EppsNet Archive: Bill Gates

“I Need to Pay Higher Taxes,” Says Bill Gates

19 Feb 2018 /

Tax chart

If Bill Gates really believed that, he could decide how much he “should” pay, subtract it from what he’s required to pay, and send Uncle Sam a check for the difference. Which he doesn’t do.

Gates was talking about taxes in the context of the recent tax bill not being progressive enough for his liking.

“People who are wealthier tended to get dramatically more benefits than the middle class or those who are poor,” he said.

Bill Gates is as smart as anyone I can think of, so I think his remarks are disingenuous rather than uninformed.

People who are “wealthier” (“people with higher incomes” would be more accurate) benefit more from income tax cuts because they pay dramatically more in taxes to begin with (see chart).

For example, the top 1 percent of earners pay almost as much into the federal income tax pool (38 percent) as the bottom 95 percent combined (41 percent).

That may not bother you a great deal if you’re not in the top 1 percent (neither am I) but it’s something to consider when we talk about people paying their “fair share.”

I’ve heard Warren Buffett say the same thing about paying more taxes, but he doesn’t cut Uncle Sam a bonus check either. In fact, Buffett is giving most of his money to Bill Gates.

Every Form of Harassment is Okay — Except One

28 Nov 2017 /

How did we decide that sexual harassment is the one category of workplace abuse, incidences of which require national outrage and loss of employment?

Ideally, we would all have the prudence and restraint not to make sexual advances toward people over whose career we hold sway, but it happens.

And yet we’ve all been harassed and ill-used in the workplace in other ways by someone more powerful, someone who negatively impacted our career by embarrassing us, intimidating us, undermining us, lying to us, lying about us, stealing the credit for our work . . . it goes on and on.

Rarely do negative consequences accrue to the harasser.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, for example, was known for being abrasive, dismissive, shouting down colleagues, blaming others when things didn’t work out and occasionally wrapping himself in glory that rightly belonged elsewhere.

Did this torpedo his career? Hardly. He’s an American icon.

(In other Pixar news, John Lasseter likes to hug people. He’s now a pariah.)

Bill Gates never hesitated to tell people how dumb they were and how stupid their ideas were. In spite of this, Gates also managed to have a good career.

You can fill in your own additional examples. There are plenty to choose from.

Like sexual harassment, the options for dealing with other forms of workplace harassment are 1) report it; 2) quit; 3) decide that you need or want the job enough to remain silent and take what’s dished out.

I’ve usually taken option 1 or 2. Maybe I would have had a better career with more frequent exercise of option 3 . . . false pleasantries toward people I didn’t like, faux respect toward people I didn’t respect . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Baldness vs. Malaria

25 Oct 2014 /

Why is there so much more research done on baldness than on malaria? Because rich people go bald, and they don’t die of malaria.

Common Core Testing

18 Oct 2014 /

A colleague posted this on the office discussion board:

OK. So a good friend of mine teaches Math in our Middle School and we’re constantly talking about the various standardized tests that we subject our kids too (he currently has my 7th grade daughter for Intermediate Algebra).

The students are taking ForeSight tests this week. Sort of a practice for the PSSA tests later in the year.

This morning he texted me a math problem from the 7th grade ForeSight test and asked if I could solve it.

So I solved it using simple amortization, but none of the possible answers match (or are close to) my solution. So I went online to solve it and got the same solution that I got by hand.

Anyone care to take a crack at this problem – a typical example of a 7th grade standardized test math question?

PS. My teacher friend couldn’t solve it either.

PPS If you feel like the problem might be missing some information, welcome to the club, nevertheless, this is how the kids have to solve it.

Math problem

I don’t have a kid in school anymore so I’m missing out on all the fun related to Common Core and whatever ForeSight and PSSA are. I hear a lot of parents and teachers complaining about Common Core. I know Bill Gates likes it and he’s a smart guy.

The complaints from parents, like the one above, seem to be mostly about testing. Most of the respondents on the office discussion board agreed that this was a terrible question but I don’t have a real problem with it. “Net worth” is used a little bit loosely as it doesn’t take into account the value of the car, but I think it’s obvious what the question is asking.

I remember when my kid was taking junior high math that there was an emphasis on estimation and “ballparking” calculations. Don’t do more work than you need to. So I’d expect to see someone solve the problem like this: After making 6 payments, Jessie shouldn’t owe more than he borrowed so eliminate B and C. Answer A suggests that he’s paid down 800-something dollars, which is wrong because 6 times 112 is less than 800. So the only possible answer is D. Trying to do an amortization calculation is not the right approach to the problem.

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

7 Apr 2014 /
Emblem of the Papacy

If you don’t know me and I don’t know you, don’t call me up and shout, “Hey Paul! It’s Zach Flack with Equity Staffing!” as though I might have been sitting by the phone thinking “Wouldn’t it be a little slice of heaven if I got a call from Zach Flack over at Equity Staffing?”

If I don’t know you, but I might recognize your name, then possibly some heightened level of emotion is warranted, e.g., “Hey Paul! It’s Bill Gates with Microsoft!” or “Hey Paul! It’s Pope Francis at the Vatican!”

Otherwise, tone it down and stop annoying people.

Bill Gates: Playing Bridge and Doing the Dishes

15 Feb 2014 /

From a Bill Gates AMA on Reddit:

Bill Gates AMA

He Said, She Said

14 Feb 2010 /

I know I shouldn’t say this about one of my own speakers, but I thought Sarah Silverman was god-awful.


Kudos to @TEDChris for making TED an unsafe haven for all! You’re a barnacle of mediocrity on Bill Gates’ asshole.

Twitter: 2009-11-12

12 Nov 2009 /
  • RT @mashable Bill Gates’ Plan for Fixing the World http://bit.ly/4ABw03 #
  • RT @SarahKSilverman: Sometimes when I'm by myself I say out loud, "BarTHelona" & giggle at that lispy accent they have. ah shit, I have fun. #
  • RT @capricecrane: They say a lie gets around the world before the truth gets its pants on. Why the truth is pantsless, no one ever says. #
  • User Story Mapping: modeling user stories for effective understanding of your system and planning incremental releases: http://bit.ly/1LQ17h #
  • If my office gets one degree colder I'm going home… #

The Stupidest Thing

17 Oct 2009 /

[Bill] Gates quickly became legendary for telling people that their idea was the stupidest he’d ever heard — so much so that [VP Paul] Maritz would assure them not to worry, “because they weren’t going to hold the record for long.”

In an interview last week, Gates feigned disagreement when it was pointed out that he would often spice up the phrase with an expletive. “No, no, no,” he said, laughing. “Literally, I do say, ‘That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.’ Some people think I add some other word in there, but I don’t — usually.”

More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of

23 May 2008 /

Serial Entrepreneur — I hope there’s a special place in hell for people who refer to themselves as “serial entrepreneurs.” What the heck is the difference between an entrepreneur and a serial entrepreneur? I suppose Bill Gates is an entrepreneur and e.e. cummings’ Uncle Sol was a serial entrepreneur — farmer, chicken farmer, skunk farmer, worm farmer.


Length — For some reason, people who talk about basketball now describe players as having “great length.” Nobody says, “He’s very tall.” They say, “He’s got great length.”

News flash: People don’t have length. They have height. They even have width. But they don’t have length — except at birth and shortly thereafter, when we measure them lying down because they can’t stand up yet.

Describing a basketball player as having “great length” is as uninformative as saying, “He’s a tall black guy with long arms.”

Online Map Shootout

12 Apr 2007 /

The competitors: Windows Live Search, Yahoo! and Google.


I was looking at some really nice maps of Washington, DC, last night on Live Search. I’m not totally up to speed on the latest advances in mapping technology, so I wondered if Live Search had totally leapfrogged the competition with this stuff, or if I could do the same thing on the other map sites.

Here’s what I found:

This is the best view I could get of the Jefferson Memorial on Yahoo!

Google is able to zoom in quite a bit closer.

But Live Search can do this!

Thank you, Bill Gates!

The killer feature (obviously) is that Live Search gives you an oblique view into the scene, instead of just a flat, looking-straight-down view. Plus the image resolution is a lot better.

Final Ranking:

  1. Live Search
  2. Google
  3. Yahoo!

What Has Steve Jobs Done With His Money?

28 Oct 2006 /

Bill Gates and the Microsoft crowd have been very prominent in charitable circles, saving Africans from disease, etc. By contrast, a Google search for “Steve Jobs charity” or “Steve Jobs donation” turns up nothing except an article on how Apple bought him a $90 million Gulfstream bizjet.

So… if Steve Jobs doesn’t give money to charity and doesn’t pay for his own jet, is he doing something interesting with his $billions?

Into the Digital Abyss

2 Oct 2004 /

The Globe and Mail reports that a “small but determined group of computer geeks [is] trying to translate open-source software into African languages, in an effort to reach the continent most isolated by the digital divide.”

Continue reading Into the Digital Abyss

Like Father, Like Son?

9 Mar 2004 /

The number of students majoring in computer science is falling, even at the elite universities. So [Bill] Gates went stumping at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, M.I.T. and Harvard, telling students that they could still make a good living in America, even as the nation’s industry is sending some jobs, like software programming, abroad.

Father and son in a field of wildflowers

My brother is a doctor.

He doesn’t encourage his kids to go into medicine though, because he’s incredibly frustrated by the fact that you go to school for 20 years to learn something, only to have clerks from insurance companies decide if a procedure you’ve recommended is or is not “medically necessary.”

I’ve worked in computing for 20 years.

I don’t push my kid to get into it because during that time, it’s become less and less like a professional business and more like a big class project, full of people who have no aptitude, no education and no role models.

A friend of mine teaches a computer science class at a local community college. He loves it.

I don’t think I could bring myself to stand up in front of a group of young people and encourage them to be programmers. I’d probably wind up yelling at them to go be flight attendants or meeting planners and stop wasting their time.

Where are you going to go as a programmer to do interesting, influential work with bright, educated people? The list of possibilities is very short.

Microsoft is on the list — but the fact that Bill Gates is out recruiting at Illinois, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, M.I.T. and Harvard while you’re sitting here in a community college class suggests that a Microsoft career may not be in the cards for you.

Thus spoke The Programmer.