About 20 years ago I was asked by Enterprise Saint John to write an article about Information Technology within the context of economic development. At the time I decided to write about Microsoft. All that I remember about the article is a statement that I made: “Bill Gates genius was not developing MS-Dos, it was the genius of inclusion” Gates had decided to “include” the employees of Microsoft as shareholders. He realized that as owners the employees would be more dedicated and more loyal to the dream. They were more than employees, they were owners.
So how do you suppose the Microsoft story unfolded?
Here it is.
1975: The year Microsoft was founded. The company was initially formed as the partnership Micro-soft, which operated for over five years until the firm was incorporated in 1981.
1981: Microsoft releases its first personal computer running its operating system, MS-DOS 1.0.
March 13, 1986 launches initial IPO (initial pubic offering) $21.00 per share, Microsoft IPO price, as adjusted for stock splits is 9 cents.
10,000: The estimated number of Microsoft employees that became millionaires as a result of their stock ownership in the firm.
2016 $79.1 billion, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ net worth. Gates is the wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes.
The Bottom Line – It would seem that by being willing to share the Microsoft pie Mr. Gates has become the richest person in the world. Is it better to have a piece of a very large pie or all of a small pie? Bill Gates in his genius realized that although he provided the leadership it was the employees with their talent, energy and commitment that built Microsoft.
What if? More New Brunswick companies had been prepared to “share” the equity and the profits? Do you suppose New Brunswick would have a few more millionaires investing in new ideas and new opportunities, instead of a province that struggles to break free?
New Brunswick is a province stuck without direction between bankrupt feudalism and the 21 century.