ceo must read: bill gates’s memo from ’95

February 22nd, 2012 § 1 comment

 

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this is really amazing document. at first i meant to quote bits and pieces, but there’s just too many. so i will rather summarize high level takeaways without specific connections to each other:

  1. to paraphrase my great teacher: “learn enough strategy to be able to lead like this” – specially first time founders/ceos face great challenges trying to figure out what ‘leading’ and ‘strategy’ really mean, and separating the operational hat from the insightful one. in this letter, we can see just how much is possible to infere from a handfull of data – internet was 3 years old at that point, and Bill was able to predict accurately next 15. Strive to become a business thinker like him.
  2. reading this letter feels like we have not entirely left the era it describes. IP telephony still doesn’t work as good as landlines, streaming media is slowly becoming standardized, 3d is hoping to have a comeback, cross-web collaboration is still painful. i’d say we are in the final years of the first version of the internet.
  3. mobile and social currently seem to be in the same explosive growth stage as internet was back then. if they actually prove to be as transformative for the society as the web was, i’m not very optimistic. as Bill noted in this memo, internet was built heavily on open values. the mobile is being built based on values of telcos and apple, and social networking is taking us back to the primeval societies, where everyone knows everything about everyone else. next era might bring de-urbanization of our minds.
  4. i love this site – Letters of note – absolutely best way to learn is by observing great people doing / explaining what they’ve learned.
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