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Is Bill Gates Good at Power Dynamics? An Analysis

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Some people say Bill Gates reads 50 books a year.
Well, Bill Gates is not a CEO and I don't think he was reading 50 books a year while he was building his digital empire. Plus, Bill is quite bad with people.

Is Bill Gates not a CEO in the sense that he started his own company to be a CEO rather than climbing the corporate ladder?

There are examples of Bill Gates where he could have been a better manager in his early days.
People cite that he had a temper and was a difficult boss.
Sounds like too much criticism and too few compliments which is generally bad for motivating people.
Getting involved with Jeffrey Epstein was certainly a bad choice of who to let into his circle.

At the same time, he managed to sell some of his early products in his early days despite being very young.
He also convinced his friends to help him out in his business.
There are anecdotes that Bill Gates knew how to appeal to a higher vision, shared goal and give leeway for developing creativity.
Some people say his tough love was necessary to build Microsoft.

I'm thinking that Bill Gates should be intelligent enough to learn about power dynamics if he knows how to build a billion-dollar company.
On the other side of the coin, I'm considering the reasons why would he not spend some time honing his skills in this area.
Probably because he is a billionaire and has so much power to move things along despite being not that good with people.

I have not done enough research on Bill Gates to make a judgement on his personality or power dynamics skills.

It is an interesting topic on how people can achieve exceptional success despite not having the best people skills.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Bill Gates is good, in my opinion.

He has a drive to power and dominance, which is common when you reach the multi-billion dollar level without selling or cashing out.

The digital revolution created conditions under which people have higher chances of achieving great success as founders, without having good people skills and a good understanding of power dynamics.
But it's still an exception in my opinion, and not the norm (Elon Musk is also somewhat misleading as the tip of the iceberg, plus he's probably good at inspiring and motivating with his huge goals).

And Bill Gates is not one of those exceptions. In my opinion, he's not poor with power dynamics.
See in this interview, his strong frame control:

Switching from philosopher's frame, to frame dominance ("no, your numbers are just completely wrong").

Overall, very assertive and high power.

Some things he could have done better, including some basics (posture, voice, collaborative frames to make him more likable), but that's definitely not a guy who's clueless of power dynamics.
When he does not reply to the interviewer thanking him, to me that felt like manipulative editing from the news organization, because otherwise, he kept his cool quite well.

He fell into a trap the last years of being framed as "the grinch" and bad guy, and that's probably something he could have focused on: fewer battles at a 1:1 level, more focus on the war about his general reputation.

I'm personally biased as I love what Gates has done for the world. I see Bill Gates as one of the main figures who allowed people like me to do their own thing with his "one PC on every desk" policy.

Matthew Whitewood and Stef have reacted to this post.
Matthew WhitewoodStef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Lucio: I'm personally biased as I love what Gates has done for the world. I see Bill Gates as one of the main figures who allowed people like me to do their own thing with his "one PC on every desk" policy.

I have always remembered that his vision of Bill Gates as well.
Such an empowering vision.
There is no better feeling of running your business from a laptop around the world.

Lucio: He has a drive to power and dominance, which is common when you reach the multi-billion dollar level without selling or cashing out.

I guess we can't put the founder of WeWork on the same level as Bill Gates.
Though I must say I have enjoyed WeWork's coworking spaces.
The issue was with the business model and operations.

Lucio: Switching from philosopher's frame, to frame dominance ("no, your numbers are just completely wrong").

Overall, very assertive and high power.

He did come across as an experienced hand at interviews.
Sounded very assertive and high power indeed.
He is very good with the philosopher's frame.

The interview was not easy actually.
The interviewer asked a lot of grilling and challenging questions.
Bill Gates knew how to maneuver around them well.

Interviewer: You could completely alter the picture of the world if you went for a genuine redistributive mechanism in taxation.

Bill Gates: You mean like North Korea?

That was hilarious. Frame shocking LOL.

Interviewer: And when you saw the results of the Senate's investigation into Microsoft's tax affairs and the allegation that about a 4 million dollars worth of taxes a day wasn't paid because of the way that Microsoft manage their affairs. What did you think?

Bill Gates: That's about as incorrect a characterization of anything I've ever heard

Interviewer: It was the allegation that was made.

Bill Gates: No no, it's just simply hogwash.

Interviewer: Which aspect is hogwash?

Bill Gates: The idea that Microsoft didn't pay its taxes.

Interviewer: It's not that Microsoft didn't pay taxes (backtracks). It's that Microsoft could have paid more taxes.

Unlike Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates knew when he had to give a firm no on certain allegations.
He totally dominated the frame in the end.

Bill Gates: I've paid more taxes than any individual ever. And gladly so I should pay more. But I paid over 6 billion in taxes.

LOL what a power move that he slid in when being questioned by the interviewer about Microsoft not paying enough taxes.
Rebuts his frame and owns him.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Public relations on a wider scale is interesting.
Maybe I will look more into some interesting examples.
Nowadays, it seems like winning the social media war on any conspiracy or allegation can be very important for protecting your own image.

Quite unfortunate that Bill Gates has not overcome these attacks on his image.
It's true that, as you gain more power, you must get increasingly savvier to prevent people from taking advantage of you or trying to bring you down.

Lucio Buffalmano and Stef have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoStef

Yeah, you picked some great examples.

Considering the interview was probably even cut to make him look bad, he did an awesome job.

Interviewer: You could completely alter the picture of the world if you went for a genuine redistributive mechanism in taxation.
Bill Gates: You mean like North Korea?

LOL, yes, great one.

Sometimes it's good to put some frame shocking here and there, if you overdo the philosopher, people might think you're trying too hard to avoid taking stronger stances.

After a mild shock, then you can get back to larger-picture frame controls.

Interviewer: And when you saw the results of the Senate's investigation into Microsoft's tax affairs and the allegation that about a 4 million dollars worth of taxes a day wasn't paid because of the way that Microsoft manage their affairs. What did you think?
Bill Gates: That's about as incorrect a characterization of anything I've ever heard
Interviewer: It was the allegation that was made.

If he wanted to use frame-mirroring / shocking here:

Bill Gates: One could make an allegation now that you're a serial rapist, would allegation say anything about who you truly are and what you truly do for this world?

That would help me to go from always and only defending and answering, to go on the attack, which could soften the interviewer's stance, or break his barrage.

Bill Gates: I've paid more taxes than any individual ever. And gladly so I should pay more. But I paid over 6 billion in taxes.

Great indeed.

The only thing here is that it sounds a bit like justifying and crumbling under pressure. Especially that "but".

Just by inverting the propositions, it would have sounded much better:

Bill Gates: I've paid more taxes than any individual ever. More than 6 billion. 6 billion, does that sound like little money to you? And I've gladly done so, as I matter of fact, we seeo to develop better and better products so we can pay even more taxes.

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Matthew WhitewoodStef
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Bill Gates: I've paid more taxes than any individual ever. And gladly so I should pay more. But I paid over 6 billion in taxes.

The only thing here is that it sounds a bit like justifying and crumbling under pressure. Especially that "but".

Ahh yes, I didn't spot this.
Now that you raise it, it does sound a bit like justifying.

Compared to your proposed statement:

Bill Gates: I've paid more taxes than any individual ever. More than 6 billion. 6 billion, does that sound like little money to you? And I've gladly done so, as I matter of fact, we see to develop better and better products so we can pay even more taxes.

This puts pressure on the interviewer with the question.
And it totally owns his desire to build Microsoft larger & larger while highlighting the benefits he brings to society via his products.

I was curious about Bill Gate's public relations and stumbled upon his Ted speech on a future deadly pandemic in 2015.

It's very solid overall.
But I do notice the points where you say he could potentially improve upon.

Posture and clothing fit were probably the 2 most obvious points.
Eye contact felt a bit awkward, but it could be due to the camera angle.
He could have paced the stage at different points in his speech.

Voice is much better.
Greater diaphragmatic control and volume.
Innotation, inflection, pacing and emphasis are better overall.
But we are comparing a rehearsed speech to an interview.
The end of his statements could be stronger with more download inflection and more certainty.

I may do a more detailed review of this when I get the time.
Quite an interesting speech.

I need to work more on my voice and posture as well.
The Roger Love voice course and your posture videos are in line.

Lucio Buffalmano and Stef have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoStef

What do you think about his recent divorce with Melinda? Was he in control of the relationship as a leader?

No idea about his divorce.

From the little I've read about his initial dating, he picked a girl he liked in Microsoft, she initially wasn't particularly into him, but he insisted.

It sounded like a very dominant approach, within a more traditional/provider frame, such as: hard-charging courtship, I'll provide for you, keep pursuing, until she relents (because why not, he's high power after all and there is plenty in it for her).

But even that, it's the idea I've grown from a few stories I've heard or read here and there, I'm not an expert on the subject.

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Alex
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