When you’re one of only three people to be part of the $100 Billion Club, you haven’t really made that many mistakes along the way.
Still, people like Bill Gates usually reach the top because of their unrelenting pursuit of perfection, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised to hear him admit to what he calls his greatest ever mistake.
Speaking during a conversation with Eventbrite co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz, at an event hosted by venture capital firm Village Global, Gates admitted that his error had cost Microsoft quite a sizeable chunk of money.
Below from Business Insider:
[He] has said that his biggest mistake at Microsoft was allowing Google to develop Android – and it cost the company $400 billion.
“The greatest mistake ever is the whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is, [meaning] Android is the standard non-Apple phone form platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win,” Gates said last week.
“It really is winner take all,” he said. “If you’re there with half as many apps or 90% as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system, and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G [Google] to company M [Microsoft].”
Just the $400 billion blunder there.
Microsoft did try and dabble, with Windows phones launched in 2010. They began to flounder, and were phased out by 2017.
I think it’s also worth mentioning this great passage of the interview, where Gates talks about striking a work/life balance:
I think you could over worship and mythologize the idea of working extremely hard. For my particular makeup — and it really is true that I didn’t believe in weekends; I didn’t believe in vacations; I mean, I knew everybody’s license plate so I could tell you over the last month when their card had come and gone from the parking lot — so I don’t recommend it and I don’t think most people would enjoy it.
Once I got into my 30s, I could hardly even imagine how I had done that. Because by then, some natural behavior kicked in, and I loved weekends. And, you know, my girlfriend liked vacations. And that turned out to be kind of a neat thing. Now I take lots of vacation. My 20-year-old self is so disgusted with my current self. You know, I, I was sure I would never fly anything but coach and you know, now I have a plane.
Take your holidays, Bill – you’ve earned them.
You can see the full interview below:
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