Bill Gates memorized employees’ license plate numbers to monitor their work hours

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Billionaire business owner Bill Gates recently told BBC radio program ‘Desert Island Discs’ that he had an interesting way of tracking his employees’ hours: he used to memorize their license plates to monitor their comings and goings.

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Gates says he was ‘a little more intense’ than most people

‘I had to be a little careful not to try and apply my standards to how hard they worked,’ he said. ‘I knew everyone’s license plates so I could look out in the parking lot and see when did people come in, when were they leaving. Eventually I had to loosen up as the company got to a reasonable size.’

Gates said he was ‘a little more intense than most people’ in the way that he ran Microsoft but ‘no more intense’ than Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. 

Gates, who dropped out of Harvard University at 19 to start Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975, stepped down as the CEO of the software company in 2000 and stepped down as the company’s chairman in 2014. He is now co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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During the interview, the 60-year-old described the relationship he had with Jobs as a close one. 

‘For some periods, we were completely allies working together; I wrote software for the original Apple II,’ he said. ‘Sometimes he would be very tough on you, (and) sometimes he’d be very encouraging. He got really great work out of people.’ 

He continued: ‘In the early years, the intensity had always been about the project, and so then (when) Steve got sick, it was far more mellow in terms of talking about our lives and our kids. Steve was an incredible genius, and I was more of an engineer than he was. It was fun. It was more of a friendship that was reflective.’



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