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The "Vision" Thang, and Tales out of School...

At 11:21 pm -0400 on 9/9/97, Sean Roach wrote:

> Gates?  The closest he had to a grand vision is being able to predict the
> financial gain behind programming computers.

Yes. And I'd call that a "grand vision", even in Tim's use of the phrase.
He understood that computer software, and not the computer, especially in a
world of microprocessors, was the most important part of the market. It
might even be safe to say that BillG is responsible for at least the last
10 years or so of Intel's existance...

If you "change with the times", but don't know where you're going, you'll
go nowhere at all. Knowing where you're going when you change, (and
actually being right :-)) is called "vision". For instance, Bill figured
out that he couldn't sell operating systems to people, he had to sell them
to computer manufacturers. That's what "vision" gets ya.

And I didn't say that technical "vision" was the only kind there is,
especially when it comes to making money. :-).

My understanding is that for all his apopletic "code reviews", Billzebub
couldn't code his way out of a paper bag.

His last effort was on the second version of Altair BASIC, and they had to
do a ground-up rewrite after he was through with it. After *his* version
shipped, of course. :-).

Nonetheless, people who didn't share his "vision", like IBM, and DEC, and
now Apple, and all the rest of his competition, got their clocks cleaned.

Ah, the wonders of pickleball, and dorm room poker, and a grandmother who
wouldn't let you have dessert unless you won the sack race.

If you can find it, go read "Hard Drive" (no, not *that* one..). An
unauthorized biography by a couple Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporters.
Written before, of course, Win 3.1 actually took over the world, otherwise
they would have been fired. :-). Heck, if they weren't then, they probably
are now, anyway.

Lot of dirty laundry there. Like the hint that Gates was actually thrown
out of Harvard (well, "asked to leave", anyway, and all is certainly
forgiven, now, after a $decamillion donation to the Harvard endowment...)
because he used their computer resources, including their Zylog(?) chip
emulator and PDP-11 BASIC source code to essentially port DEC BASIC to the
Altair for resale. (Now what was that, Bill, about people duping *your*
paper BASIC tape and *you* losing *your* "investment"?) And how his first
software "deal" was sneaking off with someone else's PDP-11(?) operating
system tapes and reselling them for a cool $10k at the tender age of 16.
Hmmm. Sounds familiar, yes, CPM/QDOS fans?

See, boys and girls? All it takes to be the supreme monopolist (okay, not
quite a monopolist, but close enough for government work) and the World's
Last Industrial Tycoon is a taste for larceny. Okay. And a 1600 SAT score...

But it's still very hard to see why they call it "intellectual" property.

We might as well legalize software "piracy" and be done with it. Recursive
auctions, anyone?

Bob Hettinga

"But, he didn't understand. The point was to *win*."
   -- Richard Nixon, on his first congressional opponent,
      who Nixon falsely accused of communism
      (well, he *was* a pinko, anyway...)

Robert Hettinga ([email protected]), Philodox
e$, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
The e$ Home Page: http://www.shipwright.com/