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A garbage can full of lightbulbs?
February 7, 2001 5:20 PM   Subscribe

A garbage can full of lightbulbs? Does anyone else think that the newish picture of Bill Gates on his Web site is a bit...odd? At least Mr. Monopoly has moved away from the standard corporate publicity picture that's on his biography page, but still...
posted by tregoweth (25 comments total)

 
I'm guess that it's a play on the working writer -- ya' know, failed drafts littering the floor around the click-clacking typewriter....
posted by amanda at 5:23 PM on February 7, 2001


Or...more ominously...the good ideas he's about to suppress and destroy!

"How many Microsoft software engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?"

"None! They just declare darkness the new standard!"
posted by Kikkoman at 5:36 PM on February 7, 2001


Now we know why there is an electricity shortage -- Bill is searching for his next "bright idea."

posted by jeffbarr at 5:37 PM on February 7, 2001


hey how come bill gates' website won't display in my mozilla nightly?

:)
posted by afx114 at 5:41 PM on February 7, 2001


"I know! We'll integrate the browser with the OS!"

...crash!
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:42 PM on February 7, 2001


This just further confirms for me what I've always thought about his personality. Despite the fact that he and his company have never invented anything of value (only stolen and/or copied things of value), he actually wants to believe that he is responsible for coming up with great ideas. That's what's up with the light bulbs and that dreamy pose. He fancies himself an idea man; a clever, original, and creative inventor, when in fact he's nothing of the sort. This is just another little bit of effort on his part to convince others (and perhaps himself) that he really lives up to the image that he has of himself.
posted by Potsy at 7:26 PM on February 7, 2001


"How many Microsoft software engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?"
Three -- two to hold the ladder steady and one to screw the lightbulb into a sink faucet.
posted by quonsar at 7:27 PM on February 7, 2001


I second that Potsy.

I know I've seen that picture before, the labored inventor, except I think that one was for Thomas Edison. In it Edison is stooped low in his chair and looking at the floor in a tired, vacant stare. Alot better, and more genuine, which it probably was, than a guy smiling on a couch with his hands folded like Mr. Burns from "The Simpsons". Which looks less like inventing and more like planning world domination.
posted by redleaf at 7:39 PM on February 7, 2001


Well, obviously the burned-out lightbulbs in the wastebasket are a visual metaphor for the inane, er, I mean, innovative ideas that Microsoft has explored but ultimately given up on.

If you zoom in on the image really really closely, you can read things like "Microsoft Bob" on the bulbs where the wattage rating would be. They're rendered in Verdana.

And, you'll also note that one of the bulbs in the wastebasket is still illuminated. This, obviously, represents "the one that got away." That would, of course, be Microsoft Multiplan. (Damn you, Epyx!)

Also: that couch just doesn't look comfortable. If that's really where Bill gets his ideas, perhaps his lack of comfort is being translated into the ideas. Or maybe that's why he came up with the La-Z-Boy recliner thingamajig.
posted by hijinx at 7:47 PM on February 7, 2001


Microsoft: We throw away more good ideas before 9 AM than most people have all day!
posted by kindall at 8:11 PM on February 7, 2001


Also: that couch just doesn't look comfortable. If that's really where Bill gets his ideas, perhaps his lack of comfort is being translated into the ideas. Or maybe that's why he came up with the La-Z-Boy recliner thingamajig.

I know you'd think with all that money he could afford to lay down on a full sized couch.
posted by redleaf at 9:53 PM on February 7, 2001


You know, if you rotate that picture just so, and pull the nose out a bit...

Wow, he is Mr. Burns!
posted by DragonBoy at 10:19 PM on February 7, 2001


What seems weird to me is the demonization of a guy who, separate from his business plans, is probably going to save millions, if not billions, of lives through his philanthropy.

I think all of us, at some point, have argued or will argue that we'll take some horrible evil just-to-pay-the-bills job with the understanding that we'll donate some of our salary to charity to make up for our sins. Seems to me, if you judge him by those standards, he's not so bad.

Especially since Bill Gates is not Microsoft, a distinction it seems that no one ever wants to make. Even if he were, every company he/they are competing with is just as evil, and just as greedy and whatever other traits you want to assign.

In regards to "He fancies himself an idea man; a clever, original, and creative inventor, when in fact he's nothing of the sort." I disagree: he invented Microsoft. Good or Bad, that's pretty creative.
posted by anildash at 1:40 AM on February 8, 2001


Like the man or hate him, or remain indifferent. Who cares? The people who declare him evil and a wanna-be, a loser who only wishes he had a cause, etc., seriously, need something better to do with their time. The fact still remains that he's accomplished a lot more then they ever will.All the sheep line up an 'baaa' in unison. Their signal is almost purely noise.
posted by lizardboy at 3:04 AM on February 8, 2001


I really love the people who proclaim things about Bill Gates as if they know him personally. How the hell would anyone who doesn't work with the guy know if he has ever invented anything worthwhile? Is every feature in every Microsoft product worthless? How do you know which he has had a hand in developing?

I'm with you, lizardboy -- sheep. All sheep.
posted by delfuego at 3:52 AM on February 8, 2001


every company he/they are competing with is just as evil
Feh. Some of microsoft's competitors are not companies.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:45 AM on February 8, 2001


Anally speaking, GNU's not a company, and is therefore not covered in the Blanket Statement of Evilicity. :-)
posted by cCranium at 8:14 AM on February 8, 2001


Anally speaking? You're talking out your ass?
posted by kindall at 8:49 AM on February 8, 2001


In that Jim Carrey sort of way?
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 9:18 AM on February 8, 2001


I usually talk out of my ass. Or haven't you people figured that out yet? :-)
posted by cCranium at 9:49 AM on February 8, 2001


Mr. Burns and Bill Gates separated at birth?
posted by dithered at 11:34 AM on February 8, 2001


"Excellent Smithers."
posted by redleaf at 12:15 PM on February 8, 2001


Didn't his philanthropy start on a similar time schedule as his lobbying, i.e., after he realized that the image of greedy billionaire made him a nice big target for the Justice Department?

I could be wrong, though.

And I'm all for rich folks giving money to help better the world, but I know that a lot of it is so they can get tax breaks (such as avoiding the inheritance tax), and to improve their public perception (otherwise, they would give anonymously, no?).

It still, ultimately, is done to further their own interests, and not out of a deeply felt need to help others. At least that's my own jaded perception - I'll be glad to be proven wrong. (Like if a corporation ever dedicated its profits to helping the world be a better place. Oh, I forgot, they can't do that - they can only take action to increase shareholder value, or else they're open to lawsuits. Doh!)
posted by beth at 12:42 PM on February 8, 2001



I agree with you Beth, there's clearly no small amount of self-interest. But if you consider that he's donated literally billions of dollars, for several years now, that makes it a little less icky.

What I really don't understand is why Larry Ellison isn't demonized to the same extent as Gates-- here's a fellow who spends his pocket cash on buying instruments of war such as a Harrier jet and then pays extraordinary fines so he can fly it around. Not to mention the countless times he's had to pay out to settle sexual harrassment lawsuits against subordinate female employees who he's groped.

I agree Bill Gates didn't probably invent much on his own, but at least I would feel OK leaving him in the same room as my theoretical daughter.

And SonofsamIam, I agree that some of the most interesting and vital competitors to Gates aren't companies. That's why I phrased that sentence the way I did.
posted by anildash at 1:12 PM on February 8, 2001


know that a lot of [philanthropy] is so they can get tax breaks (such as avoiding the inheritance tax)

Yeah, it avoids taxes, but at the cost of giving the money away! That's like avoiding paying for your auto registration by setting your car on fire.
posted by kindall at 2:33 PM on February 8, 2001


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