Burnishing Microsofts Image with Good Works

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-01-27 Print this article Print

5. He enlists the help of others

Bill Gates realizes that he's just one piece of a much larger puzzle. That's why he has spent so much time enlisting others to assist him in his efforts. In 2006, for example, Warren Buffett offered about $30 billion in Berkshire Hathaway shares to help the efforts of Gates' foundation. The funds donated so far by Berkshire Hathaway have been used to help people across the globe. Gates knows his place. He knows that he can't do it alone. And more and more, Microsoft is starting to learn that, as well.

6. The economy affects everyone

Bill Gates might be the world's richest man, but his latest discussions of how to fix the economy could have a profound impact on the world. As mentioned above, Gates knows business and understands how government plays a role in the success or failure of individuals and companies. By attempting to bridge that gap between the corporate world and politics, Gates has achieved two goals: He can share his expertise on and rationale about how to hasten the economy's recovery and, at the same time, protect Microsoft's interests. For some, that might be troublesome. But after further inspection, we might find that the sooner Microsoft awakes from its malaise, the sooner the tech industry will rebound.

7. He's trusted

Microsoft is lacking when it comes to the public's trust. Security has continued to be a thorn in its side. But Bill Gates has quickly become a trusted figure, both in philanthropic and business circles. His work has helped people. His ideas have given governments options that they might not have thought about. The more Gates uses that trust for good, the more people might trust Microsoft just a little more.

8. He uses his platform

Part of the reason why Bill Gates is so capable as a philanthropist is his notoriety. Through Microsoft and his stature as the world's richest person, Gates has built a name for himself that transcends the tech industry. That has played an important role in his efforts to change the world. Philanthropy is about knowledge. If people haven't heard of you, they won't likely give you the money you need. If they have, they just might. Gates is using that notoriety for good. It helps him raise money. It helps him attract corporate funding. And it helps Microsoft show a softer, nicer side.

9. Gates won't stop

When it comes to philanthropic efforts, having a goal is a must. Bill Gates' goals might be to help developing countries feed the hungry and improve health care, but those problems won't likely be solved any time soon. Gates' hopes are grand, but he's driven and he knows what he wants to achieve. Until he gets there, his efforts won't cease. And in the process, all those folks that he's helping will reap the benefits of those efforts.

10. Change is viral

When Bill Gates started his foundation with his wife, there was no way of knowing how influential it would be. Today, the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is helping children and adults all over the world. That success has snowballed in recent years. The foundation and Gates have found that the more good they've done, the more people it affects. More money is raised, more folks take notice and, most importantly, more people are helped.

All the while, Microsoft is benefiting too. A part of that change can be attributed to Bill Gates' efforts outside of Microsoft. Bill Gates is inextricably tied to Microsoft and Microsoft to Gates. The more good he does, the better Microsoft looks.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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