Bill's Most Excellent Adventure


Microsoft Chief Strategist Takes A Week Off


Hold the presses. Bill Gates had another one of his patented "Think Weeks." Stand back and wait for the epiphanies to roll forth.

Remember how he discovered the Internet after one of these sojourns? He forgets to mention (except in one humorous video remarkable for its attempt at self-deprecation) that he discovered the Web only after billions of other people, including Netscape, had already done so. Gates has no time for such quibbles. He is a BUSY MAN! And did I mention rich?

He also discovered the graphical windowing user interface. Of course that was after Apple did.

The Wall Street Journal chronicled the latest in Bill's super-private, top-secret, covered-by-the-cone-of-silence weeks off on page one. Some cynics might wager that's the best editorial slot money can buy.

Gates has himself helicoptered or private-jetted into this undisclosed location overlooking the Olympic range, secludes himself from colleagues and family, everyone except apparently his cook and the Wall Street Journal reporter. And he emerges all the brighter for it, we're told. After all he reads TONS and TONS of papers.

Last year he decided that computer interoperability was a good thing. Wow. What a breakthrough. That particular revelation may have evolved from a think week or maybe not. But it was bruited by Microsoft PR, and via one of Gates' letters to customers, as if it were chiseled on a stone tablet.

In 2004 he came out with the starting conclusion that spam is bad.

His grasp—albeit belated—of the obvious is admirable.

Maybe after this weeks' session he'll figure out how to get Windows to boot up in less than three minutes.

Or handwriting recognition that actually works. (He's been talking about THAT one for more than a decade.)

Or secure software that is actually secure?

Enough of the Gates worship, people. He's a monopolist and a good business man, but creativity has never been his—or Microsoft's forte.

Truth be told, I'm not alone in this assessment. Investor Jeff Matthews posts his own inimitable take on the Gatesian Think Week today.

Hey, I'm gonna take my own think week. Turn off the cell phone and modem, and hole up at Tresca's luncheonette in Watertown Square for a week and see what comes to me. Stay tuned. I'm hearing some interesting rumblings about a thing called the wheel