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02.19.10

Book Excerpt from “Barbarians Led by Bill Gates”

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Memorable Microsoft incident, in their own words

Here is one page (among 245 pages) from the book “Barbarians Led by Bill Gates”, written by somewhat of a Microsoft insider.

Slightly disgusted that he had just joined a company [Microsoft] that was shipping defective software, Eller decided to take matters into his own hands. After researching graphics journals and spending nearly two weeks on this complicated problem, Eller finally hacked out a solution and wrote the new flood-fill algorithm. Though it was painfully slow and crawled across the screen, it did enable BASIC to correctly flood-fill.

Eller called his boss into his office once again. Whitten was less than thrilled. He had authorized the work, but Eller had spent two weeks on the flood-fill, ignoring the translator he was supposed to be writing. Undaunted, Eller set out to let others in on the flaw he had discovered and how he had fixed it. He pulled in any random developer he could find. He even pulled in Chairman Gates, whose office was just down the hall.

“Bill, check this out,” Eller said, pointing to his computer screen. “I mean . . . who was the jerk who wrote this brain-dead piece of shit?”

Gates stared at the screen.

“See, now that’s what I call a design flaw,” Eller said. “Now check out my new version. Pretty cool, eh?”

Gates nodded, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

“Does it work with really complicated things?” Gates asked.

“Sure,” Eller told him. He proceeded to draw a complicated object and flood-fill it.

“See? It works perfectly.”

“Can you prove that this works all the time?”

“Uhh, well umm, kind of,” Eller said. “I mean, I know it always works, but I’m a mathematician. The word ‘prove’ conjures up really ugly ideas.”

Gates told Eller his program was nice, then turned and walked back to his office.

After Gates left, Whitten walked into Eller’s office. He had heard the entire conversation.

“Do you know who wrote the original flood-fill algorithm?” he said, shaking his head.

“Ahhh, nope,” Eller replied. “I don’t believe I do.” Whitten paused, rubbed his finger on his left temple, and shook his head again.

“Bill wrote it,” he said. “Bill was the jerk who wrote this brain-dead piece of shit.”

Not so bright after all, eh?

“In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating systems.”

Bill Gates

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3 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    February 19, 2010 at 6:33 am

    Gravatar

    Bill behaved uncharacteristically well in that excerpt.

    Bill’s political coaches and handlers have kept him away from direct contact with the media from some time around 2004 or a bit before as part of the whitewashing of his public personality.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    He’s doing it all over again with the Gates “Foundation”.

    “In Hanson and Edstrom’s view of the world, Gates should be Microsoft’s spokesman. Microsoft’s cofounder, Paul Allen, had resigned in 1983 after battling Hodgkin’s disease, and Gates fit the consummate developer image. Hanson sent around a gag order—no talking to the media. This was, to say the least, not a popular decision with Microsoft’s developers.”

    Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
    by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

    “In the fall of 1982, Pam Edstrom, a diminutive woman with piercing blue eyes, was recruited by Microsoft. [...] In modern-day business, flacks were responsible not only for avoiding bad press, but for spinning the good. [...] Hanson and Edstrom would spin a whole new image for Gates himself. They would tap the best and worst of Chairman Bill, changing his clothes, his voice, and his allegiances, driving him to become not just the boss, but, essentially, the company mascot—a sort of high-technology Colonel Sanders.”

    Pam’s daughter

    “Well, it’s in the brand. The image you create around the brand. That’s why I need you in this company. Because nobody in this company, or in this industry, really understands that. And if we can have the perception, I can create the reality. With the combination of the reality and the perception, nobody will ever beat us.”

    Bill Gates

    “Here’s the type of guy I want, I don’t care if he knows anything about computers. I need a guy who really understands branding.”

    Bill Gates

  2. The Mad Hatter said,

    February 20, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Gravatar

    “Here’s the type of guy I want, I don’t care if he knows anything about computers. I need a guy who really understands branding.”

    They should have hired some guy off the Lazy K ranch then.

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