Bill Gates recently appeared in an interview with the Eventbrite co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz where they discussed startups, and the necessary tough decisions that need to be made in order to establish a company.
During the discussion, Gates shared his views on work-life balance and how it has changed compared to an earlier point in his life when he was much younger and “didn’t really believe in vacations.”
He says that the nascent years of a company are very crucial and that “there should be a very large sacrifice made during those early years.” Especially if the company is building a software platform.
The Microsoft Founder thinks that one could “over worship and mythologize the idea of working extremely hard.” He confessed that he never took days off to relax in the early Microsoft days.
” I didn’t believe in weekends; I didn’t believe in vacations.”
But this outlook changed with time as Gates doesn’t believe in it anymore and enjoys vacationing now.
“Once I got into my 30s, I could hardly even imagine how I had done that. Because by then, some natural behavior kicked in, and I loved weekends”
He even went ahead to reveal that his girlfriend back then liked vacations so he gradually started enjoying it. However, Gates says that his younger self would not approve of his habits now.
“Now I take lots of vacation. My 20-year-old self is so disgusted with my current self.”
Speaking along similar lines, Bill Gates revealed one of his greatest mistakes was when Microsoft missed the opportunity of building something like Android.
“The greatest mistake ever is the whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is.”
He thinks there is room for exactly one “non-Apple operating system” and that has been taken over by Google and turned into a $400 billion worth of fortune.
Even though it was a war which Microsoft could have won, given the fact that Windows Mobile arrived almost a decade earlier than Android.
But Microsoft underestimated the importance of mobile, failed to provide adequate resources, and remained distracted by desktop priorities while Google went headway with Android.
Nevertheless, Microsoft survived this mistake as there were many predictions made in the first half of the decade that iPads will replace PCs which hasn’t happened yet.
Bill Gates too seemed amazed that having made one of the greatest mistakes of all time, Microsoft is still one of the leading companies.
“If we got that one right, we would be the company. But oh well.”
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