Bill GatesArmchair Expert with Dax Shepard
- 3,862 views
- 20 Aug 2020
Bill Gates is an American entrepreneur, software developer, investor, and philanthropist. Bill chats with the Armchair Expert about being fascinated by advancements in history, balancing work/marriage/fatherhood and his eternal optimism. Dax wonders if it's possible to be simultaneously sweet and demanding and Bill talks about his love of the movie, Spy Game. The two talk about the critical role of vaccinations, whether tech entrepreneurs deserve to be questioned by the government and their mutual love of Diet Coke.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to the most special experts on expert with your hosts, Monica Proudman and Dan Shepherd. Can you believe it?
So, of course, this was the long awaited who could even be tied with him guessed. Yep. Officially known as William Gates. You probably know him as Bill Gates. He is a technologist, a business leader and a philanthropist. He is the co-founder of Microsoft today, Bill and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Charitable Foundation, bearing their names and are working together to give their wealth back to society. Monica, greatest 90 minutes of your life?
I think perhaps. Definitely top two. Yeah, if you exclude my family, we got to get that off the table then. Yeah. Best 90s for me. Please enjoy Bill Gates. We are supported by third love.
Third love does Broz differently. They believe that every woman deserves to feel comfortable and confident every day. Monica, you're a big fan of Third Love Big.
It's a great broad company. I've been really pushing it hard.
All my friends have been wanting new bras.
It's comfy now. Third, love are designed with measurements from millions of women. Their bra styles are made to fit your life. They have over 80 bra sizes, but the only one that matters is yours. Now, getting the perfect fitting brassiere is very easy. You just go to third love and you do the fit. Find your Cui's. It's just a few simple questions to find your perfect fit in 60 seconds. Over fifteen million women have taken the quiz to date and it's actually fun and takes less than a minute to complete.
They offer the perfect fit promise if you don't love it. Every customer has sixty days to return it and third, love will wash it and donate it to a woman in need. Returns and exchanges are free and easy. Third, love knows there's a perfect bra for everyone. So right now they're offering arm. Cherrie's 15 percent off your first order. Go to third love Dotcom's DACs to find your perfect fitting bra and get fifteen percent off your first purchase.
That's third love dotcom slash tax for fifteen percent off today. We are supported by better help. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression or stress right now you are not alone. Better Help offers online licensed professional counselors who are trained to listen and help. Counselors specialize in many diverse areas, including depression, grief, anxiety, relationship conflicts and more simply, fill out a questionnaire to help assess your specific needs and get matched with a counselor in under forty eight hours.
Talk with your counselor in a safe and private online environment at your convenience from wherever you're comfortable, easily schedule secure video or phone sessions with your therapist, plus exchange unlimited messages. Everything you share is confidential. Join the one million plus people taking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced, better health professional. With so many people using better help, they're currently recruiting additional counselors in all 50 states. Better help is an affordable option in armchairs.
Get ten percent off your first month with the discount codecs. Get started today at better help Dotcom's DACs. That's better help help dotcom d ex.
He's in charge. Oh, my goodness, he's already there. Now, not only is he already there, but he looks identical to the TED talk. You must just have a set. It's my avatar.
We are so thrilled.
I haven't worn a suit in a year and a half. I just want you to know I've done it for you. Yeah. I'm sorry I don't get to see your garage. Oh, yes. Yes. Well, by the way, if I want to extend this into a personal friendship, you can see my garage anytime you want. All right. I want to memorialize this with. Let's just I'm going to quickly.
Oh, we need a picture of this. Oh, boy, oh, boy. Oh, boy.
OK, are you as uncomfortable with praise as most of our guests are in general?
Hopefully I can take a little bit. I think I'm just going to lay it out in this. I've been really hemming and hawing on how to lay this out just as succinctly as possible. We went through everyone. We really said, oh, my gosh, Bill Gates, who would we want more than that? And really, there's only there's a two way tie, but you're just marginally ahead. And that is just Obama. That's the only, I think, person we'd want to talk to as much as you, but not even as we even still you beat them out.
Oh, I hope we haven't planted the seeds of some kind of Khorram rivalry. That's high expectations.
Now, we watched the documentary. I've now watched it three times, which is tied with the amount of times I've read Titan. Have you read Titan? Sure. What was your impression you walked away with of Rockefeller?
Well, his career was during a time when business rules were pretty ruthless. But then once he retires, which he actually does at a pretty young age, he picks amazing people to run his foundation. And so in the world of philanthropy, they are the high bar, what they did for schools, for culture, for medical research. But it's amazing that you have to always refer back to them. In the early days when people would write about global health, they would just say that foundation did this and the foundation did that.
And of course, they met the Rockefeller Foundation. So, you know, pretty phenomenal. He actually picked a guy named Gates. No relationship to actually help figure out how he would give the money back in a smart way.
He became incredibly cumbersome for him, right. To to field all the requests. And there were obviously so many deserving causes and it just was too much for him to actually handle. Right. It it became kind of imprisoning.
Yeah. They were very broad in their activities. I mean, we do global health and education, but they they did cultural stuff. It was phenomenal. And they are probably the most impactful foundation ever because one of the things they did was called the Green Revolution. That saved a lot of lives. Yeah, I may have just gotten drunk on the punch of that book, but would it be too much to say that he might be the most impactful man to have ever lived in America in that he funded medical research, which wasn't a thing.
He standardized medical care. He cured hookworm, malaria vaccines, the endowment that has now lasted. And still, we just interviewed Sean Penn yesterday. They're getting money for covid testing from the Rockefeller Foundation.
I mean, he's got to be up there, right? Yeah, he said a really good model for enlightened philanthropy. Now, his business life was was more controversial. But but to your point, you know, he's coming directly after Cornelius Vanderbilt, who is running his steamships and the other steam ships and sinking them on the Hudson River. And just no one cares. No one's taken to court. It was such the Wild West. Can you even apply our ethics to that period?
It's complicated. I mean, Ida Tarbell wrote about him and sort of created a negative view. And weirdly, you know, they actually break up his company. But as he said at the time, his company was so capable that even the parts that were split up as the car was coming along, they all did super well. So it's it's a complicated story. The last laugh was they quadrupled his wealth, right? I mean, when they broke that up, that's when he skyrocketed to a billion.
And he was out on the golf course when he heard he and the reverend, his friend, were golfing.
And he said, hey, they broke up Standard Oil by Standard Oil and said it was a good stock because the automobile was kind of this killer application for oil extraction.
I have an important question. This is so important. What's your favorite color?
Oh, yeah, we want to know that. Well, first can I guess. Sure. Green, but actually blue. Sorry.
Oh, we have an armchair theory. Well, we read ones that geniuses like Green. So I wore a green tie too. But my real personal favorite color is blue. So I just I say green, but it's a windrow.
You. My favorites, Purple, and you are wearing purple, so we're all connected. OK, yeah, one other really trivial question before we proceed. Should we have some kind of distinction as left handers, like an actual status in this country, you know, unfettered access to things?
Well, they call it sinister, you know, yes, we are overrepresented both in the low end and the high end of most distributions, which nobody really understands that like in IQ and other things, there's a bigger tail for left handers.
Well, it's not unlike dyslexia, right? Where for me, I grew up knowing the stat that you were twice as likely to go to prison. But then now we have the stat that you're twice as likely to be a CEO. So it's definitely one of these make or break things. OK, your childhood, one of the things I really like about the documentary and of course, I'm referencing the Netflix Inside Bill's Brain documentary, really, really well done.
You really own the privilege you had in the advantages you had growing up in the manner that you did. And I found that kind of refreshing.
I think most people are storytellers at heart, right? We know through evolution how to craft stories and to pass on information and obviously coming from nothing and then creating something, just a better story. So there's definitely an incentive there to downplay that. And I just really respect that you own it in such a wonderful way.
Yeah, my parents were amazing. And I got to go to an amazing school, which, you know, gave me the early exposure to computers and teachers encouraged me. So, you know, I'm very lucky.
Yeah. And one thing you and I share in common is that my mother built a company as a single mother and she was just a force of nature. And then I found myself only attracted to other forces of nature. And I have married a force of nature.
And I do wonder, are you aware of the fact that maybe the biggest gift she ever gave you is that it was going to take someone like Melinda to get you excited? Yeah, the idea that you want a real peer who can criticize you and you actually do something decent that they're praised is pretty valuable. I think having an accomplished mom helped me go in that direction. Yes. Yeah. And I do wonder when I was watching the documentary, and I guess these questions are largely pointless, but I asked them anyways in my head while I'm watching, I do wonder if your story was inevitable or if you think without her, because you guys definitely butted heads.
I guess you were around 12 and you ended up going to therapy. And I love how the therapist basically got you to buy in, which is this. You have a very outdated say in this struggle. You're going to hurt them so much and they're not going to hurt you and they're trying to help you. I wonder, do you think under a different circumstance you somehow go astray or was it inevitable?
The number of things that lined up in my favor in terms of my parents and the school that I got to go to and the early exposure to computers and meeting Paul Allen and teaming up with him, the number of things is pretty mind blowing that led to this sort of outsized economic result. Yeah.
Can we throw Kent in there because. Oh, yeah. Another another thing I really recognized when I was watching as I met my soulmate in seventh grade, and this was an individual, Aaron Weekly, who I had this person that I needed a co-pilot with or I needed one person to validate. And then that's all it took for me. And I have to imagine, Kent, in so many ways for you is like, oh, I'm on the path of something.
There's another one of me. Yeah. And Ken thought about the future. He was reading Fortune magazine and sort of saying, what should we do? Should we become ambassadors or Geminis or managers or mathematicians? And Kent was so far ahead in seventh and eighth grade and he's always already comparing, you know, which of these guys gets paid well, which has a high impact. And so that really pushed me. You know, I was more of an intuitive read science books type person until I met him.
Again, back to the point of, like, the impossible odds that add up to you. It's like you've proven to have this amazing entrepreneurial spirit and aptitude to run a business which is its own thing outside of innovation and all that. Right. And if he's not in your life or the other thing I thought about is you take this math test in eighth grade and you score highest in the state for all grades. And I kind of thought to myself, you know, what, if you just pursued mathematics, certainly there's many people that you have to do that, then pursued that, and then there's no real riches at the end of that ride or fame or impact.
And when I went to Harvard, I met people who are better than me. Mathematics. My whole positioning when I go to Harvard is I'm the best math person I've. Matt, I have an eight hundred on the set of five on the AP, so then I was in a class with 60 people and every one of us had the same personal positioning.
So we had 59 fraud's and one legitimate oh oh oh. That's great. Is that a humbling experience?
Yeah, I had to come up with the personal positioning after that.
So when you and I were daydreaming about these different occupations you might pursue, I do wonder because I was thinking you invented and I'm sure you have to be aware of it, you and I would say Steve Jobs and a handful of other people, you really invented a genre of fame, which is the tech icon that did not exist prior to you, to my knowledge, unless I'm missing someone from history I don't know about. So when you were fantasizing about this life, I can't imagine fame was a big component of it.
I can't imagine you were prepared to be famous in the way that Monacan. I wanted to be actors. And of course, that was a component comes with the talent. Yeah.
You've done some thinking about, well, you want fame within mathematician's or within engineers. The idea that a tech entrepreneur would be famous within the popular culture, like on the cover of Time magazine, that I mean, there really is no model for that. I mean, Henry Ford way, way, way back. But we always have a circle of people whose admiration you're kind of going for. It's just not the public at large.
Yeah. So when you found yourself with this kind of level of fame, you know, like Michael Jackson, what was your maybe not the best analogy, but.
Oh, yeah, yeah. Let's use a different one prince or we still go down for Michael Jordan. What we're going to get to that.
I just I imagine you hadn't prepared for that in any way or had you did it roll out slowly enough that you were like, oh, this is interesting. I'm I'm getting quite famous.
It was it was certainly crazy, you know, particularly because I was kind of nerdy and not very sociable and then to be a rocket shipped into this. Wow. What does he say about this? What does he say about that? What he says is semi interesting. It's like, whoa, what happened? Yeah.
Now, I don't know if you can confirm this or not, but I believe I've seen you in real life and I believe it was in nineteen ninety six and I and I believe that it was in the parking lot of Wendy's and that you were in a burgundy 911 turbo. Did you ever own a Burgundy 911 turbo. Yes, but what city was this in Bellevue? It's very possible, it's by coincidence, Melinda and I just started watching Parenthood. We're on the second season, so I was blown away when I thought, wait, I'm being interviewed by Crosby.
It's like, this is so funny because I read your list of TV recommendations right this morning, and I noticed there was nothing I was involved with. So I was like, OK, there's a pretty good chance he has no clue who I am and I got to go even further. I screen grabbed your list and I sent it to Brad Pitt because you love spy game and you've seen it 12 times.
And I thought even Brad Pitt will get a kick out for sure.
That's such a clever movie. Really amazing. I had a single complaint. The trailer for that movie showed Brad Pitt with his shirt off and then the movie itself, he never has his shirt on. I remember being upset about that is fraudulent. I mean, yeah, false advertising to the nth degree.
OK, I want to add one thing before I move off of childhood, which is just back to Melinda and your mother. I think you nailed it as far as my own ego, which is really I want the respect of somebody I respect. That's really what I need approval from someone I to look up to and admire. So I think that's a very truthful, honest part of the answer. But do you think having a mother like we had is the antidote to to misogyny in some level?
And I'm sure I have still degrees of misogyny, as we probably all do. But do you think that that's part of what will break that cycle is having women who are very empowered and people that demand respect and deserve respect and that that that then helps the offspring of those people for boys like us? Yeah, I think realizing that your mom is every bit as capable as your dad. And actually my grandmothers were both smarter than my grandfathers. It took me a long time to beat one of my grandmothers at cards.
So I had to say, wow, just because men are gotten the interesting jobs, it's not based on the fact that they have some depth of understanding. And so I I think that gets you off to a good start. Yeah.
Now, your appetite for reading as a kid, I just was curious. Could you say that it was driven by the joy of expanding your horizons, or was it a source of relief driven from a frustration of not knowing how things worked and needing to find out?
I tend to more positive thing, you know, in the summer, the library would have this contest of who read the most books and it was always me and girls. None of the boys. It was considered kind of bad form. To even enter that thing was a weakness to be well read.
And even before I read the grandmother who was good at cards, read to me and my older sister quite a bit. So the idea that that was really joyful and that the pieces would make sense over time and more and more of them would fit together the more you read, that was phenomenal.
Yeah, I got to say, once I went to college, I really, really enjoyed getting context right. Like, I was always curious why we have the customs we have or why am I doing this thing? What is this vestigial love and where did all this come from? Like just having some sense of it's not random. There's an origin for all these things we do.
I found just very stimulating the idea of how humanity, how we learn to farm and then we could make more food so we could do other things. I love that kind of historical scientific mindset to understand how things proceeded. So people like Jared Diamond are pinker or more obscure guy Vaslav Smil that explain who figured out what, when and why then why that person.
That history is endlessly fascinating, but also so fascinating that you had that particular interest and maybe in some way that led to you contributing like you're on that list of big advancements that have changed the course of history. So maybe that interests inadvertently led to that.
Yeah, yeah. To be willing to try or to say, hey, software can change things. Why don't these older people see what software can do now took these chip people who came up with magic chips, intel, we didn't do that part. But that enables us to come in with our part.
That is magical. Yeah. Now they ask you pretty clearly and plainly in the documentary, like, when do you realize you're smart? And there's a couple of examples that were given.
I do wonder, have you noticed that your brain has any deficits? Is there any price to the aptitude you have in these other areas? Are you completely deficient in any areas that you've you've observed? Well, I'm certainly not that great socially.
I find you to be incredibly charming and dialed in. So I don't know, you know, I don't know how to cook. I'm very embarrassed that I don't speak any languages fluently. Oh, that's super stupid.
And then every once while I'm learning something new, it does take me a while to adapt to it. And I feel like I'm such a fraud. This is more confusing than I expected it to be, but I think everybody has some of that. Oh, yeah.
Your ability to take on a completely new discipline, economics or biology or health or all these things, are there specific disciplines that have been hard for you? Well, I have this mindset that I'm still a student, and many people, as they become adults, leave that mindset. I also for any subject I study, I know somebody who knows the subject super well. So I have a lifeline. You know, like when I'm studying macroeconomics, you know, I can say to Warren Buffet or Ray Dalio, God unconfused me here.
So I know I'm not going to get stuck. And that helps you be kind of brave of pushing ahead. I mean, not wikinomics. That's a complicated one. You know, quantum computing, there's things that are on the edge where you've got to say, do I really have the time to figure it out or not? Now, medicine has become this thing that I, I get a kick out of because there's all these diseases our foundation works on.
So I've been rewarded for putting the time in and eventually it all makes sense. You have to be willing to be confused. Most adults, the minute they start getting confused, they're like, oh, this isn't for me, I'm not good at this to kind of have to feel good about, wow, I've just jumped in here and I am so confused and actually pursue the things that don't fit until they really do.
It's great advice. Yeah, I guess. Yeah. You have to have for me my my particular kink is Malcolm Gladwell. I love having things exposed to me that are counterintuitive. I don't know why I take such joy in that, like, oh no, people don't commit suicide if they don't have an easy option. Oh wow. I would have thought they just find a way. But we have the data and that's not the case. That's mind blowing.
I love. Finding out I'm wrong, I guess, is a hobby. Oh, he has such good stuff. Well, just because we were just talking about it books you like, but I assume you've read that Yuval Harari books, if you read those. All of them.
Yeah, he's great. Oh man. Do I love him.
I got to talk to him and is the fastest experience with time I've ever had where I really felt like I understood relativity. I was like, no, no, that was 12 minutes. That wasn't an hour. That was an hour and a half.
Like I really time travel. He meditates a lot.
Yeah, but you're new to. Right. You've started to see the value. I'm like ten minutes a day. So I'm more of a head space person than a real meditator.
OK, so back to the the different disciplines. Have you been interested in any of the social sciences or psychology? Do those things fascinate you at all?
Oh, absolutely. The idea of how we transfer our unease onto other people and how that leads to racism, the social sciences are super interesting. Now it's harder to prove your good, harder to know the answers. They're way less developed and I'll put economics in that group as well. And so I love the fact that people like Dubner, who you interviewed or or Gladwell, they're helping us figure out the boundary between the hard science piece and the soft science piece.
But, you know, it's really relevant when you think about the work you're doing, because I was watching the segment on polio this morning.
And, you know, you come up against this issue where rightly so, there's a very strong suspicion of white people, colonialists as is deserved, but then it mutates itself into these vaccines are going to make people sterile. This is a eugenics project. Right.
So at that point, the rubber is meeting the road with the social sciences. Right. You have to think about the psychology of what's going on. You have to have an answer that treats probably the emotions. They're feeling less than the data. Yeah. You have to find someone they trust and have them actually take the vaccine. So when we got the emir of Kano to take the vaccine himself and give it to his kids, that was in Nigeria where these negative rumors really got going.
That was our first step back, was that they looked up to him. And so you've always got to figure out in this group, where is the trust and can you convince them? Just the outsider. Nobody should trust an outsider to be Gladwell about it. Who's the tipping point in that society that we can empower to help now? And this is my own high horse issue. Is it so frustrating to you that there it makes sense? There's a historical reason for that distrust, but the anti vaccine movement in this country I find to be so frustrating and I have to imagine it's largely steeped in not really understanding how successful vaccines have been.
Is there anything in medicine that's been as successful as far as just preventing gross deaths, antibiotics and vaccines, vaccines to win over antibiotics?
Antibiotics came first and did a very good job. Then you have vaccines, also sanitation, understanding that getting human waste away. Those are the three things that have allowed the population to grow. Now, fortunately, when we get wealthy enough, the growth comes to a plateau. But yeah, vaccines are miraculous. Here's a guy like you dedicating all your wealth, asking all your friends to dedicate all their wealth to help. On one side of the equation, aren't we responsible for anything like the recipients of all this?
It's the ask, not what your country can do for you part. It's like, come on, guys, that makes sense in Nigeria, but that does not make sense in this country.
This this is unacceptable to have this viewpoint we see with measles or this pandemic convincing people that the vaccine, once it's really been approved, is safe. It will benefit other people the same way mask wearing does. And yet there's this push back that in the US, some of these things that shouldn't be political have become political. Well, and if you happen to see someone did a they mapped the highest levels of anti vaccine. Against Whole Foods locations, and it's it's it's perfectly correlated.
No, I'm not going to say Whole Foods causes anti vaccine, but it is ironic that it is a part of maybe this natural lifestyle that people are to some degree romanticizing if they think that vaccines are no good.
Yeah. And you get that with the anti GMO, which is another. Yes. That holds back our foundation's ability to make improved seeds for the developing countries, because even though it doesn't matter for the US or Europe, for these countries, it can solve the starvation. That's still a problem there.
Well, one thing about the anti vaccines that I found interesting is it's often in pockets of very affluent areas. And that just goes to show, again, privilege the luxury like you have the luxury of thinking.
This isn't why we have the luxury of growing up and going to school where three of the students didn't have crutches from polio. But we're not seeing that because that vaccine works.
Exactly. Yeah, that's the irony of health, is that your very success breeds complacency. Yeah. And the canary in the coal mine that comes back, it's either measles or pertussis where you'll get a small community that all the parents have talked to each other. And then if measles comes in, it can spread because you have a bunch of kids who aren't vaccinated. Yes. OK, now. OK, have you watched Last Dance? It's fantastic.
Oh, we're obsessed with we couldn't have enjoyed something more. Yeah.
And I'm not a basketball person, but the whole way he handled himself and what he had to deal with in his just how amazing he was. Yes. Yes. That was brilliantly done.
And I got to say, and I understand this is at great risk to answer this, because it could appear to be egomaniacal, but you had to have been watching that and going, yeah, I see another fisherman at sea. He knows what it takes to be number one.
Well, it's still so amazing how good he is and God knows where that comes from. The idea that as he got successful, that his life became a little unnatural in terms of, you know, people seeking him out. In my view, he handled that pretty well. He's become less distorted by it. I mean, he would joke around about, hey, I had a piano up in my room and he had some friends that he trust, even a security guy.
That was pretty funny.
Yeah. That, by the way, is the least intimidating group of security I've ever seen. One guy was like 80.
Yeah, I guess I guess they had very good aim or something. They had a lot of martial arts training. That wasn't obvious.
Stay tuned for more arms if you dare. We are supported by ring now, there's a thousand reasons why protecting your home matters to you. For me, I'd like to surveil my property. I'll keep an eye on it.
Yes, I'd like to look up there and make sure there's no bad guys. And then next on the list would be some coyotes or something threaten the dogs. So I'd like to be able to see in a glance on my phone what's happening on the property.
Now, Ring has security products for every corner of your home inside and out. And best of all, you can see it all in one simple app with Ring. You can keep an eye on your home no matter where you are right from your phone. If someone stops by or something's going on, ring let you know it's peace of mind any time knowing your home is protected. If you'd like to build a ring of security around your home, get a special offer on the ring.
Welcome kit at ring dotcom dacs it comes with rings video. Doorbell three and chime pro the perfect way to start your ring experience plus free two day shipping go to ring dotcom dacs that's ring dotcom dacs we are supported by Hello Fresh get fresh pre measured ingredients and mouthwatering seasonal recipes delivered right to your door with Hello Fresh America's Number One Meal Kit. Hello Fresh lets you skip those trips to the grocery store. It makes home cooking fun, easy and affordable.
Now Monica and I, we like to sink our teeth into a little hello fresh in our money. What did you make yourself?
I had a oven ready chicken and milk. I went a little lighter than normal spiced chickpea fritters with Greek salad, pita and garlicky white sauce. Now, the best part about all these meals is that you can get them on the table in just about thirty minutes or even twenty minutes with their quick recipe options. They got options for everybody, including low calorie, vegetarian, family friendly recipes. Every week, their pre portioned ingredients mean that there's less prep for you and less food waste.
And hello, fresh is carbon footprint is twenty five percent lower than store bought grocery made meals. They're also very flexible. To fit your lifestyle, go to Hello Fresh Dotcom's DACs eighty and use codecs eighty to get a total of eighty dollars off, including free shipping on your first box. Additional restrictions apply. Please visit. Hello, fresh dotcom for more details. That's eighty dollars off and free shipping on your first box when you go to hello fresh dotcom dacs eighty and use code DACs eighty.
When I was watching it, of course, I couldn't help but ask myself this question, as I think many of the people that watch it did is like, can you do what he did and be a sweetheart? We have these other examples, you being one of them, Steve Jobs, now he's become one. Do you think you can do what he did, what Jobs did, what you've done and be a sweetheart? Well, maybe not. I mean, I certainly wasn't a sweetheart when I ran Microsoft.
And what it is, is if you push yourself super, super hard and you're so tough on when you made a mistake and you better wake up to that mistake. You definitely project that onto other people, particularly if you're trying to move at full speed. And the business I was in every day counted we had to see what we were doing wrong, and so we said, hey, this is not for everyone to sit around and work these hours and be as tough on each other.
The reason you're here is because you're amazing. So don't get confused when we're being kind of tough. We're a team. We're in this together. And, you know, every once in a while we may have been tougher than we needed to be. I was not as tough as Steve. And I love the Jordan thing, which I think you could say for Steve or myself, which is I never asked them to work any harder or be tougher on their mistakes that I was on myself.
It doesn't completely forgive it, but at least it shows where you're coming from, that you're projecting your own values and and trying to get everybody to be kind of hard core like you are. And if they're not fine, there's another place for them to another basketball team or another sport for them to go hang out in. Well, that is ultimately where I'll I'll be kind of libertarian or something in that viewpoint where I'll go like, look, no no one begged you to come do this.
This isn't conscription. So part of me does feel like if you don't dig it, man, go somewhere else.
Now that I'm older, I do think I'm more subtle in terms of motivating people without having to push as hard. I mean, I was in my 20s, so I'm a little better at that. So don't you think it maybe reflects how much you kick your own ass? Is that lightened up over time? Yeah, because you become a little wiser when you have a great spouse and kids. Your breath of oh my God, if I don't succeed at this, it's everything.
And so it's not quite as extreme. You know, in my twenties, all I did was try and make Microsoft succeed. That was it. Yeah. Not weekends, not vacations, not broad reading. And I loved it. My competitors were always pissed off about how much harder core I was than they were. So it's like a tribute in my book.
You use some great word where you came to like that. You were there. Twenty four. Seven.
Yeah, that was the ethos for that period of time. Do you think Jobs deserves this dead status? Jobs was a genius what he did, particularly when he came back to Apple. I mean, yes, he did a brilliant job founding Apple. He did some interesting stuff next, but it didn't succeed. But when he comes back to Apple, all the things that have worked and not worked for him and his ability to pick people, his taste in people, even for skill sets that he didn't have himself, you know, he didn't write code, but he he picked amazing people for manufacturing that what he did at Apple during that ten year period.
It's truly phenomenal. And there's no chance in hell it happens without him. I mean, Apple was on its way to die and they actually were negotiating to buy a different company than Steve's. That guy we got asked for a little too much money. So they they went to Steve as their backup plan. And then Steve walks in and says, OK, this time I think I know what to do. So that period between when he goes back to Apple and when he sadly dies quite young, no one else can do what he did there.
Yeah, I couldn't have done that. I don't know anyone who could. So he he belongs in the Pantheon, even though he was at times one tough, tough, tough person.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I would say he's like he's as much in the Walt Disney camp maybe on that Mount Rushmore. Absolutely. To recognize things in a new place that there really was no model for. I mean, he was such a wizard over motivating people. I was a minor wizard so I could follow, I could fall under his spells, but I could see him casting the spell. And then I would look at people and see them mesmerise.
And I would say, no, no, you were like second year Hogwarts. And he was great. I was so jealous. Oh, good, good, good, good, good way.
I have a quick question. You were talking about mistakes and we have a mutual friend, Adam Grant, and he wanted me to ask with Melinda and how much of a perfectionist she is. He says that you help her all the time and realizing mistakes can be fine and how to get over them. And he wanted tips on how you do that and how you guys help each other in that way.
Yeah, I'm super lucky. I mean, this is the most profound partnership of my life. I had a partnership with Paul Allen to found Microsoft to have one with Steve Ballmer, to turn it to an amazing company with our foundation, with our kids, with our marriage, you know. This amazing person, and when she's pushing herself too hard, I'm good at, you know, helping her see the biggest picture. So we do that for each other.
And I can't imagine, you know, doing these big quests where some things go wrong or when things go better than you expect. You know who's there to appreciate it, to laugh with you about it. You know, it's so crazy the way we're working on with heads of state and big things. But, you know, we've gotten into this great pattern of helping each other out. She'll see I get too up or too down. And that's a real help to me.
And, you know, the same goes with her where, you know, she's quite, quite driven as well.
So what's the cute code word? So my wife my wife monitors me. Right. And she'll go like a lot of nicotine today.
How are we doing? Good. Like so. So, you know, a lot of coffee today. She's got, like, the little indicators.
Definitely Melinda has to look, particularly when we're in a large meeting and I'm really kind of repeating myself with my negative feedback.
So and I can get I can use clever analogies. And it's like, wait a minute, you made your point.
OK, now, just quickly back to the jobs thing. You pointed out he was just tremendous at recruiting or picking the right people. And again, one of the things back to Titan that I was blown away with is I guess I would have thought that guy worked twenty four, seven, but he didn't. And he had this very interesting relationship with delegating, which I think was was novel at that time. I have to imagine for me as a control freak, the very hardest thing that you must have had to eventually do is learn to delegate it.
Was that one of the bigger challenges for you in Microsoft? Yeah, and that's kind of scaling. That is a huge challenge. So at first I wrote all the code. Then I hired all the people who wrote the code and I looked at the code. Then eventually that was code that I didn't look at or people that I didn't hire. And of course, the average quality per person is kind of going down, but the ability to have big impact is going up.
And so that idea that a large company is imperfect in many ways, and yet it's the way to get out to the entire world and bring in all these mix of skills, most people don't make that transition. And there are times where you go, oh, my God, I just want to write the code myself. That famous thing I'd always say is I could have come in and written out over the weekend. Well, eventually I could. The individual contributor and the orchestrating an organization, those aren't often found together because there's a certain contradiction to that craftsman for sure.
And wonderfully takes me to Warren Buffett, which is your relationship with him, I find to be so cute and fascinating. That was a relationship he sought out, which I thought was interesting. And you had low expectations. You want to get in and out. Your mom basically said, no, you got to go meet Warren Buffett. He wants to meet you. And you had kind of allocated ninety minutes and then turned into hours. And I wondered, was his financial wisdom clearly you knew you were going to have to have a big understanding of economics and market and all that stuff, or was there something else about him that attracted you to him?
Well, his reputation was that he bought stocks that were undervalued, and I didn't think of that. Is that relevant to me, the fact that the way he did that was to have this broad framework for economic value and how competition worked so that when I first meet him, he asks me about, well, why can't IBM wipe you out? Well, that's a brilliant question, because IBM has all these resources. They can see that I'm better than them.
But that's one thing. Why can't they just go hire people? And nobody had ever asked me that in the right way before. And so, you know, the first hour he's getting me to explain what it is that makes us special and why it's so hard for somebody to come after that. And then I get to ask him, OK, how do you see ahead for different companies? What is it you're looking for? And it's not some silly volume chart thing.
It's the fundamentals of their future profit stream. You know, he wanted to buy undervalued stocks and I wanted to revolutionize personal computers and the empowerment. But our view of the world in terms of who's talented, who's flawed, how do you mix people together? Even now we're talking every week because the world is so askew in this interesting way that it's. Predicting, OK, what's going on is more interesting than ever, so it was very profound and we were lucky that we ran into each other.
He twenty five years older than me. But, you know, he's so much fun. Yeah, I do think it's really interesting what you just said. You can learn about yourself by answering a question that someone asks. Right, that maybe you haven't asked yourself. So it's like you may not have prior to that been able to define your strength. But when he asks you, why can't IBM do this, you then in answering it, discover your strength and know what to double down on.
Yeah. Being forced to teach something you can really tell. Do I understand this thing or not? Right. I got to teach Warren about Microsoft. Yeah. So it clarifies your thinking a lot. Is there any father figure element to it or was that way more pure ship like did you enjoy the approval from someone like him? Absolutely. So we're kind of peers and he's kind of like a father figure. And it's got both wonderful aspects. You know, like when we go golfing, we're both terrible.
So that's like a peer. You know, we we have a dollar bet on the first person to get a par and we have special rules. If you go 18 holes with no PA, who gets the dollar bill? So that's probably right. But then again, when something is complicated and troubling, then the depth of his experience is so valuable to me. Yeah.
Now, I do not have the intention or objective to blame you for anything. I'm literally curious about your feelings about having started a tech revolution. There's no one to point to more than you. And now we're I don't know what are we 30 years into it or. Thirty five years into it? You know, there's social media and I'm sure you have opinions on social media and this is ever just cross your mind like, oh, man. Well, without the thing I did, that doesn't exist.
And is this getting out of hand?
Well, certainly anything that dramatically changes society is going to be used for bad things.
You know, Henry Ford has to say, yeah, we're running over a few people, you know, is this good?
And kind of netted it out. So there definitely are things like, you know, people use encrypted communications to do criminal acts. And that falsehoods are they're so titillating that certain fee based architectures make people spend more attention to false things than to the boring, true things. And, you know, I'm an optimist. So I think, OK, let's be creative because overall it's so positive. Yeah. Let's figure out how to at least minimize some of these negatives so they don't get out of control.
Well, and again, I would imagine all of you are incentivized to handle it before some bureaucracy decides to handle it for you and doesn't really understand what they're doing.
It's tricky that for car safety, the US had to figure out, OK, seatbelts, and you can't really regulate it. There will be some things about how these tools are used politically. Should you be able to do microtargeting? I actually don't think so. You know, as far as ads, yeah, I don't think certainly when anything is political that oh yes. It's really not that visible what you're saying to this person versus what you're saying to the other person and the idea that the government should be able to see what's being said under the right circumstances.
People fight against that. But I'm someone who thinks that eventually the law should be able to see some of these bad acts like they used to do with wiretapping. You know, I'm watching parenthood with Melinda, but I'm watching The Wire by myself, so. Oh, yeah. What is your first time with it? Yeah, totally. Davis the Netflix documentary, who's a super good friend, told me I had to watch it. So maybe the best written show ever.
What episode are you on? I just started season three. Oh, it's tasty. On the topic of you know, I just recently watched these House Judiciary Committee hearings. I didn't watch a lot of them.
I watched enough of them to see a congressman dressed down, Jeff Bezos, and what I would have found to be a very offensive manner. I was a little offended by the notion of someone who maybe hasn't created something that runs very efficiently and helped drive everything forward to be so critical of this other person. I want your opinion on that. They're lined up all these people. And, you know, what is the government crushing covid know, if you gave covid to Bezos, I think he'd knock this thing out in three weeks, like, you know what I'm saying?
Yes. But if you're as successful as I am or any of those people are. You deserve rude, unfair, tough questions, the government deserves to have shots at you. I testified in front of the Senate and I was tempted to do this sarcastic thing where they were being tough on me. I was going to say, Senator, Senator, I have discovered capitalists. I've discovered forty three capitalists who work at Microsoft.
And I'm so apologetic that I discovered this. It's really awful.
They they've infested my company anyway. I got pulled by adults not to do that particular job. But, you know, when you've got so much share that, you know, should you be able to have in-house products on that market? Should your logistics overwhelm everyone else or should you have to unbundle that? You know, what should Mark Zuckerberg do about these titillating things and even really bad things like kind of a tax that get orchestrated on his surface? These are hard questions.
Jeff Bezos and Amazon, they have done a phenomenal job, but that type of grilling comes with the super successful territory. It's fine. Oh, good. You change my opinion, you Gladwell. But is that a new opinion over time now that you're older and wiser now with these tech developments, the Congress has to think, are the laws up to date with respect to these companies, the competition laws, how we do acquisition laws? That's OK.
The idea that they get to hide out, I mean, actually, they didn't even have to fly there. I had to fly there. But so and I had competitors sitting next to me who were being tough to me.
But even then, I did not begrudge the fact that it's part of the process, if anything, the fact I didn't hire lobbyists in D.C. and that I kind of ignored D.C., that was some naive mistake on my part. Yeah.
So you just said the word. And I do think it is if if it's not on par with whatever mental aptitude you have, it's very close. And that is you are an optimist. It's really crucial.
I think you have a naive optimism, maybe even at times, which is such an asset to have in the moment. I would say its most detailed is for people who haven't seen it or don't understand. You know, I think you bravely and I think you're isolated enough and protected enough to be able to be one of the few people who can do this. You say, look, wind and solar is awesome. It's great. It should be exploited as much as it can.
But we are going to have to have a source of energy that is on demand when we want it. That's just a fact. We cannot build enough batteries to run Tokyo. Right. It couldn't be done. And so what are the other options? And sadly, it's nuclear. Right. And then but you have the this crazy, again, I think, kind of naiveté to go, well, what do people hate about it? Well, they hate nuclear waste and they hate that they melt down.
So let's build one that doesn't melt down and that runs on previously created nuclear waste. It's awesome. I am so grateful to you. I'm not fluffing your pillows. We do this three blessing's thing in the morning with the kids. I try to get them to list three things they're grateful for. You make my gratitude list once a week. I'm literally like, I'm so grateful that that Bill Gates chap is up there in Washington figuring out how to give us nuclear energy.
So with that said, you have worked at this point for years on this project, to my understanding. You know, you get all this you put so much time into the relations and getting the permission and years in, you get a phone call that says Trump has ended it one second ago. I assume very little knowledge of what the hell he just ended in. Your reaction to me says everything about you. I least read on your face, which is like, OK, that's the next hurdle.
Yeah, well, we have a new strategy. We're going to build it here in the United States. Even in the best case, it's about a three year setback. But I've been spending time with the Department of Energy in the Congress about how we get it built. I mean, basically for clean energy, there's three ways it could get solved. We could have a miracle in storage. So you you can store all that renewable energy that may not happen.
You've got fusion, which is this TerraPower nuclear plant, and then you have a fusion, which is even harder. But one of those three, at least one has to work or else this whole clean energy thing will be nearly impossible. So we should put tons of money behind all three to give ourselves the best chance.
Yeah, I guess I have such limited knowledge on it, but I guess I had always heard that the kind of fusion model is just science fiction or is that not science fiction? Well, they always say it's it's been fifty years away for the last fifty years. So the technical difficulty of solving the problems of fusion is probably the easiest of the three. It's almost just into. Earring and societal acceptance for the vision part, the work, the other two parts require breakthroughs, but there's lots of crazy optimistic people who are working on the storage miracle or the fusion miracle.
We should get behind those people in parallel. Let's no doubt for one second.
Why is the storage issue, in your estimation, harder to mount? What is the hurdle there?
Well, every battery ever built in the history of the world couldn't store a month of power for Tokyo. And so it's unnatural to be able to store that much energy. And the physics constants about how you improve that are very daunting. I've lost a lot of money in battery companies and the batteries for electric cars. The amount of storage is like 50 times less than for this grid storage. So we'll solve the electric car problem. There are people like Elon and Jake deep in various great innovators who will make the passenger electric car become mainstream, but lots of incredible work.
So the passenger thing is in good shape, being able to make electricity reliably, even when you have a 10 day storm. So that wind and sun won't work. That I hope we solve. But there's only those three parts now, time management.
Your commitment early on to taking time for yourself these week long periods where you allow yourself to step out of the forest. And I think that's such great wisdom behind that. And I'm glad people are really teaching that is something of value. But I do wonder how much time do you allocate for self introspection?
Well, until I did the Headspaces thing, which is only like 10 minutes a day and I miss some days, you know, at night, I like to stay up late and I'm more of a night person. Melinda's more of a morning person. So I get a little bit of alone time to reflect at night, and that's helpful. Usually the kids have gone to bed. Hopefully they've gone to bed by then.
Well, I did have that as a specific question because you're the sole reason I keep drinking Diet Coke and I use it as my defense all the time because I get so much heat here in L.A. about drinking the Diet Coke. And I go, listen, the smartest guy in the world is drinking, I don't know, thirty five a day.
That one video of you reading your books, man, the fucking time lapse, they're just piling up. And I'm thinking, oh my God, he must he should have a shoot next to his desk that just goes out to the recycling. It'd be so helpful to you. Let me install that for you. Do you have trouble sleeping and tell me why Diet Cokes find for us.
I must be acclimated to a reasonable level of caffeine. I don't drink coffee after noon because it's a much more intense dose of caffeine than Diet Coke is. But I'm able to sleep quite well. You know, I think I'm used to Diet Coke. If I stop drinking it, I think I'd have a little bit of withdrawal cause. And so it's great.
Like we're doing drugs and drinking alcohol 16 years ago and I one time quit Diet Coke for about eight months. I was like, I don't even want to be alive.
It is worth it. Oh, there's no reward to this.
I don't enjoy being on planet Earth without it. If I pitch the Coca-Cola Company, as you and I is like the spokes, it's just like you and I just enjoying the shit out of life. Pounding Diet Cokes. Are you up for that?
I know bad, but I bet they pass a lot.
OK, Coca-Cola, if you're listening, we're your guys. I think if you win through time and you looked at the people who built Ford, Dupont, you name Boeing, those people have not been historically good fathers. It's really a time consuming endeavor. And I wonder, can someone do both? And what has been your evolution on that? Yeah, so I stepped down as CEO in the year two thousand. Then I left my full time work at Microsoft in two thousand eight and I would definitely say I was a better father after I retired.
You know, I'm not saying you can't be a good father and do hard jobs, but in my specific case, I was able to put more time into it. And even talking to my oldest, she's like, yeah, you could have done a little better in those early years.
And sure, you know, if you go another 20 years doing really well, then I'll forgive you for that.
You'll be back to zero. Exactly.
So that kids are nice. We joke around about it. But yes, there was some tension and that would come up between Melinda and I. It's OK. You're doing a dinner tonight. You're you're headed off to that trip. And, you know, being a father is a lot of fun. So I'm lucky that I was able to have most of my kids childhood when I wasn't nutty about my work, my twenties. I mean, I couldn't have even been a husband in my twenties.
I was thirty eight when I got married. I was forty one when our first child was born. I'm similar, I was thirty eight and forty and yeah, a I just was way too self-centered prior to that too. I would think regularly when they were having like hour three of a fit, I thought, you're so lucky I'm not in my 20s. It would have been a dangerous place. I just barely made it at 40 years old with the patients.
Do you think in a way they may have saved your life in that? So I have had a similar experience where I evaluate everything much differently. Now I do jobs. The time commitment is the first thought. The money is really second. It's all about the time commitment. It's how much am I going to be at home with my kids? And that's done two things for me. One is it's help with the workaholism. And then two, it's given me another pillar of my identity, one that I really that fills me up, that gives me so much self esteem that it helped me d prioritize and deemphasize this other thing.
That was my sole identity.
Yeah. When I was in my twenties, you know, when things were going well for Microsoft, I was too Ambulante. When things were going poorly, I was too negative. I mean, that was all I was, you know, my view was, OK, if this thing doesn't succeed, I'm a complete worthless person. And yeah. And for me in my twenties, OK, it worked, even though I don't recommend it for everyone now that I have the kids, the foundation and the foundation has many different projects, I'm a lot more calm and unemotional about, OK, this malaria vaccine failed.
OK, that's really sad. But here's how we regroup. You know, no yelling required to. Yes. Between being a parent and aging and broadening my sense of self-worth beyond the one monomaniacal thing, it's a much healthier life. I have to say. I think you'll live a lot longer. It also probably opened you up in a way for your philanthropy that probably wouldn't have existed.
Stay tuned for more arms if you dare. We are supported by square now, you might know Square is that little white reader, but Square has a lot more tools that can help businesses, especially now that businesses are having to figure out when and how to safely reopen and make things work in this new normal. But businesses are stepping up to the challenge, like bluegrass drive in a family owned drive in theater in Bluegrass, Iowa. Bluegrass has multiple screens and showcases recent and classic movies, along with music, concert films.
They had to shut down temporarily, but when the restrictions were lifted, they had to figure out new ways of running their business. Bluegrass put in place social distancing to follow state guidelines and set up a square online store for their concession stand. Customers can order food and drinks online and get a notification when their order is ready for pickup. This lets customers skip the line and reduces crowding at the concession stand. So if you're a business owner, Square wants you to know it has the tools to help you shift your business like bluegrass is doing.
No matter if you're a drive in retail store or whatever, you can easily start selling online with pickup delivery and shipping. And if you're selling a person square can help you accept contactless payments. All these tools work together. You just need a square account to get started. See all the ways Square can help your business right now by visiting square dotcom ghost decks. We are supported by the good neighbors at State Farm.
Now, we've had a lot of experts on this show. So many I can't even count them. You know, six, we've had more than six.
OK, and then under a couple hundred. Yeah, yeah. But when it comes to experts on insurance, State Farm is where it's at. State Farm offers everyone surprisingly great rates. They have knowledgeable agents standing by, helping you get personalized coverage. And all this is backed up by award winning, easy to use technology. It's a great price with even greater service when you want the real deal. Like a good bye, good, good, good, good neighbor State Farm is the.
I got to tell you the sweetest thing, they saw me a lot, I have five and a seven year old. They saw me a lot over the last two days watching stuff, reading about you. And they would ask, what are you doing on I'm interviewing my favorite person. Oh, Bill Gates. So my seven year old watched a lot of the documentary with me, and I was just leaving to come here. And my seven year old came outside and she said, Daddy, good luck interviewing Bill Gates.
And I said, You know what, honey, if I do a bad job, I come home. You're still my daughter. And I really. That's the truth. That is the truth. Like, I could fuck this up nine ways to Sunday. I could be disappointed in myself. And I walked through the door and I'm like, oh, my God, I'm that little girl's dad. It's all gravy. Absolutely. You have three. Yeah.
Girl, boy, girl. The what's the gap between the oldest and the youngest? It's about three years, three years and then three years. Yeah.
So the youngest probably has a much different experience as your child than the oldest. Yeah.
She got more time at the younger age of course. But you're less interested because it's your third. Right. It's like it's a weird, it's a weird ratio.
No the oldest feels like we were way more strict with her. So she's like, come on, give me a break. Why are you so easy on her? She tries to parent her much younger sister a little bit. Anyway, it all works. But, you know, and this pandemic, you know, it's mostly a bad thing. But in terms of times with kids, actually I've gotten way more than I expected and that's made it very special.
Leonardo Da Vinci's Notebook. This is something that you bought at some point. Yeah, that's right. Is it one book or is there many? Well, he has several notebooks. All of them, except for this one, are in European museums and don't travel. So this is the only one that gets out and students around the world have a chance to engage with. So you loan it. It travels nine months a year and then it sits in darkness the other three months.
First of all, why did you want it? Well, it's kind of weird that somebody can own adventure. I mean, he was the Renaissance man. He figured out things that nobody had ever figured out. His breadth of understanding was incredible. There's a great Walter Isaacson book about him. Oh, I'll read that. Isaacson is a great writer on all the stuff. His Steve Jobs book is probably the most popular. It's just called Jobs. Exactly.
That's him. Yeah. Yeah, that's what I read. Yeah. So I told Linda I'm going to buy a notebook and choose like you already have a notebook.
And I was like, no, no, not this notebook. So it's, it's weird to own it but it, it's just so brilliant. Is he if you had to list or rank the people that you were most enamored with as far as being intellectuals, where's he at in that list? Well, I did that.
He pushed himself to understand things. And the broad way he did that, he's up there. Would, you know, maybe twenty people who self-motivated, asking themselves constructive questions and not giving up. That's inspirational.
Do you need an eyepiece for did he write with some eyepiece that inverted it, flipped it and did something else to it?
He wrote upside down and backwards. But now the view is that he did that. I'm a left hander and so I always have ink on my hand. And if you write like Dubinski did, then you'd never get ink on your hand because you love OK, you're going to love this.
So I requested for Monaca. This is years ago.
Years ago I said, I'm going to start writing. How did I describe it? Backward.
Yeah, just back. Yeah. You wanted to start on the right side of the paper and work your way. That's right.
I was I was going to learn to just spell everything backwards. That was going to be my plan and reverse engineer every sentence. And then so she she made me a notebook with the binding on the other side so that I could accomplish this. And he never used it. Well, it's harder than I thought it'd be.
Yes. Not for divinity.
But now when you when you hold the book, can you feel anything? Well, it's it's parchment. It's just paper. And it's the paper in those times actually was not acidic. So it's extremely well preserved and paper was expensive and he did a lot of things. All in one place and so historians have got to figure it out. And so I know this one supervisor enjoyed looking at it. He has very good penmanship, which I do not.
Of course, he was one of the best drawers ever, and he used drawing as a way of stimulating his thinking. You can see like he's figuring out rivers and erosion and two rivers meet and he ends up seeing it through drawing it. Exactly. That was his way. People mostly know him as an artist, although he was just a curious kid who fell in between. He wasn't upper class to go to school, but he was a bastard son of a noble, so they couldn't make him work in the fields.
So he was just a free person walking around. And then he gets at age 15, apprenticed to the great art masters. After two years, they're like, oh, my God, you're you're ahead of us.
Was this thing that he hated finishing stuff. He was a perfectionist. And so even when he dies, three of his paintings that he'd been working on, all of them over 20 years, they're still with him and he's touching them up and working. So, yes, he finished very, very few things in his life. He did a lot of plays. The thing he finished the most were these entertainment things because the nobles found that so valuable that a big part of his job was the little place that he produced.
Oh, no kidding. That was part of the guild there, right. Where they started paying recreationally to bring talent like that in. Yeah, well, then he left the guilds and there was a rich man who he would be in charge of making weapons for him or entertaining for him or doing architecture for him. Whatever the guy wanted, he was kind of this jack of all trades, but mostly he wanted entertainment. That's who I want to be for you.
I do wheelies in the front yard on motorcycles. Like whatever you find amusing, I'll be the jester.
Well, work on your drawing then. Oh, boy.
That's that's that's not that's not good. He's really good at drawing it. They're very odd drawings.
They're very good. They're not very realistic. The giving pledge, which is so incredible. Is it hard for you to ask people for their money or is that come easy to you?
Well, the giving pledge, you're not giving me any money, right? You're just committing that over your lifetime you'll give them a way which if you have massive amounts, it shouldn't be too hard. So, you know, some people turn me down in terms of joining the group, but it's a group that we're learning together, encouraging each other to do more, to do it earlier, particularly in the pandemic. There's been a lot of talk about, OK, what is the government not doing?
Well, how do we step up and fill those holes? You know, income inequality is incredibly real. It's a big concern of mine. But at the same time, I'm not on board with objecting to billionaires and especially with what you've done and what Rockefeller did. You know, there's a freedom that you have that is so valuable. Again, you don't have to do something that's popular. You don't have to do something that you need political support for.
You are free to tackle any problem you want. Would you agree that there's great value in billionaires so long as they're as generous as you and Buffett and these other people who have signed up, that it is of great value to us?
Absolutely. And there's lots of room to collect more in taxes from very rich people and still have enough that philanthropists can go out and pursue things that governments not risk oriented or doesn't know how to assemble the right kind of team. So philanthropy, even though it's a small part of society's resources, I do think it's quite valuable. But I do separate that from the idea that, hey, they should make people like me pay a lot more in taxes, not one hundred percent.
Maybe I'm selfish to say that, but what's the number?
Because I think I'm pretty open to more taxes, but there's certainly a number. When I heard 70 percent was like, nope, that's too high for me. I don't want to go thirty cents on the dollar. What's that number for you?
Well, somewhere between 50 percent and 70 percent tissue get to very high levels. Even a very high levels, something like 70 percent is doable. And we've had historically, the US actually had these very high taxes. So, you know, you can push it too far, but there's a lot of room to collect more. Would you say that? Are you a centrist? Very much, yeah. Yeah, me too. I feel like we're unicorn's at this point.
In fact, any time I see something, both sides hates me and I'm like, oh, I see why people are dis incentivized to be a center, as both sides say.
You know, it's a lonely center when you think, you know, we're going to overregulate and regulate, overregulate under regulate. But, you know, democracy has a way of being self-correcting. So, you know, just making sure. There's enough technical skill to help the well-meaning people is the part that I can help with. So as you've been more and more immersed in covid and trying to stay abreast and it's almost impossible, right. Because it's hourly that something is completely negated, we were working upon.
So you got to be flexible to be immersed in it as you are.
But as this vaccine becomes available, what should our role be as a country, as the richest country in the world?
Well, the US historically on global health, things like this, like smallpox eradication or polio or HIV in the US has been phenomenal. And, you know, President Bush started a thing called PEPFAR, which has got 18 million people alive on HIV medicine. That's very bipartisan. This situation, weirdly, we're so domestic focused that we're doing a good job of funding the research and development to create a vaccine. But we haven't stepped up to help fund that vaccine for the poor countries.
We've only made factories just for ourselves. And so hopefully in the next week or two it will get, you know, something like four billion to buy those vaccines. So that's my hot topic right now, is that even though ninety nine percent of this money should go to help the US, if we set aside that one percent from a humanitarian point of view, strategic point of view and just selfish point of view of the disease not coming back, you know, that one percent will be phenomenally well spent.
Well, let's add national security into there, which absolutely people really underestimate how much of this stuff is preventative that causes so much more money down the road if we have to go to war with somebody. But these acts of goodwill are hugely instrumental in keeping us safe, aren't they? And they are driving stability in these countries, which is a win win, making sure that there's factories outside the US as well as inside the US. That's the part that we're missing right now.
And that can be done just by setting aside a modest amount of money. Is there any fear of that tech getting exported? Let's say that you could make it in China for 10 cents on the dollar. Will that be a roadblock?
Well, actually, the factories in India, not so much in China, will be part of this global coalition because they have very high volume factories there. And so the pharma companies are for the first time allowing something they invented to be made in another company's factories. And I'm very happy with that cooperation. They keep saying to me, well, will the US fund the procurement? And I said, yeah, I will take care of that. But, you know, this may be our last chance until into sometime next year because the election will get everybody distracted.
So this bill, we're going to try our best to get it into this this bill.
OK, my last question, and it's totally self-serving, is I love that the doc starts with you getting arrested for speeding. Do you still get going fast?
Yes, but not to the same degree I have this Porche can now all you have one. It can accelerate like nothing else.
So it's a little tempting to say, do you like cars? Do you collect any? I'm not an expert like a lot of people. My very first car was a Porsche 911. You know, we in our family has overly nice cars. But this type can, you know, as soon as I could get it, because I'm very big on climate change. It's electric. You know, the Tesla is a fantastic car, but this one is kind of a special deal for me.
Yeah, they're incredible. I've only seen pictures of it, but I'm a host of Top Gear, so I think I'm going to get to drive it soon. And I'm really looking forward. It to me like adding the Porsche racing history racing feel the handling. If that gets mated with what this insane acceleration of Tesla has produced, sign me up. I'm in. Yeah, they do a good job on the synthetic sound effects. So, you know, it doesn't sound like a Porsche, but they make it sound like the Porsche.
Did you keep that first 911? Because, you know, those things have skyrocketed in value.
No, I eventually sold that for a while. I almost lost my license, so I slowed down for a little puppy.
I love it now. It also came out in the dock that you're a fast skier, you're a fast mountain biker. You've got a healthy amount of daredevil. Again, when we get into this impossible lining up of variables that make you you that certainly that. Right. I mean, the risk taker part of you.
Yeah, certainly. If you've taken risks and they've worked out, you're tempted to keep pushing the limit. And so, you know, funny nuclear energy or an HIV vaccine, you know, even though the odds objectively of all of this innovation stuff I do quite high. I know that it can work. And of course, I'm lucky now that I have. Resources to back brilliant inventors. So, yes, my optimism has been reinforced through good luck.
Yeah, you're a little bit on a closed loop of, like, really great outcomes. This is dangerous to say, but I've been sympathetic, not the right word. Maybe I've been understanding of politicians who have gotten themselves in hot water because I go, yeah, their whole life they did something that everyone said couldn't be done and they discovered by and large they could do it.
So when you tell them you can't have an affair in the White House says, oh, I did this other thing, like you can get in trouble from that close feedback loop of positive outcomes and you've managed to not destroy your life. And it's really impressive more than I think people might give you credit for. No success is a dangerous thing. And being married to the right woman is the best antidote for that.
Well, I have one more thing just because I don't think anyone knows this.
But when I spoke to your communications person before we got to chat with you, she said something I didn't know about your foundation, which you can tell me if this is wrong. After you or Melinda, whoever passes last, the foundation is going to end 20 years after that. That's right.
It's a spend down foundation because they'll be rich people in the future who will understand the problems at those times better than we do. And our foundation is really good at ending child to death, ending HIV, malaria. And so we should take all the resources and the thing that we really focused on, including US education and do our best to achieve those, instead of having some old friends sit on the board and feel prestigious, like this has been so fun.
And I just want to make myself available to you when you get to season. I don't know what of parenthood. And I do some naughty business and you want to call me and yell at me. I'm at your disposal.
All right. All right. This is fantastic. Yeah, you really made our year. So thank you so much for your time. Thank you for everything you do. You'll continue to be in our gratitude list. Well, thanks. This is a blast. Good job. OK, great. Take care.
And now my favorite part of the show, the fact check with my soulmate, Monica Padman. William Gates, oh, my God, we did it. Oh, my gosh, how many days did your buzz last? Still going. Still going. Yeah, I have residual buzz for sure, but I was high as a kite for about four days.
He's your hero and you got to share with him. How did that feel? He was so cute and funny and so cute. Playful. Oh my gosh. I hope he doesn't mind me referring to him as playful.
But, you know, that is what I tell my hairstylist.
What? Just make it playful. Oh, sure.
I always look up the playful of it. Any who what a guy. I mean, of course he's going to be smart.
You already know that. Yeah, that's a foregone conclusion. But then you see him. He looks so cute. It's impossible.
My only fear was that he might be reserved. Mm hmm.
But he was so great at communicating and shows the kind of show that the publicists tell them, like you got to stay guarded.
Well well, it's counterintuitive because you you can't really stay guarded knowing that interview.
Yeah, exactly. So you have to have some vulnerability. Yeah. Sadly, his favorite color is not green.
I was happy about that. I've always carried around a lot of guilt for liking Blue the most.
I believe he said blue. He did say between that and the disease. Oh yeah. Oh, that was another thing. So you said you wanted to memorialize this and then you, like, held up your Diet Coke, but the viewers didn't know. Oh, good.
I'm glad you're red flag that. Yeah. So if there was one. Yeah, there was a Diet Coke cheers.
Because they both loved it so much. Did it almost make you want to drink a Diet Coke? You know what.
Yeah, with Bill we only had one left.
I know what luck or misfortune.
I know it was luck because what if you didn't have one? We would have had to cancel the interview. You're right.
But had I a 12 pack of DS, I would have banged back six of them for sure. Just to show off in front of Bill. Yeah.
Show what kind of league I'm in on the DS. OK, but green.
So I looked up what colors mean about people. Oh great. So black people who choose black as their favorite color. And this is in Psychology Today, not Wikipedia. People who choose black as their favorite color are often artistic and sensitive. While these people aren't introverts, they are careful with the details of their lives and do not share easily with others.
White people who, like white, are often organize and logical and don't have a great deal of clutter in their lives.
Wow, you're partially white. Go ahead. I don't know about that. OK, read those who love read live life to the fullest and are tenacious and determined in their endeavors.
Jess, I think you just associate right with Jessica's area and it sounded like him. I do that to blue.
It blue is your favorite color.
This is you. You love harmony, are reliable, sensitive and always make an effort to think of others. You like to keep things clean and tidy and feel that stability is the most important aspect in life. Hmm. Doesn't really sound like you.
So this is that classic thing that any time you hear a description of yourself, you identify with it because it's about you.
Yeah. Yeah. What's yours? Orange.
Now, if you told me that the other day.
No, purple is my face. Oh, purple. Purple I'll give. But I'm not there yet. Green. Those who have the color green are often affectionate, loyal and frank. Green lovers are also aware of what others think of them and consider the reputation very important. Are we more green? I do love green.
Oh, it's a great color. It's my second favorite yellow. I also love yellow. You enjoy learning and sharing your knowledge with others. Finding happiness comes easy to you and others would compare you to sunshine. Oh, that's nice purple.
Oh is it the opposite of sunshine.
Oh my God. Wow. You are artistic and unique. You have a great respect for people, but at times can be arrogant. So I guess that's right. And I guess is the opposite of sunshine as you said.
Well that's fine. No, no.
The colors, yellow and purple are objectively opposites. Right. Like to me, purple's one stop before you're black, that you've mixed too many colors together. It's like the last stop before black. And then I think like yellow is the last up before white.
Oh, wow. All right.
That's okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Brown, you are a good friend and try your hardest to be reliable and dependable. Flashy objects are not something you desire. You just want a stable life. So now we know there was no orange on here, but good thing I hate orange. Yeah. I don't care for it. I actually don't hate it but it's not.
You look great in it. Oh you got, you got some Panji hangi a pink guy Panji in orange and it's it's a great color on you.
Thank you. It pops.
OK, so he said garage but I'm pretty sure he met ADIC. Oh right. He said he wasn't at the garage but I think he met the attic which to be fair to him is above the garage.
I went a step further as you recall, and I thought he meant garage. And I was like someone researched me enough and told him, Hey, this knucklehead loves cars. Yes. Say that you'll be off to the races, which maybe maybe you're definitely right.
You're definitely right. Uh oh. By the way, don't you love how much entertainment he watches? Yes. And did Brad Pitt respond now?
De Blasio has been a week. OK, sorry. Charly's he's going to.
He's just busy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK, so we talked a little bit about Kent, but we didn't say who Kent was. You were referring to the documentary. And in case you haven't seen it, Kent was his childhood best friend and he died as a kid in an accident.
Well, not only was he his best friend, he was like a genius as well in his hobbies were super eclectic. And he collected Forbes magazine and Entrepreneur magazine. Yeah, Aviation magazine and all this. He was a daredevil intellectually and then decided the best way to snap out of his geek dumb was to start mountain climbing. So he was in a class and indeed mountain climbing. Oh, crazy, sad.
OK, the notebook I made you, I wish I wanted to find it because it had to be more than just I found it on the other side. Right. Because when I just when we just flip over right now, there was trace paper involved as well.
Yeah, but why? See, that's the thing.
I think I invented something that I forgot I invented. And I think you manufactured that thing. I invented it.
Neither of us can remember. Oh, no. We're going to need to find it and blow off the dust.
You can say I forgot about more products than you've ever invented. Oh, I. You think that would be a good burn?
Yeah. You're arguing with somebody about who's made more profit from more products to market.
Oh my God. Some of these presents we've given you are so stupid. They're so thoughtful. Also you speaking of thoughtfully, you wore a suit which I thought was so cute. And here's what I was upset with, is that you told me you knew I was going to do that. By the way, it didn't occur to me to last minute. So you knew before I knew and you did not arrive in a ball gown.
That would have been so great if we like we were receiving the president or something for a cocktail party.
First of all, I don't own a ball. Well, I wish if I had my prom dress and I thought you would wear a suit, it occurred to me on my drive over I said, you know, I think he's going to show up in a suit, OK?
OK, so I didn't have time to plan, but I did plan. I wore all green and stupidly, I wore a green tie.
Yeah. We both were certain he was going to pick green for his favorite color. Embarrassing. We're trying to play to his ego.
Is it flattering to get our approval?
So he's watching parenthood, which is so flattering. Right.
So lucky. You've been so flattered this week.
I have, yeah. Yeah. It's pretty bonkers, isn't Katims. Thank you. Text for that. I said there was a point when he said he liked parenthood and he was in the middle of it. It was excited to talk to Crosby. I just like relax so much. Oh good.
He's not completely inconvenienced by this. Yeah.
He might even enjoy it, but he said when you get to certain seasons, you're doing some naughty business or give you a spoiler alert coming. Well, no, I'm just going to say it's season two. OK, episode 17. That's really in the back at the fan, OK? Yeah. It's called Do Not Sleep With Your Autistic Nephew Therapist, which is a bit of quite a spoiler, but that is what it's called.
So that might be the episode that's fallout from it. Do you think they would really label it that?
OK, maybe not. Oh, you know what I'm saying? Like, it's an episode. We probably fight about it the whole episode. This is so embarrassing that I know this. But you're right. It's not the one where you actually commit the crime is called like the it's Max's birthday party and it's that magician.
And it's like called something about that. He's a bug guy or.
Yeah, that's the one. Bingo. We did not get him to say diarrhea. Unfortunately, that's maybe my sole regret.
You're right, because he says it so frequently in the documentary as he has to. He's talking about sanitation. It's not like he's being excessive. It's just required. But you don't expect to hear the world's most brilliant man say diarrhea, diarrhea, diarrhea over and over. And that is sort of getting the Monacan I am. Boy, do we get the giggles every time it came up.
Yeah, I had a friend who had to turn it off because it was too too many times. She just she didn't know how to handle it because it was so serious a topic that she felt really guilty about. Laughing So she just had to turn it.
That's where you and I strength. Really. So there's no you don't feel guilty about that.
True. So the anti vaccine Whole Foods thing I was looking at that I couldn't find the chart, but a lot of places were saying the anti vaccines are often described as middle and upper class women who breastfeed their children, shop at Whole Foods and scour the web for vaccine related conversation. They believe that their thinking supersedes that of doctors. Typically, their families earn more than seventy five thousand dollars a year. So that's just some stuff inside everyone in nesh of the population.
It is, yeah, because it's anti science, which you associate with not Whole Foods shoppers.
Yeah, there's definitely an arrogance that comes, I think, with education where you're like, I'm smart enough to know that there's falsehoods here.
I'm smarter than yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, I want to clear up. I tried to address it on Instagram, but the whole I was confusing The Raven with Tell-Tale Heart. Uh.
Yes, fine fellow pointed that out to me, so we should do another reminder, though, maybe we'll tackle Tell-Tale Heart when I have more energy. Yeah, let's can I give you a little theory?
I have. Yes, please. When it got on to cars, said, you know, we've gone electric. Of course he has to of course, I could tell you was looking at me like I visit you. I want to go out in some shit.
Oh, OK. Well, that's the I want to go I want to go out and some shit because Daddy still likes to play in the dirt.
OK. That's what I think happened. It was just a glance. All right. I didn't catch it. You can say a lot in a glance.
You really can. Yeah, you can say everything. One thing I have to make clear, we forgot to do something and it was important and we forgot. Oh, on the documentary bills, I think assistant packs a bag for him every time he goes anywhere. It's a humongous bag full of books. Yeah. Yeah. Because he needs to read all the time. It looks heavy as fuck. Looks so heavy.
So Christan want oh you want to make Bill a bag that says Bill's book bag.
Well is it wants to or already has. She hasn't done it yet. That I know of. She just wanted to put out an official invite. That's right.
And she, she's made a few bags for other people over this quarantine.
She has Molly and Colin, beautiful couple friends of ours. She made Molly a beautifully decorated love bag with clay on a Subaru, jumping over some dirt.
One of her many strong suits is bag making, bag making and just art in general. Yeah, definitely. And she uses puff paint and it's very cute. And she would like to send bill bills. Is that too much to ask? We're not asking nearly enough. And I guess we're asking the assistant.
Right. Bill doesn't give a shit what bag gets handed to him as long as that thing's packed to the gills with super dense scientific spreadsheets. I don't think he'll care. He won't care. He won't even notice.
He'll get photographed. Her Etsy store will blow up. I am worried about his back.
Like I want him to wear a backpack because I'm nervous about this one shouldered bag. Yeah.
That's so heavy on his body, but he's so mindful. I imagine he has a whole program where he alternates shoulders to keep them equally straight to her tank. I'm worried.
You're pretty worried, aren't you? Very. OK, so this is tough. So as we talked about on the Sean Penn episode, you have had to change your profile to sixty.
And you know where I'm going.
I do. How old is he? Let's look it up. What would you guess? Sixty seven.
He is sixty four. OK, OK. So I don't have to go up very much higher. It's not asking a lot because you're already at sixty. Yeah, I'm happy to go to sixty. You're going to go to sixty five. Yeah.
To include Bill. Of course if there's a Bill Gates type out there I want that. I think we would have heard of them.
Write another Bill Gates type.
Maybe he's just not known yet but will become known in the thirty three year old boy.
I guess that would be one of these other. Now you could last through one of the up and coming builds too hard for me. Grab them at thirty three.
That takes a lot of projection on my end to know if they're going to become a Bill Gates type. I need to like just get one of the 64 year olds out already. Is that Bill Gates. Yeah. I mean could you imagine raising little Bill Gates. A little boy. If you had a boy, a son would you name him Bill Gates Jr.? I would. And I'd put them in a little work shirt right away.
The go button up Bill Gates Junior. Oh, and I've got my full name every every single time I referred to him. Bill Gates Junior. Oh, my gosh.
Then over here, let's refresh those batteries on that calculator. That would be so funny to name your kid Bill Gates Junior. I know he's Everman business casual.
Oh, my gosh. I think I hit them all.
OK, last question. OK, because I think we share this. You know, I have alternating low self-esteem and megalomania, OK, there's almost no stop in the middle. I'm either thinking something so bad about myself that couldn't be possible or something so grandiose.
I have entertained the notion that he's going to reach out to me to to chill.
I really hope that happens. But do you think it's completely delusional?
No, I don't. I think it's in the realm of possibility.
Well, look, we did the best we could. I feel like we left our best routine on the stage that is sane and cheer. We left our best routine on the stage.
We left it all on the floor, on the mat, on the stage. No, went on a stage. Yeah, but you wouldn't say that. You'd say the man. Or the floor. OK, but also we just don't say that, we say good job, we want again, this is getting boring.
We got to start losing so we can mix it up a little bit, change the odds. Yeah, no, I hope you feel proud of yourself.
It was a really good interview.
Thank you. I thought you were spectacular to your very, very relaxed as well. Hangi you were blaming it on the guy. Yeah.
Okeydokey, well, we check that off our life. I got to add one more to say, OK, this is very special. It is. I'm not going to be fearful of being saccharin. OK, I got to give you even more credit because I have in you what I was lucky enough to have in Aaron Weekly, which is if we would have eaten shit. We would have shared it and laughed about it for the rest of our lives.
Yeah, there was going to be a win whether we triumphed or a big old duty, duty, duty, a pooty duty.
And it's solely because I share this with you.
Thank you. I love you. Love you.