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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Session 1: Reboot. Bill Gates

Hey! He's a good public speaker. Who knew?

The market doesn't drive philanthropy. People who care do. "I am an optimist." Problems can be solved.

And he's speaking as a philanthropist now, and not just someone who gives, but someone who is a leader and a thinker- he wants to talk about the problems of how to do it and what are the challenges.

He seems to be talking about the inverse Mohr's law of human mortality. We get better all the time at preventing death by disease.

Specifically, malaria. There are tools we have now (ddt and quinine) and we've saved the white and wealthy now but it's still kicking humanity's ass in some places which effects their economies and their ability to grow into contributing societies.

Oh, and he brought a jar of mosquitoes on stage and opened it up. "Because not just the poor should be exposed."


"Don't worry those aren't infected."

Since malaria treatments grow, but mosquitoes evolve and develop resistance means we're punching back and forth in our progress.

I keep thinking about Dr. Larry Brilliant's campaign to stop small pox.

Ok back to BG part 2:

How do you make a teacher great? (Oh and reminder yeah BG is a college drop out :) It's important to BG to change the model of how we educate to do it better. He's upset about the hs drop out rate, especially the disparity between the wealthy and the poor in these stats. His foundation has been funding what it can to fix as much as possible, but it's patching the holes, not fixing the systems. THE BEST TEACHERS ARE THE SOLUTION. He believes that those teachers aren't being rewarded and their patterns aren't being spread. (Personally I believe good teachers should be revered and respected like oh, say, the Pope. A crown, a bow, a big ol' place to live and the intense listening of those who they speak to.)

BG is talking about how dynamic the teachers are the ones who succeed. It's almost frenetic the way that teachers are constantly interacting.

He speaks of how in some schools the teachers are only overseen by their principals once a year and with advanced notice. He sounds surprised. Apparently he never had a teacher coach his class on the questions, answers and behaviour they were to exhibit tomorrow, wink wink, so we can be left alone to waste or time or not as we please. YES I AM TALKING TO YOU MR JONES JUNIOR YEAR IN MY HIGH SCHOOL.

There are ways to watch yourselves and be watched as an educator so you can see your successes and mistakes.

BG recommends book: Work Hard Be Nice. So he's sending a copy to everyone here. (Palm Springs too I hope?)

He ends on talking AIDS and malaria and says again "I'm an optimist."

Suddenly I'm forgetting the Microsoft issues I had... when? What software and licensing problems? I like a person who cares about the problems of the world and sees ways to fix them. I like him a lot.

After the talk, Chris interview him briefly. "Are you going to have a monopoly on solutions now?"

"I do feel good that we've drawn other people into the solutions, but we DO need a diversity of thought."

Q"Saving lives contributes to overpopulation?"

A "We started out as a foundation focused on reproductive health but now we know that increased health doesn't create more people. Within a generation population growth goes down with health. you don't have to have 8 kids to ensure 2 live to adulthood. you can have 2. high reproduction

Q "How do we get those wacky teachers that are so effective without bludgeoning them into a rigid system?"

BG "The review system of their work should be based on results not a checklist like 'keeps classroom clean.'"
Q: "Words on your tombstone?"
BG: "Warren Buffett recommends "Check My Pulse".

**I confess I don't have the verbatim correct so we're gonna have to look it up but he hopes he lives long enough to not have his life be regarded as a thing that happened, but part of things that are happening still.**

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