The toughest feedback to hear, is the feedback you need the most.
You get better by listening to your toughest critics. Your greatest source of growth can come from the people that will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. Bill says, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
I read a lot of biographies of great people trying to think what was it that gave them their special opportunities. Once you start reading a lot then you learn about inventors and scientists and leaders. So that’s what got me on the path of being a learner and loving science.
Take action. Execute. The problem isn’t a shortage of ideas, it’s execution. Lots of people have ideas. There is an overload of ideas. The real gap is bringing ideas to market in a way that matters. The secret sauce is ruthless prioritization of the ideas that make the most impact.
Don’t go it alone. You’re better when you’ve got the right people around you. Bill Gates built a culture of the best and brightest and was good at convincing his friends, such as Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer to join him on his adventures. By surrounding himself with smart people, Bill was able to scale. He also had a sounding board for ideas. More importantly, ideas could get better from the combined smarts and perspectives. Bill also knows how to complement his strengths by having the right people around that make up for his weaknesses.
One of the most pronounced qualities of Gates is his discerning passion for lifelong learning.
After landing billionaire lists several times, it would be easy for Gates to become prideful or think he knows it all. But he looks to improve on his communication and public speaking skills. Gates is also known for his wisdom in seeking counsel from others. He often speaks of how much he has learned from Warren Buffett. Gates once commented that Buffett has a “brilliant way of looking at the world” . Like a sponge, Gates tries to soak in lessons learned from his mentor in order to become a better leader.
Bill Gates believed that the personal computer was the future and that there should be one on every desktop and in the living room and it would change the way we work and how we live in unimaginable ways.
Leadership and innovation aren’t qualities that people are born with; they’re earned after a lifetime of hard work and diligence. In the face of overwhelming odds or critical failures, it’s easy to lose sight of your aspirations, but the charismatic leaders we admire throughout history don’t give in to that temptation. They work to overcome any challenge. Leaders will be those who empower others.
During the first five years of Microsoft, he was not only in charge of running the business, but he also oversaw product development, taking it upon himself to rewrite code if need be.
As a younger man, he also frequently pulled all-nighters. One time, an employee came into work and found a man sleeping on the desk. She was going to call the police, but then realized the man was Bill Gates.