One telephone conversation with Gates in 1993 sticks in Ellison’s
mind. “It was the most interesting conversation I’ve ever had with
Bill, and the most revealing. It was around eleven o’clock in the
morning, and we were on the phone discussing some technical issue,
I don’t remember what it was. Anyway, I didn’t agree with him on
some point, and I explained my reasoning. Bill says, ‘I’ll have to
think about that, I’ll call you back.’ Then I get this call at
four in the afternoon and it’s Bill continuing the conversation
with ‘Yeah, I think you’re right about that, but what about A and
B and C?’ I said, ‘Bill, have you been thinking about this for the
last five hours?’ He said, yes, he had, it was an important issue
and he wanted to get it right. Now Bill wanted to continue the
discussion and analyze the implications of it all. I was just
stunned. He had taken the time and effort to think it all through
and had decided I was right and he was wrong. Now, most people
hate to admit they’re wrong, but it didn’t bother Bill one bit.
All he cared about was what was right, not who was right.
That’s what makes Bill very, very dangerous.”
I miss Bill Gates at Microsoft.