Image via WikipediaSo Bill Gates is on my BlogRoll, (so is Amitabh Bachchan), one the richest dude on the planet, another a fairly rich dude, but the most recognized face on the planet. And I was just reading one of his blog posts for the first time. In it he talks of a Buffett son. "Contrary to what many people might assume, Peter won’t inherit great wealth from his father." Well, why thank you, Bill Gates!
Bill Gates: Life Is What You Make It
Contrary to what many people might assume, Peter won’t inherit great wealth from his father.Warren Buffett gave most of his money to the Gates Foundation, an entity I am a fan of. I never called myself a fan of Microsoft, although I have admired Gates' path in business greatly. I hope Buffett left at least one billion, or half a billion for his kids. Or I am going to think the guy is cheap, a rich cheap guy. Buffett's logic has been, "but I did not deliver my children myself either." As in, his children perhaps are not the best professionals to be doling out money. Let Bill G do it.
Sam Walton went the other way. Many people don't know this but Walton created more wealth than Gates: there is more money in people skills than in software, always will be. That Republican dude left everything to his children. I don't approve of that either. That is taking family values a little too far.
An honest rich guy is Larry Ellison. He was not born rich. He was born in "Chicago's Jewish ghetto" - his words - where you could hear "gunshots." He talks of having to eat "macaroni and cheese" late into his 20s. He claims his first wife left him because he "did not work hard enough." He went ahead and bought a boat, and that sent the wife into therapy. His second wife left him because he "worked too hard."
About money and children he said, "I am not going to pretend that my children are going to have to work for a living." That's my kind of a rich guy: brutally honest, interesting.
Although, did I say, I am a huge fan of the Gates Foundation? I am a Third World guy, after all. Bill Gates has challenged many racist viewpoints about the "bottom two billion," as he calls it. He is not talking about the first two billion he made, but the two billion poorest people.
Steven Spielberg once said about his huge wealth. "It's just numbers. Some accountant takes care of it." Bill Gates said only a few weeks back about being rich, after a few million, it does not really matter. Makes no material difference to your life. I buy into the Spielberg line. I have 47,000 followers on Twitter. I remember being very excited when I hit 2,000 followers. Me? What? Popular? At 47,000 it just feels like numbers.
Larry, again, has quite another attitude. "There is nothing that can be bought with money that I can not buy," he boasted to a biographer. Well, that car you see is going down Larry Ellison Boulevard.
There has got to be joy in actively giving. Dying and letting others figure it out can't be joyous. You are not even around. But I am not against financial freedom for one's children. They can still end up normal people doing good, productive work. I think.
There are only two income/wealth brackets that fascinate me: the dollar a day people, and the self-made billionaires. In between lies the gray zone.