Tag Archives: Bill Gates

What do You, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Bono have in common?

It's easy to tell you what you likely DON'T have in common with them – fame, fortune, and good looks

…Okay, Fame and fortune… 

… but here's what you DO have in common with Bill, Warren, and Bono.

24 hours in a day, and a sphere of influence.  

The same thing every human on the planet gets.

It's what you do with those 24 hours, and that sphere of influence that matters.

As a leader, or an aspiring leader, we study successful people and look to emulate them.  Too often however, we limit our perspective of what makes them successful to money, position, titles and influence.

"Work hard and get rich" are goals that will leave you empty.  How will you know you've arrived?

Each of these people are highly successful in what they do, have earned a great deal of money in the process, but have followed their passions and have individually committed to using their resources to make a difference in this world.

Dan Pink, in his latest book Drive:The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us highlights the research that shows that in cognitive based tasks, money is a poor motivator for increased performance.  What does drive performance (or results) is the amount of Autonomy ( the desire to direct our own lives), Mastery (the urge to get better and better at something that matters), and Purpose (the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves) we have in our careers and lives. (If you would prefer the animated version of the book, check out RSA Animate's treatment of the book below or at the link here)

What do You, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Bono have in common?

Which gets me back to the things you have in common with Bill, Warren and Bono.

Each of these men have, and have had, 24 hour days to accomplish what they did. Just like you do.

Granted, they may have had connections and resources that you don't, but they didn't have any more time than you do.

They also had passion which motivated them. If you look at them now, you will see how their passions now drive actions that are having a profound influence in our world.  These guys are PASSION DRIVEN, and you should be too.  And they are working to something bigger than their careers. They choose to spend their time doing impactful things that align with their passions – both in their career and personal life.

If you are a leader (or want to become one), and can't articulate WHY you are in this career, then perhaps it's time to reconsider. If you are spending 100% of your time, energy and resources on making money, then perhaps it's time to reconsider. 

If you are not impacting your sphere of influence to do something in the service of something larger than yourself, perhaps it's time to reconsider.

Sorry to sound preachy. As always, this blog post is written primarily to myself. Consider this my public journal. If I've given you pause to think today, then it has certainly been worth my time to share… and follow my passion, and leverage my sphere of influence.

So… armed with at least two of the things that have made Bill, Warren and Bono "successful", what are you going to do about it?

My final thought is a quote from Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life  

"Killing time is suicide".
Rick Warren

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25 Years of Learning and Laughing with Warren Buffett

Bill GatesfalseFollowingUnfollowBill Gates
Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
I don’t remember the exact day I first met most of my friends, but with Warren Buffett I do. It was 25 years ago today: July 5, 1991.

I think the date stands out in my mind so clearly because it marked the beginning of a new and unexpected friendship for Melinda and me—one that has changed our lives for the better in every imaginable way.

Warren has helped us do two things that are impossible to overdo in one lifetime: learn more and laugh more.

Over the last quarter-century of our friendship, we’ve done a lot of both. Melinda and I often find ourselves recounting some gem of wisdom Warren shared with us, or, chuckling when we recall something funny he said or did.

To mark the anniversary of our friendship, I thought I would share some of my favorite memories of our time together. Warren and I also created a virtual reality film together at this year’s Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder’s Meeting, which you can watch on my blog.

 

An Awkward Start: At first glance, Warren and I may seem like a mismatch. I’m a technology nerd. He’s an investor who doesn’t use email. In fact, I never expected to be friends with him.

In 1991, when my mother called me to come out to our vacation home on Hood Canal to meet a group of friends, including Warren, I didn’t want to go. I told her I was too busy at work. Warren would be interesting, my mother insisted. But I wasn’t convinced. “Look, he just buys and sells pieces of paper. That’s not real value added. I don’t think we’d have much in common,” I told her. Eventually, she persuaded me to go. I agreed to stay for no more than two hours before getting back to work at Microsoft.

Then I met Warren. He started asking me some questions about the software business and why a small company like Microsoft could expect to compete with IBM and what were the skill sets and the pricing. These were amazingly good questions that nobody had ever asked. We were suddenly lost in conversation and hours and hours slipped by. He didn’t come across as a big shot investor. He had this modest way of talking about what he does. He was funny, but what impressed me most was how clearly he thought about the world. It was a deep friendship from our very first conversation.

Oreos for Breakfast: One thing that was surprising to learn about Warren is that he has basically stuck to eating what he liked when he was six years old. He did move past baby food, of course, but he mostly eats hamburgers, ice cream, and Coke. (That’s one reason it’s so fun to go out to dinner with him.) I remember one of the first times he stayed at our house and he opened up a package of Oreos to eat for breakfast. Our kids immediately demanded they have some too. He may set a poor example for young people, but it’s a diet that somehow works for him.

“We love what you’ve done with the dining room, Warren!” When Warren invited Melinda and me to stay at his house in Omaha for the first time, he gave us a tour. When we got to the dining room, we saw that there were no seats on the chairs. Warren was as surprised as we were. “What’s going on?” he said, examining his chairs. Eventually, he learned that the cushions had been removed months before to get reupholstered, but he had not noticed until then. (He must have been eating his Oreos and ice cream in the kitchen.) We’ve been laughing about that visit ever since.

 

Emotionally Invested: Warren earned a reputation as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his shrewd approach to investing in business. But he’s equally gifted at investing in people. I’m always amazed how he is able to draw people in and make it fun for them to learn from him. Even though he keeps up a hectic schedule, Warren finds time to nurture friendships like few other people I know. He picks up the phone and calls to say hello. He regularly sends articles he’s read in the mail that he thinks Melinda or I will find interesting.

I’ve learned many things from Warren over the last 25 years, but maybe the most important thing is what friendship is all about. It’s about being the kind of friend you wish you had yourself. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend who is as thoughtful and kind as Warren. He goes out of his way to make people feel good about themselves and share his joy about life.

To this day, every time I go to Omaha (which I try to do whenever I can), Warren still drives out to the airport to pick me up.

It’s a small gesture, but it means the world to me. I’m always impatient for the plane doors to open because I know Warren will be waiting with a new story or a joke and I’ll be learning and laughing with him all over again.

Thanks for your friendship, Warren. It’s been an amazing 25 years. I look forward to making many more memories with you in the years ahead.

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