Every genius has his quirks and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is no different. During an insightful interview with BBC’s Desert Island Discs broadcast, the billionaire admitted to memorising the licence plates of his employees so that he could keep tabs on them.
“I worked weekends, I didn’t really believe in vacations… I had to be a little careful not to try and apply my standards to how hard [others at the company] worked. I knew everybody’s licence plate so I could look out the parking lot and see, you know, when people come in,” said Gates in the interview. Thankfully, he later eased up, saying, “Eventually I had to loosen up as the company got to a reasonable size.”
Imagine Gates trying to remember the thousands of car plates parked at Redmond, Washington, now. Reacting to this bit of information — that has subsequently gone viral — Twitteratis didn’t quite approve the habit.
The millennial generation could never have worked for Bill Gates. (Gates memorized license plates to keep tabs…) https://t.co/0ZAvLPYbpl
— Peter Chee (@pchee) February 1, 2016
— Ashitha Nagesh (@ashnagesh) January 31, 2016
So @billgates memorized employees license plates? George Konstanza would have been SVP had he worked at Microsoft.
— Ben•jam•in Id•om (@isthisben) February 1, 2016
Wonder if this is why they use license plate readers on campus today… https://t.co/0AEkOXXY22
— infojunke (@infojunke) February 1, 2016
In the interview, Gates spoke at length about his relationship with Apple founder Steve Jobs as well, saying that there was a time when the two were allies. “Steve really is a singular person in the history of personal computing in terms of what he built at Apple. For some periods, we were completely allies working together – I wrote software for the original Apple II,” he says.