Steve Gillmor says that if we wanted a really interesting conversation that he should have been at the Bill Gates lunch. Hey, that’s really selling the skills of Albert Lai, Mike Arrington, and Lynda Weinman short. If Bill Gates was so bored by the conversation, why did he not eat his lunch? Seriously. He was so engaged with the conversation that he couldn’t even get started on the steak that was put in front of him.
But, I’m not gonna get into a fight with Steve or any of my friends. There will be more of these events, though, so don’t be suprised if Steve gets invited to something.
One thing: I gave free tickets to any Mashup Camp attendee. In fact, Steve, if you had asked for a ticket I would have gotten you in. We did NOT pay for travel and food and entertainment, though (one of the news reports said that, which I thought was funny, if I had a budget like what most people think I do I could really have a killer event).
Another thing: the BillG lunch thing was planned just a few days earlier. In fact Albert was invited the day before and I had to choose from attendees of the conference (since Steve wasn’t an attendee, I couldn’t get him in — not to mention that I had to pass up everyone else too, when you are only given a few spots you have to make some tough choices and deal with those). And, yes, I do need to talk other people into approving these choices. Mr. Safe is definitely in control, but then there are lots of factors that go into these kinds of choices.
“When Mike reports Bill was bored, or that Bill doesn’t get the preoccupation with thin Office plays like Gmail, it’s not me who loses the opportunity to resonate with the audience, it’s Bill. The users are in charge, not Microsoft.”
Steve, I get this. But by saying it the way you did you denigrated the guy who is on your own show. Why did you pick Mike to be on your own show? I figured he’d be a great one to bring your message to Bill and he was.
But, I get the reality check. Is it just me or does that mean I have to pick up the check for the next dinner? 😉
Update: oh, and if you think this lunch was payback for “falling in line” consider that Mike Arrington was a lawyer on the Netscape account at Wilson Sonsini (famous law firm in Silicon Valley famous for kicking off the anti-trust action against Microsoft). Bill and Mike shared a laugh about that. Oh, and Lynda is the founder of the Flash Forward conferences (and an even bigger training company that mostly trains people on non-Microsoft technologies).
Update 2: Google’s Gmail never came up during the conversation that I remembered, but Hotmail did. Gates said it was one of his favorite acquisitions from the 1990s. The discussion was centered around all the hype that Writely was gonna make Microsoft Word obsolete. That’s ridiculous on the face of it (Writely doesn’t have close to as many features — making such a claim would be like saying Microsoft Notepad was going to make Word obsolete). But, either way, Gates’ love of Hotmail (which has 200 million unique users in the past 30 days) demonstrates that he understands thin clients very well and sure isn’t bored by them.