On Tuesday, Day 1 of TechEd, I was lucky enough to join a small group of people for lunch with Bill Gates. While spending an hour or two with Bill would be an honour at any time, to do so at his last Tech Ed was extra special. The invitees spanned a wide range of the developer spectrum, and what we had in common was our contributions to community. There were Regional Directors, MVPs, MCTs, INETA people, and so on. Bill arrived just in time for a group photo (I'll post it when I get it) and then sat down to answer questions for an hour or more. I was so impressed; more impressed than I planned to be. I found his answers really illuminating and inspiring. Our geeky minds and way of approaching problems can be turned to far more than just designing software. Why not, if you don't have to worry about covering your mortgage payment, try fixing the problems of disease, education, agriculture, and even the United Nations?
We were given an enormous (and heavy) memento:
It's going on the "bookshelf of showing off" for sure, but the inspiration and the practical information are more to me than the crystal .
Update: Fellow attendees Andrew Brust, Matthew Roche, Daniel Egan, Scott Golightly, Stephen Forte, and Neil Roodyn have blogged their impressions also. So has Soma, who graciously welcomed us all to the lunch and is well known as a friend of developer community people.