Me and Bill Gates: Talking 'Bout Porsches, Breakin the Law, and Small "Gadget" Jokes

We just had a sit down with Bill Gates. And when I say we, I mean myself, Brian from Kotaku, Robert Scoble, Ryan from Engadget, and Chris from Joystiq. All friendly rivals. So, the meeting was like elimidate, with the 5 of us vying for his attention. Ryan took the lead and asked great technical questions about the future of Microsoft.

We started whipping voice recorders, and Scoble whipped out this monster podcast recorder the size of a small lunchbox. Scobble rattled off some stats, and I added that it was probably good for giving other podcasters inferiority complexes. Bill cracked up, and it made my day. The guy is human. Quite human, as he'd later tell the story of how he got arrested in Albuquerque in 1978.

I'd asked him about the mug shot on Wikipedia, and at first he looked a bit apprehensive, but answered. Apparently, Bill loves fast cars. In 1978, he told us, he'd gotten 3 speeding tickets on his drive to move up to Seattle. Two from the same cop. It was a Porsche 911 from that era. By the end of the story, he seemed to pleasantly distracted. Maybe he was thinking about the sensation of the road tearing underneath him at +100MPH, in a fine German automobile, instead of Vista.

People think about Larry Ellison's fighter jets, and Steve Jobs' hipness. But why does no one talk about Bill Gates' speed freak tendencies? It's a story that isn't quite new, but it definitely isn't told often enough.

From a Time piece on Bill Gates:

When Microsoft was based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in its early years, he bought a Porsche 911 and used to race it in the desert; Paul Allen had to bail him out of jail after one midnight escapade.

Later, he ripped into Scoble for not quoting numbers when Scoble gently asked about whether or not MSFT was power-saving conscious. "Before you ask the question, do the math...Be Numeric!"

Pwned by Bill! He's actually a cool guy.