Mark Reitman is the #9 Buyers’ Agent

Our Chicago-area agents had another great month in November!

Of the 4,400+ buyers’ agents who closed a deal, Redfin had two in the top 3%:

Rank Agent # of Deals Total Sales Customer Rating
(3-month average)
9 Mark Reitman 6 $2,266,000 4.6 stars
142 Greg Whelan 3 $1,046,000 4.7 stars
3,547 Patrick Lusk 1 $525,000 5.0 stars

When you work with Redfin, you get great customer service while working with some of the best agents in the region. Our agents know what’s going on in the market right now because they spend all of their time serving clients: touring homes, writing offers and closing deals.

We pulled these numbers from MRED, the database for real estate transactions and listings in Illinois and ranked agents who represented home-buyers of single-family homes and condominiums in Cook, Lake & DuPage Counties based first on number of deals, then by total dollar amount.

Our Clients Love Our Service

We survey every client and track every transaction in a central customer database. For the surveys we received in October from our clients in the Chicago area:

  • 22 clients responded to our customer-satisfaction survey and posted a review online, up from 15 in October.
  • All 22 of those clients, or 100%, would recommend Redfin to a friend, the same as in October.

We ask customers to rate the likelihood that they would recommend Redfin to a friend on a 0-to-10 scale. Customers who rated 6 or higher count as people who would recommend Redfin to a friend. To learn more about how we survey our clients and calculate the customer ratings, check out our FAQ on agent reviews.

  • Snake

    I agree. Everytime people hate on Gates they sound like jealous assholes. What has Jobs given to charity now that he sleeps on money? Not a damn thing. You’ve got the better iZune and MacTouch and whatever the hell but are you a good citizen? Damn ninja star wielding commie.

    I’ll take goofy boy scout kabillionaire Gates any day of the week over Jobbo. The dude gave all his money back.

    • Scrod

      >Damn ninja star wielding commie.

      Ninja star wielding *capitalist* is more like it.

    • MaverickScholar

      No. You all have it wrong. Bil didn’t get a perspective on wealth used to help the world (charity) until Warren Buffet convinced him to start dumping the wealth instead of accumulating more. Buffet likely made the appeal to Melinda Gates. Pillow talk works.

  • Lucien Tenebrae

    I’d tend to agree with your premise (I knew Gates in college medium well), but have to ask: why is it that every new-born zillionaire eventually decides that population control is the #1 global priority? It’s as if every king of the universe decides that all the dark teeming masses of the planet are personally threatening him and everything he holds dear…

    • barry233

      Because there are to many people on the planet – period. We can not sustain our growing population much longer.

      As I doubt the human race will be able to control population, it will start to control itself in the next century. That will be catastrophic.

      • http://twitter.com/nowarninglabel K

        Hi Malthus, I’m a bit miffed to see you reincarnated without much ado about the world. Too bad that you’re still wrong.

        • barry233

          Had to look up Malthus – thanks for the history lesson.

        • Derp

          Good one. Oh, wait, you weren’t joking…? :(

    • Feawfaw

      Overpopulation is going to be a serious problem. Its not being reported in the media much at the moment, as its most serious consequences are decades away.

      Without eventually enforcing population control humans will behave like animal populations do: increase population to unsustainable levels and suffer mass starvation, then oscillate around the maximum sustainable population for a while until we increase it further.

      Global warming is the problem of our generation, overpopulation is the problem of the next

      • undertoad

        The world population growth rate peaked in 1963. The growth rate has been falling since then and is expected to peak in 20-30 years. The European growth rate has already peaked, and many countries birth rates are not at “replacement” levels and have to depend on immigration to maintain their work forcesYou could look it up.

        • Dan Parsonson

          Growth rate is not to be confused with actual growth – looks pretty flat to me: http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_pop_totl&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=world+population.

          As an example, if the annual growth rate is 5% when the population is 2 billion, that’s 100 million people per year; if that rate falls to 2% when the population is 6 billion, that’s 120 million people per year, i.e. the actual population increase is larger. Just saying that the growth rate has decreased doesn’t tell the whole story.

    • http://www.tonywright.com/ Tony Wright

      No, it’s because they can do math. If every family has more than 2 children who reach child bearing age, populations grow. It’s pretty obvious that there aren’t infinite resources on the planet. Starvation and disease are easier to combat when you’re dealing with smaller populations. The “teeming masses” aren’t threatening Bill- they are threatening their own neighbors’ health and that of the planet.

      • undertoad

        The average European woman has 1.5 children. Many nations are already at “sub-replacement” birth rates, and some are seeing population declines: Russia, Japan, Ukraine.

        • Derp

          This is a good thing.

          • Johngalt

            Good thing for you your mother didn’t agree.

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.devon James Devon

      Because billionaires are normally quite smart and they can say things that people like politicians would like to but can’t. Because they’re right; population is the real problem underlying so many others. Billionaires aren’t the only people saying this, but when they speak people listen.

    • http://jsebrech.myopenid.com/ Joeri

      All problems are population-control problems. Global warming wouldn’t exist if we had 1 billion people on the planet. The true miracle is finding a way to bring population back down to sane levels, without it causing misery for those that remain.

    • http://twitter.com/nowarninglabel K

      Population control isn’t the issue. Do a bit of research and you will see that a country’s fertility rate is directly correlated to infant mortality rate. Thus, health is the issue. Bill has been focusing on health.

      • Victor

        Wrong. It is natural for families to have more children when mortality rates are high. So in a simplistic view, if we “fix” health in one generation and mortality goes from 59 per 1000 (Bangladesh) to 7 (USA), think of the population growth. If you then don’t educate that 2nd generation, they will have more than 2 children, causing exponential growth. They are both an issue.

      • HarryMonmouth

        Here here. If people’s children didn’t keep dying then they wouldn’t need to have so many children to make sure that some survived and the population wouldn’t continue to grow so much. Look how many fewer children we in the west have compared to when we couldn’t almost guarantee that they would survive.

    • Adam

      there’s strong correlation with genocides / starvation / war / disease and over-population.

      We’re not talking about the United States here man, we have enough resources for double the population, but there are other places in the world were there are too many people for too few resources.

      • MatTrue

        Sure, when “the Annointed” are trying to allocate resources, population size is a factor. When the population is allocating resources themselves through labor and trade, backed up by a strong, equitable legal system, size is irrelevant. You call it too few resources outside the U.S.- I’d call it too few laws and too many thugs with guns.

  • Ariel

    Because Bill Gates constantly beat them (Apple, Sun, Netscape) and Silicon Valley are bad losers.

  • Jonathan Hendler

    Microsoft is not Bill Gates.

  • Derp

    Gates was a lying snake that took over the pc industry to the detriment of us all, and it took over 20 years for alternatives to claw their way into the mainstream. Charity and so on are all well and good but I don’t care about other people nearly as much as I care about myself and those I’m close to — and Bill has screwed the latter very thoroughly over the years.

    • Mindstatic

      Not sure I understand your thought process, Derp. Did you mean that Bill prevented the technology progress in last 20 years by shoving PCs down everybody’s throat??

      In my mind, he brought about the change, reduced the barrier to entry, and brought immense power to the masses. Without “a PC in every home”, the hundreds and thousands of entrepreneurs who are now not only dreaming ideas, but also implementing them would not have been possible. Think about it – the more the merrier, the number PCs that Bill helped sell in last 2 decades have empowered humanity beyond what you and me can imagine.

      Google, by the way, harvests hundreds of PCs and old servers to run its grid network, not macs.

      • Derp

        You’re just getting confused over the term ‘PC’. What I mean is that _software-wise_ Bill has been screwing us and his competitors for a couple decades now. Hardware comes and goes, no worries there. Bill tricked IBM into using his DOS OS (which he didn’t even have at the time, he later bought it from Seattle Computing for a measly sum).

        • Mindstatic

          I am not. I used the term “PC” short for the industry you referred to. And as for screwing you and us, well, my point is we all have choices. People who were at the forefront of the tech industry 20 years ago did not have the balls to stand up against Bill and say NO to his software. (By the way, I am not a PC/Microsoft Software fan). As I have tried to illustrate in an earlier post: Bill took advantage of the market situation. IBM wanted to crush Apple, Bill stepped in and said “I can do this for you”. IBM said fine, get me the software. IBM has a history too. Remember Apache Web Server?

          Anyways, the point is not whether Bill screwed us. The point is he was successful in creating an industry that leveled the playing field (whether he envisioned it or not) and made PC a commodity.

          How funny you think Bill “tricked” IBM :-) Haven’t it occurred to you that may be they were hand in glove in this deal??!!

      • fry10d

        I am sure you are aware that Google uses Linux on the bulk of its servers.

    • Pk

      Not sure how Bill screwed you and those you are close to. You are saying that you are selfish and believing that Microsoft(Not Bill personally) somehow wronged you and that Bill’s philanthropic endeavors on behalf of humanity mean nothing to you. Brilliant.
      By the way, alternatives were in the mainstream before MS got there in most product categories. IE was not first, Word was not first, etc etc. Realistically they won those categories against a major player. (Much like Apple beat Sony w/ iPod). Also, MS also helped the PC industry in many ways.They limit themselves to SW and not HW. Because they did this we have lower priced PC hardware and greater innovation, but you seem to forget this point. (Even Apple finally conceded and went to Intel because cost and performance were better.) Companies like Dell HP and Acer benefit and now PC HW manufacturers work on some of the slimmest margins possible, because it is such a competitive environment. This would not have happened if MS certified certain hardware etc.

      • Derp

        Hmm, they don’t mean nothing… Just that this is the reason why he gets hate. Imagine this: You’re the dude from Seattle Computing (or some other ‘colleague’ that Bill screwed, like Apple, for instance) and spending your time really thinking about how to make this great new advancement in OS tech, a unix-for-the-masses if you will. Meanwhile Bill is lying to IBM about an OS he has that he will sell them so they can overtake Apple (who is way ahead at this point). IBM buys it, Bill comes to you and says “Ok bud, I like your little toy OS, I want to tinker with it, here’s 50k” — you agree because you haven’t been to the future to realize you got punked… and the next 2 decades has IBM comodity-hardware pushing all of us with this half-finished OS with a Microsoft sticker slapped onto it… GREAT

        • Mindstatic

          Well, you have a point Derp. But here is where I differ: Businesses (and businessmen) are not altruistic in their acts. If you are contended spending time thinking for the next great advancement in technology without a vision for how that advancement will bring about the larger good, then your thoughts (and efforts) are limited to yourself. You will someone to help you take that new stuff to the world. What Gates did with Seattle Computing may be lying, robbery, theft in our eyes, but technically he did pay a price for that OS. Seattle Computing had a choice to refuse and/or ask more money for the stuff. They did not. So, what Gates did was not against Seattle Computing’s wish. He paid for it a sum that he thought he is profiting from, and sold it to IBM at a price that, again, he thought he was profiting from. I do not see any issues with that!!

          And IBM was not a kid too. IBM wanted to cut corners, push Apple and gain market advantage, and decided to give this Gates kid a try.

          What you fail to see is that this is market with each player trying make profit. What Gates did was to exploit that to make his own. If you were born in his shoes, I think you would have walked away from such an opportunity!!

          • Technocrat

            Here’s the rub.

            If Microsoft didn’t buy DOS and slapped the MS label on it, someone else would have became the de-facto OS.

            Microsoft is not special.

        • Pk

          This amuses me because I am not a MS fan, but I also hate trolls more…

          To sum up your post
          “they don’t mean nothing.” = I have read your comment and can’t come up with anything trollish to say directly, so I will dismiss the whole thing off the bat
          and
          Someone hadn’t been to the future he sold his OS for 50K and realized he got punked.

          The last point confuses me because as far as I can tell, by knowing how much an OS was worth Gates knew more than that OS guy and was able to take advantage of it. (Your story not mine). Business is not all roses and smiley faces, and there is such a thing as business sense, which by your story gates had, but SC didn’t. You obviously don’t understand that business isn’t nice. People play rough and mean. If you don’t understand business or don’t have business sense you should stay out. (This is why I stay away) There is not a single SUCCESSFUL company who didn’t leverage a competitor out of the way. Apple did it, IBM, HP, Dell, Acer hell even Disney did it (Look at how they bought land for Disney World).

          It’s sad, but true. You can hate Gates for having business sense. You can hate him for being successful. You can hate him for doing the very same things every business man does. (Your life). What you can’t explain is why every rich business man who has punked someone else isn’t out trying to better the world. Thats really the only difference between Gates and most other CEOs.

    • http://jsebrech.myopenid.com/ Joeri

      Try to do this thought experiment: imagine a world where bill gates doesn’t exist, and there is no microsoft. This means that probably the mac wins, and steve jobs never gets ousted as apple’s leader. There would be no cheap PC’s, because steve doesn’t like to make cheap products unless his hand is forced. This means that PC’s would be a device for the affluent, and the democratization of the internet would have never occurred (the internet broke through thanks to microsoft bundling IE with windows which ensured that everyone could get online). The world would be a completely different place, and arguably worse off.

      • Derp

        Again, ‘PC’ as in hardware. I don’t care about Apple or anyone else. All I’m saying is that Bill did a lot of lying, cheating and borderline stealing to trick IBM and others into working ‘with’ him when he was preparing to use a giant knife in their back. And the internet revolution wasn’t started by microsoft you maniac! I’m not going to go on because… wow.

        • Zenmaster

          @Derp. you never did tell us how Bill Gates screwed you. Also Joeri didn’t say Microsoft started the internet revolution. Once you calm down, take deep breaths and let the raging blood drain from your fogged up brain maybe you’ll take the time to actually read the comment you’re replying to and refrain from calling someone a maniac when that person didn’t say anything remotely rude to you. Maybe if your parents had taught you manners … but that’s a what-if now. Good luck with your hating…

          • Derp

            Sorry I’m not your teacher, but since you’re obviously confused — go read about the history of this industry for yourself.

      • fry10d

        That is making the assumption that seven billion people wouldn’t try and make a cheap Mac…
        Not very likely.
        But I do acept the fact that if Jobs had not been ousted there would have been no NeXT. Therefore no OSX And therefore no Vista. or 7.
        So in a way………

    • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

      How has Bill screwed you? You could always buy a Mac.

      • Derp

        Bill screwed the industry by lying, cheating and actively discouraging competition and innovation. Mac or not, I certainly don’t buy that train wreck called ‘Windows’.

        • http://colemanfoley.com/ Coleman Foley

          Maybe Microsoft’s “competitors” should have done a better job. If MS sucks, how bad does that make everybody else?

    • Baz

      Agree with you:
      1) Gates had a gentleman’s agreement with the inventor of CP/M that he would do computer languages and leave the os market to his friend. Gates, stabbed him in the back, bought a imitation of CP/M called QDOS, renamed it PC-DOS for IBM’s PCs and made a fortune, and left his friend out to dry.
      http://www.mackido.com/History/Gates_a_Genius.html
      http://www.mackido.com/History/IBMs_choice.html

      2) Jobs asked MS to be a third party app developer for Macintosh and as an incentive gave MS pre-release access to the both hardware and software. MS wasn’t in the applications market before this.
      3) MS when behind Apple’s back and developed an imitation of Mac OS called Windows.
      Refer to http://www.folklore.org for MS’s insider knowledge (articles: ‘A Rich Neighbor Named Xerox’, and ‘On Xerox, Apple and Progress’.)

      4) MS used IBM’s money to develop OS/2 (and probably Windows too) and told the dominate 3rd party application companies, Lotus, Borland WordPerfect that OS/2 was the future and to develop and ship for OS/2. Gates/MS stabbed IBM and Lotus, Borland WordPerfect in the back, dumped OS/2, shipped Windows 3.0 and ported their Mac applications (namely Word and Excel) to Windows to give Windows office applications.
      http://www.mackido.com/History/Gates_a_Genius.html

      5) MS licensed the browser code from Spyglass, Inc (based on Mosaic) which Spyglass was selling commercially, renamed it Internet Explorer and shipped it free thus undercutting their ‘partner’. MS incentive was to dominate the Web (from potential rival Netscape) to keep the PC Windows centric, thus maintain their monopoly.

      Conclusion: And from 1, 2 & 3, and 4 MS got their OS & Office monopolies and used what amounted to immoral business tactics to keep them. No. 5 is how MS was caught flatfooted by the Internet phenomenon and used their Windows power to undercut rivals and bully others.

      No wonder why a the people within the PC Industry don’t like Bill Gates / Microsoft. THey have good reasons not to.

      • Baz

        To continue and mention other things:
        6) To my mind since the early 90s starting with Cairo, MS has contently used FUD to impede and control the PC marketplace. They are currently still doing this practice though it is not as successful as it once was (the iPod, iPhone and iPad largely saw to that in those markets).

        Starting with Cairo which (from my knowledge) was announced to compete with a shipping product, that being NextStep (from Jobs post-Apple company). That is NextStep was an advanced OS and shipping and MS said (well what amounted to) “we’ll do that someday, wait for our version”. Over the last 20 years (since 1991) I can see countless further examples of MS using FUD to manipulate the market and hinder shipping applications.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_(operating_system)

        7) From the MS antitrust court case: MS’s philosophy of Embrace, extend and extinguish. THe most easy recognised example being Java, MS twisting Java’s ability to “run everywhere”.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish

        Derp: are both of these posts points what you had in mind in your comment above? And do you agree with any of them?

        • http://ohheyworld.com/ Drew Meyers

          What’s done is done – and that’s the way the business world works unfortunately. Please get over it.

          At least the way things worked out means that the guy with all the money is actually going to invest it in the world’s poor and improving the lives of others rather than build mansions and hoard it for himself. Everyone should be thankful for that.

    • Inactive

      The bad news is that Gates (and MSFT) are indeed liars, and tend to screw the competition.The worse news is, almost all of Gates’/MSFT’s competitors would have lied even more frequently, and screwed their competition even harder, had they been successful instead.Look at Apple today, and the tremendous irony that no technology company more emulates “1984″ than they do. Control of press, hardware and software integration, ruthless repeated elimination of their ecosystem of competing developers (just wait iOS guys — your time will come). And who would have been any better? Scooter McNealy at Sun? Larry Ellison at Oracle? Ray Noorda at Novell? Jim Manzi at Lotus?Maybe, maybe Philippe Kahn at Borland. Philippe’s problem was, he couldn’t scale and wouldn’t delegate.The optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist fears this may be true. The bad news may well be, Gates was the best and most benevolent an option as was available in the talent pool. Not that he was good — just that the other SOBs were even worse.

  • Red Dragon

    May be sometimes, people also extend their sentiments about Microsoft to Bill as well. Just like I did. But I think it is unfair to ignore his contributions. Hats Off :)

    • Marty

      What contributions? I agree with Derp. Bill Gates lied, cheated and stole to create a monopoly. Just for an example, research a company called Stacker which created the disk compression software Microsoft stole and when sued, bought the company. This is not an isolated incident. Microsoft didn’t create anything. They just bought other companies and resold overpriced software by creating a monopoly.

      • Derp

        Not to mention holding down everyone simply by existing and behaving as it did. Why would I spend significant time doing something that Microsoft will just come and a) immitate poorly, b) steal outright or c) stifle and then purchase only to run it into the ground?

  • Ajshankar

    Great post. I agree 100%.

  • http://robiganguly.com/blog Robi Ganguly

    Glenn, your post reminds me of my own riff on Bill and the way he has been written about from a few years ago: http://www.robiganguly.com/blog/inspirational-leadership-bill-gates/.

    At the time I wondered if it’s a human trait: the need to criticize and discredit those who have become successful in order to build ourselves up, mentally. Ultimately, I sort of punted on the question, but reflecting on what I’ve seen and the people I’ve interacted with in the tech industry makes me think that it’s kind of natural for our industry to shun Bill. I see 2 main reasons for this:

    1) Although the tech industry is most definitely a global one, its loudest voices tend to come from Silicon Valley. Bill, shunning the Valley from the outset, has always set himself apart from many of his peers. Moreover, as you saw years ago when Arrington and you argued about your move to Seattle, the Valley tech community is very defensive when anyone suggests that there’s a different place to build a tech company. The fact that the most successful tech entrepreneur was never convinced that he had to follow the rest of the crowd and move there is a snub of the highest order.
    2) The narrative of the underdog hasn’t applied to Bill for 2 decades, if not more. In sports, in entertainment and in business, we find ourselves rooting for the underdog. In Silicon Valley, the underdog is the rule, not the exception. Each new startup, every garage, every independent software developer is rooted in the idea that something can be built from nothing and perhaps, with some luck, overtake the big behemoth they’re trying to steal a piece of business from. As we look back over the past several decades, companies have achieved massive success, squandered it and then regained their stature by fighting back, but this has not been true of Bill Gates and Microsoft. For most of Silicon Valley Microsoft and Bill, by association, has never been close to the brink of death. As such, he’s always been more machine than human: consistent, successful, calculating. The underdog story is a humanizing one and lacking that narrative, Bill is further set apart from his peers. We don’t see him as a human, facing difficulty and having ups and downs, we see him as someone different from ourselves, someone we can’t empathize with and as such, someone we can’t embrace.

    I’m with you though. I think he’s inspiring, he’s a hero and yes, he deserves better. I think, however, the fact that he doesn’t really seem to care is the best thing to take away from him: what he’s accomplished appears to be its own reward, he doesn’t need us to approve :) .

    • Mindstatic

      True. What we miss to see is the fact that this guy did what he believed will change human civilization. He saw an opportunity to change the way we work and live, and he did it with such passion. Frankly, Bill seem to me a far greater leader than the rest of the bunch, even Jobs. Jobs is brilliant, visionary but sadly he performs in this isolation that it is difficult to relate to him. Consider his recent response to public criticism on iPhone 4 antenna problems: “Well, don’t hold the phone that way then” (paraphrased). I was at a hotel that morning (when this was flashed in news) having breakfast with bunch of people around, and I could sense a wave of “what the eff is he talking about?” among all. He seems drunk on the success of his visions. Bill has always been the quite opposite. He has achieved consistent success, as you point out rightly, and has never been close to the brink. That illustrates his visionary status with a solid practical leadership abilities. No one has ever come close to him in the tech industry. Brin and Schimdt could possibly repeat that, time will tell.

      • Derp

        Witness, fellow readers, the power of lulz is strong with this one ^

  • http://twitter.com/broofa broofa

    Glenn, it’s easy to be altruistic and “a good citizen” when you have wealth – it affords you the luxury of having the time and resources to think beyond your personal best-interests; it’s when there are other demands on your time, your energy, your focus that one’s character is really tested. And I don’t think that by that metric Bill can be lauded for his accomplishments. Gates’ actions as head of MSFT in the 80′s and 90′s have been roundly criticized as monopolistic and predatory.

    It wasn’t until he and MSFT had clearly trounced all competition, and he’d accumulated so much personal wealth that we has getting criticized on multiple fronts for not doing enough charitable work with it, that he finally turned his attention to more admirable undertakings.

    Before applauding him as a hero and model citizen, ask yourself, “what would you have done given his wealth and resources? What would others do? Where did he *really* show strength of character in the face of adversity?”

    • zeroG

      Precisely. I admire what he’s doing now but he’s never going to be a hero. He’s got a ways to go just to get back to even in my book.

      Additionally, I will always maintain that he was more fortunate than smart. Having lived through MSFT’s climb, zenith and slow decline from the vantage point of both Comp Sci studies and IT management, I still cannot wash the bad taste from my mouth. I never appreciated their philosophy or culture, nor their products.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BJSOZTHAA2KZI6AHQIKD764SS4 Dan

      Here’s another question for you: what *are* others doing given his wealth and resources? He’s not the only multi-billionaire in the world, you know?

      Sure, anyone can say they would to do this and that before they have the money, but there are precious few who actually do it.

  • http://twitter.com/RobbiePaplin Robbie Paplin

    I think most of the hate comes from the fact that in the 80s & much of the 90s, MS’s enterprise software was less solid than UNIX alternatives, Windows was less easy to use than Apple’s Mac, and Microsoft’s Valley rivals never understood why MS succeeded despite what they deemed were inferior products.

    I think the reason why MS grew so powerful (and Bill by proxy) is their platform let 3rd party hardware manufacturers get rich without paying for software R&D (and CPU R&D for that matter) and let customers free themselves from hardware lock in. It created a rich software eco-system that made it possible for software-only companies to grow & thrive.

    MS gave people “good-enough” software, that was comparatively cheap and free of hardware lock-in. Remember when Word Perfect cost $500? Remember when applications shipped with printer drivers? Remember when Macintosh desktop’s cost over $5000 and PC’s were only $1500 (and had a better software library)? Remember when a UNIX workstation cost over $10,000 and NT workstation costs only $3000 (and had a better software library).

    It didn’t help matters that most of MS competitors did everything they could to shoot themselves in the foot (or the head) in the 1990s either. (MS had more than it’s fair share of luck). Office for Windows killed Lotus 123, Aston Tate dBase, and WordPerfect. Windows 3.1 killed Amiga & Atari. Windows 95 & 98 nearly killed Apple. Windows NT & Windows 2000 started the death spiral for proprietary Unix (which Linux has since finished to far greater effect). Visual Basic, Access & Excel mostly killed Borland. Exchange & Sharepoint has put the hurt on Lotus Notes & Domino. SQL Server caused Sybase & Informix to fight with Oracle & IBM in a shrinking proprietary Unix DB market, etc, etc, etc.

    I think Bill is remembered more fondly now, since Microsoft’s current competitors are much smarter (all of Microsoft’s dumb competitors have since been acquired or disappeared during the last decade). Google’s growth, the second coming of Steve Jobs and the DOJ have shown the world MS isn’t invincible. Also, all of Microsoft’s current competitors are now using Intel x86/x64 (or AMD equivalents) CPUs in the server/workstation market, so Microsoft can’t rely on Moore’s law to get easy growth anymore.

    Ultimately, Bill doesn’t care what Silicon Valley thinks of him. He’s trying to change the world for the better (first in computing, now in philanthropy) and I’m sure history will be kinder to him, than his competitors are.

    • http://blog.redfin.com/ GlennKelman

      Really great insights Robbie. And I love your conclusion…

  • Genital Integrity NYC

    Gates has spent >$70 million to try to circumcise all of Africa based on false “studies” that he also funded. As an Intactivist who believes people are entitled to their whole bodies, that makes me sick to my stomach. He needs to stop promoting genital mutilation, immediately. http://www.gatesfoundation.org/foundationnotes/Pages/bill-gates-building-on-success-hiv-prevention.aspx

  • http://www.mouthsync.com Doug Kersten

    Looks like spreading his money all around has gotten him in good with you. Traditional ways of the uber wealthy. Do anything it takes to get your money and then spread the wealth around to make people forget about it. It would more then likely have been better to have more companies around doing their thing then to have all that wealth and monopoly power concentrated in Microsoft. Yeah, he is throwing his money around but he is doing it in the way that he thinks is best, not what is necessarily best. This is the power that money buys you. The ability to make decisions that will impact others lives without having to worry about what they think.

  • Rick

    Both Gates and Jobs deserve recognition for their accomplishments and their contributions to the world.
    Bill has amassed enormous amounts of wealth, and probably realized now was the time to focus on other things in life, if there ever was a time. He is extremely intelligent, and I think what he is doing is absolutely wonderful. His contributions will help hundreds of millions.
    Is there a personal reward in all of this? Probably. A hundred years from now, Microsoft may no longer be around, but given the history of other far small charitable foundations, odds are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will still exist, and will still be doing its good work.

    Jobs’ has also pushed the envelope when it comes to advances in technology. There are various types of technology which may have been in existence for years, but to bring them mainstream requires a certain corporate culture and leadership which he seems to have the ability to bring. He still has that knack and it would be a mistake for him to leave now, with Apple reaching it’s pinnacle of performance and creativity. Buffet, for example, never made much in the way of charitable contribution until recently. When asked why, he simply stated that he had the ability to generate money and his skills were best put to use that way (which, in the end, probably allowed him to make a much greater contribution to the B&M Foundation then he ever could have otherwise).
    Job’s has a creativity and leadership in the tech arena that few command in this day and age – he should let it run it’s course before focusing on other issues.

  • Redfin

    glenn – Why post this article on a real estate blog? Why don’t you post info related to Redfin/Realestate? I’m sure you clients are happy to hear your thoughts/feelings regarding the tech world…ever heard of a personal blog?

    • Inactive

      This is a distinction without a difference. All blogs are “personal” blogs, in that they’re written by people, with personal points-of-view. Or, if not, there’s been more progress on the Turing Test than has been widely reported.

      Get over yourself. Of all the approaches one could have used to critique Glenn’s post, the one you’re using is boring, bureaucratic, and trivial.

  • RalphG

    Twitter founders visionaries? Please.

  • Derrick Evans

    “A Prophet is despised in his own country, in his own house,and among his own kindred”.

  • Jeff

    Well, that’s because many of us associate Bill with crappy experiences using Microsoft software. That and we don’t respect him for many of the business decisions that Microsoft made during the years he was at the helm. His strong-arm tactics resulted in a slower evolution of the software industry, while fattening his pockets. Microsoft’s support for DRM, closed formats, closed protocols, and software patents, has hindered open and efficient communication across computer networks and in society at large.

    That said, his work with the foundation is inspiring and redeeming, and Microsoft does seem to have turned around a bit. They are opening up in some places, and they have created a solid platform in the CLR.

  • Song Lee Kim

    Gates is clearly the greatest business Hero of the last 25 years. Steve Jobs the greatest CE designer. Philippe Kahn has shown an amazing ability to constantly invent and re-invent. Arguably the innovator of the last 25 years.

  • http://garyfales.com/ $$$$ Gary Saves Your Assets

    Bill ain’t who he used to be. You should look up what he’s doing these days. It’s not exactly warm and fuzzy.

  • http://www.jimrehs.net/ Jim Schmidt

    I haven’t seen anything that Mr. Gates has done that would personify him as a Hero. Spending money doesn’t make you a hero. He didn’t make any great invention that changed the world. Now if you want to claim he was very good businessman sure, I’ll buy that.

    My 4th and 5th grade teacher was a hero. The people I volunteered with on the First Aid Squad were/are hero’s. A lot of our Soldiers are hero’s. Bill Gates is not a hero and you using the term to describe him just weakens the word “hero”.

    Now if you want to add an adjective such as “He is my business hero” I might be able to stomach that.

    • http://www.mn-houses.com/white-bear-lake.php White Bear Lake Homes for Sale

      Well written, Jim. I’m in total agreement, and at least Gates is admirable in how he is using his wealth to help others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002180081796 Robert Lemieux

    Wow!!! Reading this post shows how much people’s opinions are black or white when talking about B.Gates.