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The Handy Guide to the Gurus of Management
Charles Handy was, for many years, a professor at the London Business School. He is now an independent writer and broadcaster. He describes himself, these days, as a social philosopher.
Bill Gates
Episode 10: Bill Gates
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Bill Gates is an outstanding example of another sort of guru, the guru who preaches more by deeds than by words. He revels in change and draws inspiration from a crisis.

His first book, 'The Road Ahead', was published in 1995. Gates famously ignored the Internet at first. The Internet and its implications dominate his second book, 'Business @ the Speed of Thought'.

But we can learn as much from Bill Gates by looking at what he does, as a manager and a leader, than by reading his books:

1. Concentrate your effort on a market with large potential but relatively few competitors
2. Get in early and big
3. Establish a proprietary position
4. Protect that position in every way possible
5. Aim for high gross margin
6. Make the customers an offer they can't refuse

Gates, with no previous experience, no MBA, and no mentors, set about creating a new sort of organization, what he called a knowledge company. The knowledge company's raw material is brainpower.

Vital to a knowledge company is what Gates calls the DNS - the Digital Nervous System, the e-mails and computer systems that allow everyone to learn everything they need to know.

Microsoft also has some very clear people policies, which give the company its extraordinary vitality. Gates summarizes them as five 'E's:

Emphasis on Performance

The next guru on our list is Ricardo Semler from Brazil.

Read Bill Gates' biography

Some useful business words:

very good


revels in
gets pleasure from

proprietary position
a position where you own legal, eg. intellectual rights

gross margin
difference between the manufacturing cost and the selling price

persons who give advice to others over a long period of time


the belief that all people are equal and have equal rights

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