Code – Page 3 – God of the Machine
Jun 262002

The adulatory story about Bill Gates in this month’s Fortune repackages virtually every myth that Gates, and his handlers, have ever circulated about himself. We have:

1. Gates the genius.

Time spent with Bill in technology and business reviews is so valuable that Microsofties consider it a currency. They even have a name for it: Bill capital. The board regards his time as a strategic asset to be monitored each quarter.

Then how come nobody ever catches him actually saying anything clever?

2. Gates the programmer. “Gates now devotes most of his time to what he loves best: namely, communing with the geeks who actually build Microsoft’s products.” Communing maybe; programming, no. Gates was never a good programmer — it was Paul Allen who wrote most of the operating system for the Altair — and probably hasn’t written a line of code in twenty years. He quit programming for the same reason he quit the math program at Harvard: the unpleasant realization that there were people who were much, much better at it than he was.
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