Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Money can't buy everything

We often have the misperception that the rich can buy anything they want, but that isn't always the case. Take one example - there is a very wealthy family with three children, ages 15, 12, and 9, and the parents are somewhat technically oriented. You'd think that these parents could spring for iWhatevers for the three kids. After all, the parents can afford them.

But what if the dad is the second richest person in the world? It turns out that this guy isn't going to buy iPads for his kids. This is what he said:

They have the Windows equivalent. They have a Zune music player, which is a great Windows portable player. They are not deprived children.

Yup, if you're Bill Gates' kid, don't count on Steve Jobs toys for Christmas.

Frankly, the exchange is a very small part of the complete Daily Mail article, which deals more with Gates' current career than his old one. (And no, he's not going to come back and replace Ballmer.) For example, he explained how the Foundation makes its donation choices:

Gates decided vaccinating the world’s disadvantaged is a cost-effective, simple way to help the very poor.

‘You get more bang for your buck.’

Why not be the guy who cures cancer instead?

‘The motto of the foundation is that every life has equal value. There are more people dying of malaria than any specific cancer. When you die of malaria aged three it’s different from being in your seventies, when you might die of a heart attack or you might die of cancer. And the world is putting massive amounts into cancer, so my wealth would have had a meaningless impact on that.’

So Gates, in the same way that he did in his previous job, is aiming for the largest possible market.
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