Tren Griffin+ Your Authors @trengriffin I work for Microsoft. Previously I was a partner at Eagle River, a private equity firm established by Craig McCaw. I am on the board of directors of Kymeta. Nov. 09, 2019 3 min read + Your Authors

1/ Bill Gates (1972):​ "Traf-O-Data created a machine with an 8008 microprocessor. The largest 8008 program ever written was the one I wrote to do the Traf-O-Data work. The early microprocessors are very, very limited. You couldn't do general software. You could do Traf-O-Data."

2/ "[When I was 17] we made, ~$10,000 – which at the time seemed like a lot – by processing these funny tapes through our little machine. [Then] Paul hands me the 8080 manual, and I look at him and I say, 'Hey, we can do anything you want with this. This is the revolution.'"

3/ "That's where Microsoft was started. When you do get there three months earlier the mythology is like 'Nobody ever thought of that. Nobody ever did anything like that.' Well, it's bullshit. Someone did it years before you did, but they just didn't get all these pieces right."

4/ Bill Gates on the core *strategy*: "Paul was totally critical to there being a Microsoft at all. Paul read about hardware. I didn't like hardware. He drew me into that. Paul wanted us to actually build a personal computer. I said, 'No, no. We're just going to do software.'”

5/ Bill Gates: “​We're going to do platforms – a computer on every desk.... We saw the importance of software when coupled with the miracle of the microprocessor and that there would be platforms initially – although it seems quite limited in today’s view."

6/ Gates: "If our BASIC was on every machine – a library of BASIC programs – various applications, games to business applications, would be written in our BASIC, which had unique and proprietary aspects to it. Then anybody doing a new computer would want Microsoft BASIC."

7/ Bill Gates: "Then it became DOS, then it became Windows – but the economic model was the same [as BASIC]."

Michael Porter: “Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different…. “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

8/ GATES:​ "When IBM first visited us [summer 1980] it was actually a small group from IBM's Boca Raton laboratory. They had spare capacity and the Board had asked them to do something sort of quickly, in a lean sort of way. And it was just kind of viewed as this experiment."

9/ Gates: "​As we're doing our quarterly retreats, which were always over weekends, “What do we do when IBM divorces us?” was always a topic that people had to present on. So when it finally came, we had, by then, about six years of really good preparation." Part of strategy.

10/ Gates: ​"We kept Windows alive [even though] internally I was under a lot of pressure about “Why do you have good people working on OS/2 instead of Windows?” OS/2 people, “Why do you have people working on that Windows thing?” But it was a necessarily *strategy*." BATNA!

11/ A few people were lucky enough to have watched the Microsoft strategy evolve from an early start. It was a master class that started for me in 1980 when Bill's father said to me: "Some people think Trey's business will be really big someday. IBM is visiting Microsoft now. "

12/ My tweetstorm about the IBM/MSFT relationship is at:  Oh, there are new Bill Gates quotes in this tweetstorm today you say? Not linked to in the previous tweetstorm? Don't tell anyone, but this interview with Bill is brand new: 

You can follow @trengriffin.


Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Since you’re here...

... we’re asking visitors like you to make a contribution to support this independent project. In these uncertain times, access to information is vital. Threader gets 1,000,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Your financial support will help two developers to keep working on this app. Everyone’s contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support Threader by becoming premium or by donating on PayPal. Thank you.

Follow Threader