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I don't go on Reddit too often, but I do find some of the "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) threads to be really interesting, especially when someone like Bill Gates is answering the questions.

Everyone's favorite billionaire answered Reddit's questions last Monday, and in true AMA fashion, came across as much more down to earth than we'd expect. Some of his answers are surprising, and being that he's not discussed often on WSO, I figured it'd be good to bring up some good points from someone who is extremely successful outside the world of finance.

Firstly, here's a link to the full AMA.

And now, let's get to some good questions and answers!

Q: Since becoming wealthy, what's the cheapest thing that gives you the most pleasure?
BG: Kids. Cheap cheeseburgers. Open Course Ware courses...

Not sure if Bill is getting his cheeseburgers at In-N-Out -- because if so, that's kinda cheating -- but I enjoyed this answer a lot. Interesting to see someone like Bill Gates, who is undoubtedly very smart and extremely accomplished, talk about OpenCourseWare being something that interests him so much. If I were sitting on $65bil, it's hard to see myself wanting to learn new things through college-level courses online...but to each his own!

Q: I'm not Bill Gates, but he has made a huge positive influence. Many wealthy people I know point to Bill Gates as their idol. Not for his Microsoft days, but for his philanthropy. He also simultaneously killed many of my friend's hundred million dollar trust funds after their parents discovered that Bill was only leaving $10 million for his children.
BG: I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favor to them. Warren
Buffett was part of an article in Fortune talking about this in 1986 before I met him and it made me think about it and decide he was right. Some people disagree with this but Melinda and I feel good about it.

First of all, whoever is asking this question (or, more accurately, simply making this statement...) is in a very strange situation, having "many" friends who had HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR trust funds...what? Do you have have many friends with trust funds that large? Anyway, interesting to see Bill make the argument that leaving kids with a lot of money is a detriment -- probably true, although I doubt he's leaving his kids completely poor either. Then again, I guess a million bucks ain't exactly what it used to be.

Q: What do you do for fun? I find it hard to fathom how someone like you can just disconnect. Disconnect from the emails, calls ,the media. All of it. What would be your definition of a chill and fun day?
BG: I love playing tennis. I am an avid bridge player (a card game if you have not heard of it - it was more popular in the past!). I like to tour interesting things with my kids like power plants, garbage dumps, the Large Hadron Collider, Antarctica, missile Silos (Arizona),... I read a lot and watch courses (online or the Learning Company)..

I'm a bridge player myself, and find it hard to believe that Bill had to explain that it was a card game in his answer (really, no one plays bridge anymore!?). Must be nice to just be able to visit the Large Hadron Collider like it's no big deal, though.

Q: How was your relationship with Steve jobs? I always hoped that y'all were really good friends and competitors.
BG: He and I respected each other. Our biggest joint project was the Mac where Microsoft had more people on the project than Apple did as we wrote a lot of applications. I saw Steve regularly over the years including spending an afternoon with him a few months before he tragically passed away...

I always imagined Bill and Steve getting into fist-fights. It'd be tough to use a Windows Phone and not get into a fight with an Apple supporter.

What do you guys think of Bill Gates? Did anyone read this AMA last week? Are you guys still waiting for a Lloyd Blankfein AMA?

Comments (17)

  • Cheespuffs's picture

    Best part:
    Q: What's your worst fear for the future of the world?
    A: Hopefully we won't have terrorists using nuclear weapons or biological weapons. We should make sure that stays hard.
    I am disappointed more isn't being done to reduce carbon emissions. Governments need to spend more on basic energy R&D to make sure we get cheap non-CO2 emitting sources as soon as possible.
    Overall I am pretty optimistic. Things are a lot better than they were 200 years ago..

    Some random comment: I'll only get one chance in my life to say this to Bill Gates, here we go.
    "We should make sure that stays hard."
    That's what she said.

  • In reply to BTbanker
    MFFL's picture

    BTbanker wrote:
    One day I'll be rich enough to afford to be a Democrat... One day.

    Pretty sure this is a line from a Boston Legal episode, albeit a great line

    "Well that's even more than less than unhelpful." - Jack Sparrow

  • oowij's picture

    I think one of the best one's was:
    Q: Do you guys really use Bing? I mean seriously...
    BG: Seriously Bing is the better product at this point. Try the challenge. I am biased but the work to make Bing better has been amazing.

    So humble and it really shows that he believes in Bing.

    This AMA was one of the best ones since the Snoop Dogg AMA

  • In reply to Zargo
    DonVon's picture

    Zargo wrote:
    He said he will leave his kids $10 mil each. Certainly not chump change, but pretty underwhelming compared to his $65 bil. Enough to live modestly the rest of your life or maybe get a start up going.

    Define "live modestly"...living off $10mil sounds like a walk in the park, but then again my needs are slightly above that of IP.

    "An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
    - Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Check out my blog!

  • Unforseen's picture

    IAMAs are awesome. Pretty much the only thing I read on Reddit. We should as a forum collectively try to get hedge fund managers to do them. (aka, I request Bill Ackman and you all vote my request up until Bill's PR person sees it and he does it) Then we can all make fun if Icahn together.

    By the way the best IAMAs I've read are Neill DeGrasse Tyson's ones (He has 3)

  • In reply to DonVon
    lm-1993's picture

    DonVon wrote:
    Zargo wrote:
    He said he will leave his kids $10 mil each. Certainly not chump change, but pretty underwhelming compared to his $65 bil. Enough to live modestly the rest of your life or maybe get a start up going.

    Define "live modestly"...living off $10mil sounds like a walk in the park, but then again my needs are slightly above that of IP.

    If you can make 1% interest off that $10mil then you've got $100,000; assuming these kids are relatively intelligent and hardworking they can put in a 9-5 somewhere and come out with another $100,000. That's more than enough to live more than modestly in most places.

    Plus one of the kids is going to get the house.