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Five Things Black Teches Have Learned From Bill Gates

Greetings Family,
(Contact Information At The Bottom Of The Page)

It's your friendly neighborhood "Digital Drummer"

They call me the Digital Drummer because I pass messages of interest and concern from one website to another like the drummers of old Africa. One such message I came across lately, was originally written by Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief of It was a good video Blog (see One that inspired me to put a little Afrocentric spin on it…

Whether or not you're a fan of Bill Gates, it's impossible to deny the role he has played in spreading computer technology across the planet during the past three decades. His retirement as a full-time Microsoft employee in June 2008 marked the end of an era -- and it's one worth looking back on….especially from a Black perspective.

So, with some creative license (and a few copyright violations) allow me to give you my version of the Five Things Black Teches Have Learned From Bill Gates

Remember, We Must Share The Knowledge (Network)... To Share The Dollars!!!

Peace and Gods Blessings,

Jim Neusom


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Number 5: Geeks Can Be Businessmen, Too

Before Bill Gates came along, the term Geek was a put down. Stereotyped as a young, never go anywhere, can’t dance, glasses wearing, punk, white boy! The last thing a smart young Black man wanted to be called was a Geek.

In the Black community, learning technology was looked at as a stepping stone to a 9 to 5 job. State and federally funded training centers started popping up in ghettos across this land. Many took advantage….few got jobs…but all were called Geeks

But then Gates became the most successful businessman on earth (if you judge business success by profits) Single-handedly transforming the term "Geek" from an insult to a badge of honor; from a job skill to entrepreneurial necessity; from the shunned to the wanted.

Black retail computer/technology stores started opening up in the ghetto. Every Black community had dozens of ma-pa computer stores, pager business, and now days, cellular accessories and ring tones (bootleg and legitimate) are sold on every other corner.

Number 4: You Don't Have To Be First To Win,

Gates and Microsoft rarely got to the party first with new technologies. Everybody knows the story behind the browser wars between Netscape and Internet Explorer; the marketing battles between Apple and Windows; the fight for prominence between WordPerfect and MS Word. Microsoft is simply better at bringing their product to the masses than anyone else in the industry.

In the Black community, you have Burger King across the street from McDonalds….on the Net you have BlackPlanet one click away from AOL’s Black Voices. Both are owned by white corporations that see the viability of the Black dollar, so don’t tell me there is no room in the marketplace for an or

If you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door….

Number 3: Computing Will Spread Everywhere

In the 1980s, when the computer was still mostly a novelty, Gates expressed his vision that there would one day be "a computer on every business desk and in every home." That vision has nearly come true in the United States, and it's likely to become a reality that will spread across the globe in the decades ahead.

The same vision applies to cellular/mobile technology today. If you want to reach Black youth… got to hit them on their hip! One out of every three people on this planet has access to the Net viva cell phones. The computing market is still young compared to telephone and television. When you consider new third world markets such as Africa and South America….the sky is the limit.

Number 2: Arrogance Breeds Failure

Bill Gates is credited with saying: “Success is a menace. It fools smart people into thinking that they can't lose." He was referring to IBM and the fact that it let Microsoft sneak in and steal its thunder in the launch of the PC. Ironically, a decade later, Microsoft's own success and arrogance led to its anti-trust defeat to the U.S. government.

Arrogance in the Black community is fueled by pessimism and doubt…. What the white man ain’t gon let you do; what you can’t do without money; you’re not smart enough! It can easily be said that mediocrity is also a menace. It fools smart people into thinking that they can’t win.

Number 1: Software Matters

When Microsoft first launched in the 1970s, the computer business was all about the hardware. It was Gates and his vision of what people could do with computers that moved software to the center of the computing experience.

The same is true today. As cell phones are becoming televisions, and televisions are becoming computers, technology has moved out of the business arena and billions of people are discovering how multimedia devices can change their day to day lives. It no longer matters how you get on the Information Superhighway….what matters is the software that allows you to do what you do.

Convenience, simplicity, and access were the key to Microsoft’s success and a lesson for all of us in the tech world to master.


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Jim Neusom (
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