Magazine article Management Today

Ask Bill Gates

Magazine article Management Today

Ask Bill Gates

Article excerpt

Q. Are you, or have you ever been worried about failure?

A. Worrying about competitive threats is an important part of my job. I concentrate on them and make sure my organisation is aware of them. It's part of our corporate culture to articulate the threats that face us. If a company is in a competitive industry and forgets that it is, it's gone. The speed with which customer expectations change is faster in software than in any industry I know of. Any software company, including mine, must worry about its ability to stay ahead of the market. There's no place for complacency. Also, Microsoft stock has been a good investment, but I worry about unrealistic expectations by shareholders. So I worry a lot. That's what I'm paid to do.

Q. What do you think about creativity? Do you consider yourself a creative person?

A. Finding solutions to problems is a creative activity. Part of the fun of my job is working with the other creative people to come up with new ways to design software. We bring together new elements and find ways to take advantage of the rapidly growing power of computer hardware and the communications infrastructure. There's always fresh territory to explore. Organising employees to work together, and finding ways to foster great partnerships with other companies, demands creativity too. If you don't have a creative attitude, a job like mine becomes pretty stale. It is doubly important that I be creative - if I don't set a positive example, then the people who work for me won't be creative either. …

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