill convinced Steve to drop out of his MBA to join Microsoft. About how in spite of its size, Microsoft is a lean and agile company; and how they expect things to be down the road. And the foundation and the work it’s doing. But the most memorable moment would be the time when, towards the end of the brief talk, Steve became overwhelmed with emotion as he talked about his gratitude to Bill; and Bill who had managed to remain composed until then was seen wiping away tears.

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