Notes On Gates Foundation

The idea for Gates Foundation first came while Bill Gates was visiting South Africa and he found out that there wasn’t adequate “electricity” supply in South Africa to run the Windows programs that Microsoft built.
So the Information Technology innovations that Microsoft developed couldn’t solve a lot of common problems that people face.
There had to be a way.
Thus came “Gates Foundation”.
As is consistent with Bill Gates’ background, when it got started – Gates Foundation was about finding Scientific / Technologicalsolutions to problems.
But Gates has always been fascinated about Economics. If I am not mistaken – at some point in his life Gates wished he could do research on Economics consecutively for 10 years.
[His other dreams included:
  • becoming a Chess GrandMaster;
  • doing research in BioChemistry – if Microsoft neverhappened (a huge fan of Richard Dawkins and his Selfish Genes! Maybe Gates wished he could find a few of the Selfless Genes he inherited in his DNA or in others’ DNA!);
  • make IBM and Microsoft work together]
Creative Capitalismborn out of that interest in Economics.
But Government (& Policy)and Social Change are new additions [1] [2] – or should I only mention Government.
Melinda Gates is more familiar with the concept of Social Changes.
As Melinda said in one of her interviews – Bill is more concerned with Technologyand Data (Bill is proud of the Graphs that depict the continuous decline in Diseases and rise in indexes that show people’s well being!)
while she is more into how to make people bring about changes in their lives, how to make people use the technologies 
with the ultimate goal of bringing about intended changes.
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You feel so relievedwhen you truly believe that life doesn’t end when you die – your consciousness lives on.
Read books / watch documentaries on “Near Death Experiences” (NDE),
books on “alternate states of consciousness” :
  • Lucid dreaming
  • Out of body experiences
  • Hallucinations – Steve Jobs had lots of those I guess!
  • Sleep is an alternate state of consciousness.
You’ll soon come to the conclusion that,
life after death (near death experiences) is just an “Alternate state of consciousness”– an extreme form of “alternate state of consciousness” – never the less.
I see “the spiritual” as an “extension of science”.
I have built “logical edifice” for the spiritual world – just as scientists have built the “logical edifice” of science.
How do you convince people to Philanthropy or doing things for other?
Ensure they try to “imagine” and “feel” the lives of people, the hardships they go through – for whom you want them to contribute.
When you just “read” – “100 people died of Ebola” – you do not feel anything– you don’t feel the urge to work for them.
But when you “read” the story of how a particular poor girldied of Ebola – how unfortunate she was – you feel it – you have “empathy” – you feel that you have to do something for those people.
When you “see”it for yourself – it works even better.
Everyone has “empathy” inside him / her.
A great novel or movie can make the toughest guy cry – It’s the “feeling” factorin action – the “empathy” – you just have to make sure – 
he is watching the movie with full attention, imagining himself as the Protagonist and “feeling” everything that is going on.
Now, if imaginary characters in a movie can make you cry, then a real story of a poor girl – well, needless to say.
This has another lesson for us.
When you look at people around you, usually you focus on the differences – differences in toughness, differences in opinions, differences in values, differences in what drives and motivates them. 
But inside, everyone is the samesame feelings, same emotions, same “governing rules” that shape their behavior and character (the subject matter of Psychology and Neuroscience). 
Most importantly, if you try – you can change any person – just reprogram his / her emotions and habits and change the perspective from which he / she views the world.
Next time you try to convince people to philanthropy – do not show “Data”, rather show pictures of how a particular person is suffering.
A scientist / Engineer like Bill Gates would always think how his work could have an impact – and to convince someone like him – Data and Technological possibilities would be more fruitful – but even the best Engineer would be motivated if he “feels” what his work means.
This is related to what I was thinking when I read about Larry Page a few days back.
It seems that Page’s working hour is full of scheduled meetings. 
He was used to working on intellectually challenging problems – and I am sure he loved it. 
Does he know how to find happiness in his current work? Or does it sometimes seem as stressful work?
I know this – because I know that most scientists do not know how to “enjoy” Management work. “Even stupid people can do this!” – they think. “There is nothing gratifying.”
So how does someone like Larry Page enjoy his role as a “Manager”?
It’s easy. 
Every now and then Page has to take some time off and “feel”the immense impact of his work – “feel”how his work – his “scheduled meetings” – is changing the lives of millions of people. And maybe he has to go back to his teen age days – his dreams at that time – and “feel” whether he has managed to surpass his dreams he had as a teen-ager and if that is the case “feel” really really happy!
And I am sure – Larry Page’s life would be different! 
Remember, you are in full control of your own happiness and satisfaction in life. 


“TEN years ago the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had identified 14 “grand challenges” in the field—from “preparing vaccines that do not require refrigeration” to “developing a genetic strategy to deplete or incapacitate a disease-transmitting insect population”—and had invited suggestions from the world’s scientists for specific projects of a sort that might not otherwise get funded, which might meet these goals.

Mr and Mrs Gates used this week’s meeting to announce a new set of challenges, this time spreading the net wider than the strictly science-based suggestions the programme has encouraged until now.”

“… this time the foundation is not going it alone. All sorts of partners, from America’s foreign-aid agency to the governments of Brazil, Canada, India and South Africa, are being recruited. …. public health depends on educating people and persuading them to change their behaviour, as well as on having the right medicines, as the example of HIV and AIDS eloquently shows. That sort of approach requires social change as well as appropriate technology.”

It’s great to see

  • Government & Policy and
  • Social Change

getting into the equation besides Scientific, Medical and Technological solutions and Economics.

    On Philanthropy 2.0


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