Bill Gates’ Quote

This from the book: The Road Ahead published in 1995. From chapter 3 titled: Lessons From The Computer Industry.

When you have a hot product, investors pay attention to you and are willing to put their money into your company. Smart kids think, Hey, everybody’s talking about this company. I’d like to work there. When one smart person comes to a company, soon another does, because talented people like to work with each other. This creates a sense of excitement. Potential partners and customers pay more attention, and the spiral continues, making the next success easier.

The Road Ahead: Completely Revised and Up-to-DateConversely, there is a negative spiral companies can get caught in, A company in a positive spiral has an air of destiny, while one in a negative spiral feels doomed. If a company starts to lose market share or delivers one bad product, the talk becomes “Why do you work there?” “Why would you invest in that company?” “I don’t think you should buy from them.” The press and analysts smell blood and begin telling inside stories about who’s quarreling and who’s responsible for mismanagement. Customers begin to question whether, in the future, they should continue to buy the company’s products. Within a sick company everything is questioned, including things that are being done well. Even a fine strategy can get dismissed with the argument “You are just defending the old way,” and that can cause more mistakes. Then down the company spirals. Leaders such as Lee Iacocca who have been able to reverse a negative spiral deserve a lot of credit.

I found the quote humorous 12 year after it was written. Microsoft is now the company that is languishing with the world wanting to know “who’s quarreling and who’s responsible for mismanagement” at the mother ship.

I found this book in the local library. It had been donated, but had not yet made it to the shelves. It is a first edition, first printing. Funny, but I cannot imagine there needing to be a second or third printing. I do know there were other editions.

I read the book back about 10 years ago. It is interesting to read it now. If you don’t know about the book, he basically looks at “the information highway” and tries to predict where we will be 10 years in the future. I am only on chapter 3 right now, but it has been interesting the thing he has gotten right, and humorous the things he has missed horribly.

I plan to give some examples along the way as I read this. In the mean time, i found this “10 years later” review.

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