Re: Bill Gates

Geoff Smith (
Fri, 3 Oct 1997 17:52:55 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 3 Oct 1997, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> >> [Bill Gates's less-than-enthusiastic comment on cryonics]
> >
> > Good riddance. Hopefully Microsoft will follow suit! No more bulky,
> > unstable software.
> >
> > geoff.
> How nice of you to wish death upon the one man who has done more
> for humanity than any other in history. And I'm not just saying that
> because he fed me for a year.

Wow! (I think that's already been said ;)
I never really thought of any one person doing more for humanity than any
other in history. Bill Gates is an interesting choice. If I had to
choose, I would say the most important man in history would be someone who
spread the most infectious pro-science, pro-free market,
pro-individualist memes. (any ideas?) Although he is a good model of the
modern capitalist (exluding government deals), I wouldn't say there are
too many people out there who have been profoundly influences by his
memes. Maybe I'm wrong?

> Absent actual physical coercion,

Is a hypnotic or subliminal advertisement "physical coercion"?

> absolutely anything one does to
> cajole as many people as possible to give you money--voluntarily--
> is, by definition, providing a benefit to them.

What benefit are con artists to their victims?

I see what you are trying to say, but I think you have made too general a

Maybe you could make a more specific economic statement like : "Humanity
reaps the greatest benefits when the market is consistently cleared
(supply=demand) and productive output per capita is maximized."

> Except to the small
> extent of MS's government contracts (a /very/ small part of its
> business) which are not paid for voluntarily, every penny of the
> world's richest man's fortune came from people who /chose/ to give
> it because they derived benefit from his products.

Can't argue with that. I don't really wish death to Microsoft, just
healthy competition. Maybe Linux will go public? (or has it already?) Of
course, if I really want competition that badly, I'll have to start
writing that new OS right now...

> Regardless of
> how grudgingly they may have felt about being locked in, or how much
> they lied to themselves about wanting reliable software (no one
> really wants reliable software, they just think they do), the fact
> is that they signed the checks.

True, but it was for compatibilities sake. Microsoft's domination seems
to be an example of positive feedback: the more people have Microsoft
software, the more other people want to buy it so they can have compatible
software. Do you have any ideas on how this monopoly might be felled?
(which to me seems inevitable, but I'm not sure how)

> Despite the fact that Microsoft never really invented anything novel,
> ignores standards, bullies its competitors, and does lots of other
> things people might not like, the world would be a much darker and
> poorer place without heroes like Gates,

But not necessarily Gates. If Gates didn't do it, someone else probably
would have. The question is: would they have done a better job?

> who do the Right Thing for
> whatever reasons. Motives don't count--results do, and Bill Gates
> gets results.
> When I awake from my suspension, I'd much rather see a world with
> Bill Gates than some worthless whiner like Marc Andreesen.

Pardon my ignorance... who's Marc Andreesen?

(maybe this is a good example of who has had the better memes?)