Bill Gates, Buffett On What Industry(s) Will Produce The Next Bill Gates (CNBC, Keeping America Great Transcript)

These are quotes from the CNBC Town Hall event, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates: Keeping America Great, taped Thursday, November 12, 2009 at Columbia University in New York City. The full transcript is here. I found this question interesting:

Selected quotes from
"QUESTION: Hi. My name is Katrina Gankena, and I was born in Russia. And I'm a second-year student at Columbia Business School. My question is for Mr. Gates. What industry do you think is going to produce the next Bill Gates? Because that's the industry I want to get a job in. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE]

GATES: Industries do have different paces of innovation. So the IT industry, driven by the magic of software, the magic of the optic fiber, magic of the chip which doubles in power every couple of years, it's been the industry that has not only been the most exciting, it's also changed the rules for many other industries. The idea of information being available, what the online world is like, that's incredible. I'll tell you, there are a few other industries that will compete for being exciting in the decades ahead. The energy business, some approach will provide cheaper energy that's environmentally friendly. And there's a lot of science, a lot of business. That's a global thing. There will be some great careers there. Medicine, you know. We haven't solved Parkinson's or Alzheimer's or about 20 diseases of these poor countries, and yet we can be sure that we're on track to do that. And so those three industries I think you would do great in. There's many others, but those are the ones that have the strongest appeal to me.

BUFFETT: Find what turns you on. Find what you have a passion for. If somebody said to me when I was getting out of Columbia, you know, that Bill's business was going to be the one that would be exciting, you know, I don't think I'd have done so well. [LAUGHTER] But I knew what turned me on. I had a professor, Ben Graham, I offered to go to work for him for nothing. He said, "You're overpriced." Nonetheless, I went into the business. [APPLAUSE] I will guarantee, you will do well at whatever turns you on. There's no question about that. Don't let anybody else tell you what to do. You figure out what you are doing. [APPLAUSE]"


  1. A girl in highschool one told me she thought of me as the next Bill Gates, which I think was a nice way of hinting that she didn't want to have sex with me.

    If I was, I'd spend my philanthropy money on something a little more empowering than covertly sterilizing brown people, researching GMO-mosquitos that are like "flying vaccine syringes" and building a cryptically remote vault for heirloom seeds in conjunction with Monsanto.

  2. lol, then what should he do with the money?

  3. This is what I would do if I was designing strategy for a philanthropic fund:

    - sponsor women, so many women feel compelled by economic circumstances (a paper game) or force to sell their sexuality (something of real value). It should also be obvious that unleashing the decision making power of women is the best shot we have as a society.

    - sponsor homeless urban families to relocate to the country and learn how to farm sustainably

    - sponsor renewable energy installation in places that would otherwise suffer sanitation, security and producitivity deficits for lack of electricity

    Now, the model that I would use to achieve these goals would be to make a market in shares of renewable energy capacity which yields in real-time based on digitally metered output, and also in shares of harvest output for grass-based farming co-ops, which yield a deliverable basket of food products or a cashflow equivalent every quarter. With these systems in place the fund can actually grow or break even, any net profits going to the sponsored beneficiaries. I'm going to make a freeware game that involves the food shares model and allows you to set the % of gross profit paid back to the fund versus given to the people who produced the food.

    Since women are better at trading fixed-income securities than men, managing funds in these markets seems like a natural occupation for many of the sponsored young women, though I'm sort of being factitious at this point, there's obviously a lot of alternative occupations than trading and prostitution. Since I'm on the topic, the difference between trading and prostitution is in trading you might not have anything to show for it afterwards.

  4. Yeah and when food prices rise there will be extra profits for them to buy internet ready netbooks, so they can visit my blog and what not. In the end the beneficiaries will be educated, have $$ and be able to get a job at Goldman Sachs in no time. Win Win.

  5. You hit on an important theme with the reference to food prices. Lets say we have a deflationary 2.0 scenario but that still involves an epic bull market in commodities as the implosion of debt goes supernova. The math of the system is leading to deflation, but the physic and chemistry of the system will probably lead to resource scarcity, and god knows the food and energy we currently have in sufficient supply is not fit to eat or burn. If we are to be creators rather than destroyers in this business we must divest our winnings toward investment in alternative structures that can survive. This is why I don't think of philanthropy as a money give-away or the purchase of a conscience band-aid, I think of it as the end of the investment process.

    With Central Banks typing money into existence and swapping it onto the balance sheets of banks whose prop traders than margin the capital and gun the markets, you may think this is a recipe for disaster. However, we can diffuse the situation by taking advantage of the model-risk that these folks are perhaps unknowingly carrying, making money off the predictability of the cartel, and then taking those computer digits into the real world. That's the way the deleveraging process could work out peacefully.

  6. Who says bill gates is sterilising black people?
    You crazy, conspiracy nut you!

  7. I think conspiracy theory delivered with satirical wit is ok.


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