Bill Gates time has come. Next month he will officially retire from Microsoft and turn full control over to Steve Ballmer. This is a significant event for many reasons. In all the ways that really matter Bill Gates is Microsoft. It is molded after his personality and it shows itself for better or worse in all aspects of Microsoft’s business.
I admire Bill Gates and have tried to emulate certain traits that I have identified that I feel made him successful. It doesn’t mean I an an advocate for Microsoft business practices or that everything about Bill Gates is admirable, but it is undeniable that he is/was a technical and marketing genius. I don’t think I have a ton of similarities between myself and Bill Gates, but there is one area that feel I am very similar to him. We both love the technology side of things more, but are better at the business/marketing angle. I am a bit of an enigma in the technology/linux/hosting world that I live in because I am a geek that isn’t a geek (I guess some people would argue that Im 100% geek ). Let me explain – Bill Gates is and was a brilliant software engineer. It is his passion and he has a great talent for it, but what really made Microsoft successful was that he could use that technical knowledge to strike business deals. He is an extremely savvy businessman.
Technical expertise almost never goes hand in hand with great business sense. So many technology companies are started by amazingly talented developers, but fail because they don’t realize that a great product doesn’t always translate to a great business. I feel Bluehost and Hostmonster is way ahead of the game compared to so many hosting companies because I have a love of the technical side of the business. In fact, if I could pick any job to do full time (Just for fun) it would be a system administrator. I love to develop software as well but realize that I am only a moderately talented developer compared to the great developers we currently employ.
Technical expertise at the top enabled Microsoft to maneuver quickly and make business decisions based on a solid technical background. I feel the same way about Bluehost. Get ready for a very arrogant comment – Rarely (Never) do I talk with CEOs of other large hosting companies where I feel they have a super strong hands on technical understanding of the underpinnings of linux, system kernels, storage systems, etc. Many would argue that they don’t need to know and understand all the “details”. That is what admins/developers are for right? Maybe they are right, but for my businesses I don’t feel comfortable not being able to work directly with these groups.
If you don’t have a deep understanding its hard to really know what to fix and how to improve. Without that knowledge how do you lead? If you can’t lead, how do you succeed? Bill Gates was the master at this. Conversely, in my opinion, Steve Ballmer is the antithesis of this method. Look at the complete mess Microsoft is today. Microsoft’s top decision makers aren’t the “get their hands dirty” technical guys that used to run the operation and it shows.
Whether you admire or despise Bill Gates you have to respect him and what he has done. He single handedly took down IBM in the personal computing arena against every conceivable obstacle. I salute his incredible accomplishment!
Matt Heaton / Bluehost.com