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Bill Gates on preparing for Christmas giving.

     
2:35 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Bill Gates:

"Each year, around this time, friends and business partners start sending presents to my office. The reception desk gets covered with tins of candy, boxes of cookies, sometimes a few bottles of wine. It’s all very nice. But what I’d really like is a flock of chicks or maybe some honeybees.

Let me explain what I mean. I’m touched that people think to send holiday treats. It’s a fun tradition. My team at the office always looks forward to the flavored popcorn that one of our partners sends every year. So I don’t want to sound ungrateful or deprive my colleagues of caramel corn.

But I can’t help thinking that the money spent on these gifts could go to people who need it more than I do."

[linkedin.com...]
Thoughts?
5:11 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Good idea, imho.

Few give as much as he has, so it's good he thinks of others first.
11:08 pm on Nov 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

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a flock of chicks or maybe some honeybees

Honeybees, maybe. But in general, live animals must be considered way, way down on the list of appropriate gift choices :(

Every spring, the local farm-and-feed store displays signs that say "Pick up chicks here". Har har, yuk yuk.
1:39 am on Nov 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Lucy, a number of charitable organizations provide animals to assist small farmers in developing countries, and you can sponsor one of those on someone's behalf as their "gift".

Our family has been doing that for several years now, giving fewer things to each other and more to others. In that context a live animal can be very appropriate.
2:00 am on Nov 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Small farmers, sure. But Bill Gates isn't a small farmer is he? The quotation makes it sound as if we're talking about the physical animal, there and then.

Admittedly the idea of a flock of bees in a gift box under your christmas tree makes for a very entertaining mental picture.
6:16 am on Nov 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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If you've ever met or seen the guy talking on his charitable work, you can't help thinking that both Bill and Melinda Gates deserved their wealth.

Folks like these are global icons in my view - as are many who do similar deeds that are not seen. Never cease to learn from his great mind sharing. If only all of Wall Street and the business world followed this ethos in fortune creation.
6:49 pm on Nov 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Admittedly the idea of a flock of bees in a gift box under your Christmas tree makes for a very entertaining mental picture.



People used to order bees from the Sears catalog. So bees under the Christmas tree probably did happen.
10:37 pm on Dec 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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People used to order bees from the Sears catalog. So bees under the Christmas tree probably did happen.


But the problem for me was do you just get a starter bee hive kit, a queen and male to mate with which takes longer to mature into a honey producing hive, or a whole starter hive complete with queen that's ready to produce honey.

Therefore my quandary was always the same:
Two bees, or not two bees, that is the question.
4:27 am on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Grrrrrrrroan.
2:32 am on Dec 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Signed, unsealed, and delivered by the hive.

Bees R Us
2:02 am on Jan 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Two bees, or not two bees, that is the question.

Methinks your bees wax poetic.

...and to put this thread back on topic, one thing that impressed me about Gates, when he did begin to engage in philanthropy, is that he took it on as a responsibility, he took it on full time, and that he approached it with the same sense of strategy that he had applied to his business. He sought out the most basic pressing human needs he could find where society might get the most bang for his philanthropic buck.

That said, the influence of power and money in shaping society is complex, and the issue of what people spend money on, or believe to be worthwhile, on a personal and a societal level, is also complex.

I don't think we're going to resolve here whether caramel popcorn is a thoughtless diversion of vital resources in a world of want, a thoughtful gift of comfort food appropriate to the celebration of a midwinter holiday, or dietary poison in a society awash with too much processed sugars.

For me, all these perspectives, along with many others, are worthy of some thought. I myself think that we live in a world of serious distortions, and while I don't always agree with Gates, I'm glad that he has contributed his money and his efforts to what we loosely call progress.
2:54 pm on Jan 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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...and to put this thread back on topic

"On topic" is such a relative term. I see my own posts are gone. I did directly answer the OP observation, in an elaborate manner. Small talk leaves me feeling empty. So I'm guessing it wasn't what I said but how I said it?! :)
6:48 pm on Jan 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

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An interesting read from Bill Gates's blog:

Good New You Might Have Missed in 2013

[thegatesnotes.com...]

We got smarter and faster at fighting polio. You may have heard about recent polio outbreaks in Syria, Kenya, and Somalia. What you may not know is just how rapid and effective the response has been. ...

There’s also great news from India. In early 2014, India will have gone three years without a single polio case (assuming no new ones are reported between now and then). That’s a testament to the fantastic job they’ve done immunizing every child, even in the most remote parts of the country. ...

Child mortality went down—again. One of the yearly reports I keep an eye out for is “Levels and Trends in Child Mortality.” The title doesn’t sound especially uplifting, but the 2013 report shows amazing progress—for example, half as many children died in 2012 as in 1990. That’s the biggest decline ever recorded. ...