This Is What Bill Gates Says Makes Him Feel Powerless
Bill Gates got his Reddit Ask Me Anything on again today, dishing lightly about everything from his disappointingly neutral take on Apple’s battle with the FBI to his favorite foods (sushi and Thai) and beyond. And then there was that awkward high school pic recreation. But let’s move on -- quickly.
The brief Q&A session, Gates’ fourth so far on the popular social network, afforded us another revealing glimpse into the billionaire tech mogul’s mind. Here are the four juiciest tidbits from his AMA this morning, ICYMI:
1. He’s seriously sweating terrorists, too.
His main worry: whether we can stop them from extinguishing millions of us with advanced weapons. “The problem of how we prevent a small group of terrorists using nuclear or biological means to kill millions is something I worry about,” he said when asked about a problem that makes him feel completely powerless, “as a billionaire.” He continued: “If Government does their best work they have a good chance of detecting it and stopping it but I don't think it is getting enough attention and I know I can't solve it.”
2. His appetite for books keeps him awake at night.
When asked how he “attacks” a book he’s interested in, Gates noted that it helps to be a fast reader. Known for being a voracious reader, he also shared that he always completes a book once he starts it and only reads two books at a time. He reads so much, in fact, that it cuts into his sleep schedule. “I read a lot at night and my biggest problem is that I stay up to[o] late and regret it the next day when I haven’t had as much sleep as I like.”
3. He totally blew off classes at Harvard.
Like fellow self-taught coder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, Gates played hooky a lot at Harvard. That doesn’t mean he didn’t study, though. “I studied super hard during reading period and almost always got A's.” Except for that time when he didn’t. “The big exception was organic chemistry where the promised video tapes of the lectures sometimes had no sound or no video -- that spooked me and I ended up getting a C+ in the course!”
When asked what his “fondest memory” was at the Ivy League school, he said it was skipping classes he was signed up for and attending classes he wasn’t sign up for. Not that it mattered in the end: He dropped out of Harvard in 1973 and founded Microsoft with his childhood pal Paul Allen two years later. And the rest, as they say, is history.
4. He’s tight with the buck when it comes to his wardrobe.
But he springs for nice duds for the love of his life, wife Melinda. When asked about purchases that he’s “adamant about being frugal over,” Gates mentioned that he doesn’t like splurging on clothes and jewelry for himself. “I think people’s spending instincts are set when they are in high school.” For some people, fashion instincts are stuck in the past, too.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, also per the Q&A, Gates isn’t running for president, was obsessed with computer programming as a teenager and dances mostly at weddings.
Ahead of today’s AMA sesh, Gates also shared some interesting questions he says he gets asked a lot. If you’re curious, check it out below:
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.