Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bullshit or Not: Bill Gates Edition

There's an old sketch film called Amazon Women on the Moon and one of the bits is a parody of the old Leonard Nimoy show, "In Search Of..." called, "Bullshit or Not?" with the tagline "Bullshit or not? You decide." It's a line I like so much that I've stolen it for an occasional series of posts.

Since today is Bill Gates' birthday, let's...hang on, let me reboot. %#$*&!#@ Vista...

O.k., sorry about that.

Since today is Bill Gates' birthday, let's play with a short quotation from him:

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.
It's very easy to say we learn from our mistakes, but doesn't Darwin argue the opposite, that it is the accumulation of successes that leads to fitness? Failures do not leave us back at square one, but in a hole, so that our new context doesn't resemble the last. Are lessons you take from a post-mortem ever really applicable? And after all, shouldn't the winners have a higher degree of confidence in their intuitions? There is no doubt that we do learn from small mistakes, but is it true of all errors, big and small alike?

As usual, feel free to leave anything from a single word to a dissertation. So, bullshit or not? You decide.