Zuckerberg: Bill Gates Was My Hero

During AOL's TechCrunch Disrupt conference on Wednesday, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during an interview that Bill Gates was his hero when growing up. The news shouldn't be surprising given Zuckerberg's similar drive in building a mission-propelled company. Both set out to create user-friendly software for every desktop and device that is now used globally by millions.

After hearing the comment, Michael Arrington, who was on stage interviewing Zuckerberg, said that Gates is more like Darth Vader, not Luke Skywalker. "He's the bad guy," Arrington said.

Zuckerberg disagreed. "No, he is not," he said. "Bill Gates ran one of the most mission-driven companies I can think of. Microsoft had a great mission. To put a computer on every desktop and in every home. There are companies that define themselves by their way of doing things, like the HP Way, and there are companies that define themselves by making a concrete change in the world. Microsoft did that. It was an incredibly inspiring company."

"[Bill Gates] is one of the greatest visionaries that our industry has ever had," Zuckerberg added.

Although Gates was no longer running the company at the time, Facebook sold a 1.6 percent stake to Microsoft in 2007. Zuckerberg was also reportedly one of the first 17 billionaires to participate in Bill Gates' Giving Pledge, a campaign that encourages the wealthiest people in the world to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. Carl Icahn, George Lucas, Michael Bloomberg and Larry Ellison are just a few among a huge number committed to the cause.

Zuckerberg also said during the interview that Facebook's IPO made the company stronger even though the offering had a rough start. "I'm the person you'd want to ask last how to make a smooth IPO," he mused. "I don't think it's that bad. I actually think it's made our company a lot stronger. In retrospect I was too afraid of going public."

He also said that the government "blew it" in regards to privacy and the whole NSA drama. "The morning after this started breaking, a bunch of people were asking them what they thought," Zuckerberg said. "[They said] don't worry, we're not spying on any Americans. Wonderful, that's really helpful for companies trying to work with people around the world. Thanks for going out there and being clear. I think that was really bad."

Facebook released its first global governments request report in August, revealing that government agents in 74 countries demanded information on around 38,000 users in the first six months of 2013. Nearly half of the demands originated from the U.S. government, which made between 11,000 to 12,000 requests on between 20,000 to 21,000 individuals. Approximately 79 percent of those requests produced some user data.

  • Niva
    Those last couple of paragraphs are the real news in this article... careful what you post online!
  • hakesterman
    Mr. Zuckerberg, Bill Gates might as well still be your Hero because the path he took to became a millionaire was a lot tougher and more work than what you did. And Bill has never hidden his money to avoid taxes like you have either.
  • coupe
    Zuckerberg's real hero was Brutus
  • MfastPrincess
    Why is there so much spam in the news threads x.x ~ Bill Gates will forever have a place in history for sure.
  • irish_adam
    Except that at least Bill gates bought QDOS before making millions off of it rather than just stealing it off his college mates
  • stevejnb
    11532164 said:
    Mr. Zuckerberg, Bill Gates might as well still be your Hero because the path he took to became a millionaire was a lot tougher and more work than what you did. And Bill has never hidden his money to avoid taxes like you have either.

    Concerning the last part of your post... You sure about that? You can say a lot of things about Microsoft under Bill Gates' leadership, but "there were no shady business practices engaged in" is not one of them. I love the guy for the charity he does but, I refuse to believe that Bill Gates was above doing some black magic with his taxes.

    Also, I really have neither like/use facebook nor do I have any idea how much work Zuckerberg actually put into making it, but... One could well argue that Microsoft was as much a case of "a good idea at the right time with the right partner" rather than "incredibly hard work and genius together" or some such. They were hardly the only company working on GUI operating systems at the time and some who weren't were on the verge of doing so, so it wasn't some stroke of novel genius that MS brought to the world. A GUI OS would have been around not long after Windows if Windows hadn't become the big fish in the sea. More likely, they were one in a pack that rocketed ahead because of their alliance with Intel and that allowed them to leverage that dominance in a fledgling market that benefitted from a unified OS and establish a monopoly.

    Simply put, I *love* some of MS's recent products and their mobile philosophy, but I find trying to paint them - or Bill Gates - as saints or geniuses as stupid as trying to paint them as the nincompoops that many do these days.
  • IndignantSkeptic
    Microsoft was a success because their business model caused vendor lock-in and the legal system didn't understand that sufficiently to prevent it.
  • shompa
    Of course Bill is Zuckerberg's hero. Bill = richest man on earth. Zuckerberg belongs to a people who loves money over anything else. In their values success is only measured in money.

    History have proven that Bill/MSFT have never invented anything. They have never managed to compete on any market with competition. The only thing MSFT have been capable of is fleecing money of customers with crappy products like Windows and Office where they have a monopoly.

    MSFT business model is to make crappy products so people have to upgrade.

    BTW: "open" Microsoft never follows industry standards to lock in their customers. Just look at DirectX and how gamers are FORCED to use Windows. MSFT even tried to do the same with the Web and Internet Explorer that did not follow HTML standards. Even today there are tons of websites that don't work without people using Windows + IE.

    This is your "open" hero.

    The evil "closed" Apple always follows standards. Anyone can do any program they want to their "closed" iphone using HTML5.

    Just some proof of how many "IT experts" have no clue. The sad truth is that over 90% working in IT have no clue about it.
  • irish_adam
    O.o random repost just because i hit the back button on my browser
  • elevent
    Funny, Bill also stole someone else's idea.