Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pitch #7

Pg. 181 – 210

  • when Gates was writing his book about the information highway with Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson, a former reporter for the Seattle Times, he had no literary agent and had not met any publishers himself; instead, the negotiations were conducted by a team from Microsoft
  • when about a dozen publishers expressed interest in the book, Gates demanded an advance of at least $2.5 million with a guaranteed first printing of 500,000 copies. He also expected the publisher to set aside $125,000 for marketing
  • Gates and Myhrvold planned to donate their share of the book royalties to charity
  • by the time the book was published, the information highway envisioned by Gates had changed significantly since he had set Microsoft on an ambitious course he believed would position it as the information highway leader
  • Gates told his employees that Microsoft was placing a “major bet” that the information highway would become a significant growth factor for Microsoft
  • Gates boasted to friends that he told Vice President Al Gore during a meeting that if the government tried to break up Microsoft, he would move the company and all its employees overseas, out of reach of US control
  • he was determined to get the best deal possible in everything
  • although Gates and Clinton played golf together before, they had little in common; Gates liked the president, but found he couldn’t talk to him about anything technical, which was generally a prerequisite for forming a relationship with Gates
  • a survey done by Opinion Research Corporation had found that Gates was #2 on a list of the executives whom Americans most admired
  • Gates’s company had tied with Coco-Cola as America’s third most admired company in a survey of more than 10,000 business executives by Fortune magazine
  • Gates bought the electronic rights to the world’s artworks to display them on giant TV screens on the walls of his mansion
  • Gates bought the Codex Hammer, an original 72-page manuscript of Leonardo da Vinci’s diagrams and notes, for $30.8 million
  • Leonardo da Vinci was one of Gates’s personal heroes
  • Gates greatly admired da Vinci’s scientific genius and vision
  • Gates announced that he would not name the Codex after himself, as Hammer had done. Instead Gates said it would be rechristened the Codex Leicester, its name for more than 200 years of its history
  • Gates promised to share the Codex with the world before permanently installing it at his mansion, by exhibiting it at museums in New York City, Paris, and Seattle

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