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April 30, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:21am

13 Bill Gates quotes on business, success and amibition

The Microsoft founder and former world's richest man dispenses wisdom.

By Jimmy Nicholls

1. Of my mental cycles, I devote maybe ten percent to business thinking. Business isn’t that complicated. I wouldn’t want to put it on my business card. (Playboy, 1994)

2. Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. (The Road Ahead, 1995)

3. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. (Business @ The Speed of Thought 1999)

4. Industries are only valuable to the degree they meet human needs. There’s not some – at least in my psyche – this notion of, oh, we need new industries. We need children not to die, we need people to have an opportunity to get a good education. (Financial Times, 2013)

5. Fear should guide you, but it should be latent. I have some latent fear. I consider failure on a regular basis. (Playboy, 1994)

6. In this business, by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it’s too late to save yourself. Unless you’re running scared all the time, you’re gone. (Playboy, 1994)

7. If you show people the problems and you show people the solutions they will be moved to act. (Live8, 2005, as reported in BBC News)

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8. There are people who don’t like capitalism, and people who don’t like PCs. But there’s no-one who likes the PC who doesn’t like Microsoft (Free Market and the LA Times)

9. When you have a lot of money, it allows you to go down a lot of dead ends. We had that luxury at Microsoft in the Nineties. You can pursue things that are way out there. We did massive interactive TV stuff, we did digital-wallet stuff. A lot of it was ahead of its time, but we could afford it. (Rolling Stone Magazine, 2014)

10. If I think something’s a waste of time or inappropriate I don’t wait to point it out. I say it right away. It’s real time. So you might hear me say ‘That’s the dumbest idea I have ever heard’ many times during a meeting. (Playboy, 1994)

11. I was a kind of hyper-intense person in my twenties and very impatient. I don’t think I’ve given up either of [those] things entirely. Hopefully it’s more measured, in a way. (Financial Times, 2013)

12. At the end of the day you’ve got to have something that employers really believe in. And today what they believe in by and large are degrees. And if you have a great degree then you’re considered for jobs, and if you don’t have that degree there’s a lot of jobs you won’t get consideration for. (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2012)

13. Microsoft has had clear competitors in the past. It’s a good thing we have museums to document that. (InfoWorld Magazine Oct 2001)

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