Bill Gates was the subject of a big 60 Minutes profile last night. It was pretty fascinating. Everyone knows that Gates has reinvented himself over the last five years from Microsoft CEO to this current, disease-eradicating superhero, but the extent of his involvement—both financially and through sheer man hours—should make the guy eligible for a Nobel Prize or something. (I mean, if Obama can win in 2009...)
The way the interview starts is an indicator:
Charlie Rose: You're going to spend the next 20 years of your life trying to eradicate disease, yes?
Bill Gates: Yep.
Charlie Rose: That's your mission?
Bill Gates: That'll be the majority of my time.
Charlie Rose: Starting with polio?
Bill Gates: Get it done by 2018.
Charlie Rose: Tuberculosis?
Bill Gates: Take probably six or seven years.
Charlie Rose: Malaria?
Bill Gates: Malaria's the one that the tools are being invented now. Fifteen and perhaps even 20 years. But start to really shrink that map.
Rose later makes the case that Gates will probably be remembered more by history for his philanthropy than helping spearhead the personal computer revolution, which is mind-boggling but probably true.
Of course, there was another interesting component to the interview: Gates opened up on his rivalry and later friendship with Steve Jobs, who, he said, "practically grew up" with him. If you've read Walter Isaacson's Jobs bio, you'll know that the two really hated each other during the '80s. But the feelings later softened, and Gates spent some time at Jobs' house for one final conversation in 2011.
The talk ignored Jobs' impending mortality. Instead, they mapped out how technology could one day improve education, and Jobs detailed plans for his 260-foot yacht Venus. (Which he'd never get to see.)
Gates does share one classic Asshole Jobs story: He once abruptly canceled dinner plans and told his secretary, "If he wants to know why, just tell him I'm an asshole."
[H/T: The Verge]