Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pitch #5

Pg. 121 – 150

  • Gates’s best man = Steve Ballmer
  • Gates’s wedding: held in Hawaii, on a tiny island of Lanai, in a golf course at the Manele Bay Hotel
  • Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer’s friendship went back to their days together at Harvard
  • when Gates had dropped out of school in his sophomore year to found Microsoft with Paul Allen, he had called Ballmer to become one of his most trusted advisors
  • Gates had turned to Ballmer in 1984 to lead what would become a death march to develop Microsoft’s first Windows program after it fell far behind schedule and threatened to sink the company
  • Gates had long felt the pressure to marry
  • Mary Gates, Gates’s mother, had summoned all her strength to be at the wedding although she was fatally ill with cancer
  • bride: Melinda French
  • many of Microsoft’s rivals speculated how a change in marital status would affect Gates’s first love – Microsoft
  • his life as a bachelor had been the subject of much media humour
    cartoonist Berkeley Breathed modeled his comic strip antihero Bachelor Tycoon after Gates
  • ever since then, Gates was also known as the Bachelor Tycoon
  • during his years in college, Gates rarely dated
  • however, he liked to frequent Boston’s notorious Combat Zone, with its porn shows, strip joints, and prostitutes
  • Gates’s first serious girlfriend: Jill Bennett
  • during their dating period, Bennett found a sensitive side in Gates: “Although he hides it well with his hard-core exterior, and certainly will not admit it, Bill’s feelings get hurt easily”
  • they broke up because Gates couldn’t make time for the relationship
  • Melinda French is nine years younger than Gates
  • they met a company function soon after she went to work for Microsoft
  • at first glance, they have little in common
  • Melinda was an avid runner and hiker who also enjoyed the theater; Gates had never exhibited interest in any activity that smacked of drudgery; Melinda was poised and gracious and looked like the girl next door, in contrast to Gates’s “nerdy” dress and manners
  • Melinda was also smart, well-read, and extremely driven, just like Gates
  • Gates: a well-known womanizer
  • Gates and Microsoft spoon-fed stories to industry writers for papers, so his womanizing was not well reported
  • Gates threw wild bachelor parties in his Seattle home, in which Gates visited one of Seattle’s all-nude nightclubs and hired dancers to come to his home and swim naked with his friends in his indoor pool
  • because Melinda was well aware of Gates’s womanizing, their relationship ran hot and cold
    Gates received the National Medal of Technology in a ceremony in the Rose Garden, from President George Bush
  • Gates was worried that he would be too old to enjoy his children if he waited much longer to marry
  • the $50 million high-tech home he was building on Lake Washington included a children’s wing, complete with an extra room for a nanny
  • Gates had sought reassurances from friends that he was doing the right thing in contemplating marriage
  • jumping over a table: a feat that Gates had enjoyed performing in female company for many years
  • “Even though Bill’s mother had urged him to marry Melinda, he was not going to be pressured, even by his mother, until he was sure she was the one,” said a Gates family friend
  • Gates bought Melinda a diamond ring so big that she had to place one had over the ring to hide it from the public. On one occasion, she had to place a coffee cup on her hand to hide the ring
  • “I think Bill sees this as a great step in his life; in some sense, simplifying his life. Now there is just one person, instead of dozens… in many ways, it was almost inevitable he would end up marrying someone at Microsoft. If you are going to be Bill Gates’s wife, you are going to be part of Microsoft, or you are only going to participate in a very small segment of his life,” said Vern Raburn, a longtime friend of Gates
  • Ann Winbald, Gates’s former girlfriend, now a very close friend, commented, “I don’t think Bill views marriage as a legal agreement. He views it as more of a long-term commitment of love.”
  • Gates told Raburn that he would now be more focused than ever since the matter of his marital status was no longer something that would consume his time or his thoughts. “If anybody thinks being married is going to lessen my intensity, they are in for a surprise!” – Bill Gates
  • although Melinda was engaged to the chairman, she continued her job as a Microsoft manager, and wanted no special treatment
  • Gates was concerned about Melinda’s safety. “After all, she was going to marry one of the richest men in the world, and there are a lot of crazy people out there,” said one of the residents of the neighborhood Melinda grew up in
  • hard-working Bill Gates had never before taken more than one week’s vacation at a time before his three-week vacation in Africa with Melinda and 10 friends
  • Gates was not religious, though Melinda was a devout Roman Catholic
  • fed misinformation in order to mislead the media about their wedding
  • Gates footed the entire wedding bill, which was well over a million dollars
  • Gates surprised his new wife on New Year’s Eve, the day before their wedding day, on the private beach below the hotel, with a performance by Willie Nelson, her favourite singer
  • Gates took the death of his mother very hard – “I am the son of Mary Gates, and she was a wonderful woman. Not many adult sons are as proud of their mother as I was.”
  • “Although his mother had a major influence on him, Melinda will have much more. She will be able to help Bill even more than he realizes,” said one of Gates’s best male friends

1 comment:

Noel Antoine said...

interesting and very informative. out of curiosity, where did you get the info that bill gates was a womanizer? the fact that you mention he and his colleagues has also tried to hide it by feeding the press stories makes the subject matter all the more mysterious and fascinating to me. it's a side of him that i have a hard time wrapping my mind around. i just don't see him as the casanova type. he's too nerdy and seemingly shy.