Bill Gates is a passionate man. First he was passionate about Microsoft, now he is passionate about charity. Making people ask “Is Bill Gates the next Ben Franklin?”.  I found the discussion quite fascinating, hence here is an article based on a note I found in my inbox – sent by a friend.

Like Franklin, Gates is a brilliant entrepreneur and inventor who created a new technology that transformed the world. In the process, he became a very wealthy man, and so did thousands of his employees and millions of investors. And like Franklin, Gates retired in his 40s to devote the rest of his life to civic service and philanthropy on a global scale by establishing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates is a firm believer in the vital role of market forces and the benefits of free-market capitalism, but thinks big corporations should be nudged into providing products and services that may not be affordable to the poor, such as vaccines. His foundation, the world’s largest after Warren Buffett’s donation doubled its size, works to improve health care and reduce extreme poverty, and to expand educational opportunities and information technology.

Bill Gates appeared to agree wholeheartedly when Mackey defined “conscious capitalism” as

1) business having a deeper purpose than maximizing profits, and

2) stakeholder philosophy (harmony of interests among shareholders, officers, workers, customers, suppliers and the community, rather than the traditional “conflict of interests” between labor and management).

Gates started Microsoft not simply as a way to make a ton of money, but to provide a useful service to customers – the MS-DOS system followed by Windows software. By focusing on customer needs first, Gates became wealthy.

Investors can learn a lot by his example…

If you go into the stock market thinking only in terms of greed and making money, you are likely to get involved in a lot of schemes and short-term trading systems. Most will fail. But if you choose stocks of companies with good long-term fundamentals, you will make a lot of money in the stock market.

As J. Paul Getty states, “It is possible to make money – and a great deal of money – in the stock market. But it can’t be done overnight or by haphazard buying and selling. The big profits go to the intelligent, careful and patient investor, not to the reckless and overeager speculator… The seasoned investor buys his stocks when they are priced low, holds them for the long-pull rise and takes in-between dips and slumps in his stride.”

Gates does think government has an important role, especially when some vital services and products, such as vaccines, are not affordable to the poor.

Gates interests have shifted from Microsoft to the Gates Foundation. He resigned as chairman of Microsoft recently, leaving behind a company that is flush with cash ($21 billion), with revenues exceeding $60 billion, earnings jumping 40% in the most recent quarter, and profit margins approaching 30%. He was passionate in discussing how his foundation is dramatically reducing diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis in poor countries.

Surely there is a lesson  for many of us to learn from here.

is a good place to start…after all feeding a million kids a day..and trying to reach a billion is not a small aim is it? We need all the support for making that happen, NOW.

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