Bill Gates Chats with Ellen for the First Time

Bill Gates Chats with Ellen for the First Time

August 14, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


I am so happy to have you here. This is the first time
having you on, so thanks. So I know you were nervous
about the entrance. I think people feel like
they’re supposed to dance. And I was really
surprised because I was here earlier today
for your rehearsal and then you abandoned it. But we should at least
show them the rehearsal because it was really good. [MUSIC PLAYING] [LAUGHING] [CHEERING] It was good. [APPLAUSE] Your daughter is looking
at you like, I’ve never seen you dance like that. Hi. So the last time
we saw each other it was at the White House. We both were receiving
the Medal of Freedom. And that was quite
a day, wasn’t it? That was an amazing group. Yeah. Really, really fun. So you are here with your
daughter who is 21, right? And you were 21 when you
became a billionaire. Is that right? Almost, yep. All right, so around that age. You were like the youngest
person to become a billionaire, is that right? Yeah, in terms of earning
it on my own, yeah. Right. OK. Which is the most
important thing. So when you were a kid,
did you care about money? Or you just cared
about technology and it just happened? Mostly I loved software. I do remember at
the private school I went to there were other kids
whose families were better off. Like they had a
Porsche or something. But it wasn’t that
big of a deal. My thing was that I just
loved doing software. I loved hiring people. And I was stunned when it
ended up being so valuable. Really? Yeah. It surprised you? Yeah. Because I always had
to be careful that we wouldn’t hire too many people. I was always worried
because people who worked for me were older
than me and they had kids. And I always thought well
what if we don’t get paid. Will I be able to
meet the payroll? So I was always
very conservative about the finances. And then when we did
go public, what was I? 30, by then. Then I was kind of stunned
at what it multiplied out to. Right. So, when you became
a billionaire, at what point did
you start relaxing? Were you still nervous when
you became a billionaire? Like I got to watch this? Well I always wanted to have
enough money in the bank so that even if our customers
didn’t pay us for a year, we could still keep paying
everybody and do the R&D. So I’d still be viewed
as conservative. I don’t have that many things
that are extravagant taste so it didn’t change too much. So nothing really changed. So you didn’t say, oh I’m
going to buy a Porsche. I did. That I did. All right. Yeah. You did. All right. Yeah, that was an indulgence. And then eventually, for
my travel, I got a plane. Which is a huge indulgence. So those are my two. Well not really, because
you travel all the time. So that’s important
that you have a plane. So you have a Porsche and
a plane and that’s it? Well, in terms of
crazy things, yeah. Yeah. There’s not like any
like wild– like you didn’t build like an
aquarium with sharks in it or something like that? We have a trampoline
room in our house. Oh wow. The kids like that. Indoor trampoline. I recommend it. Just one giant trampoline. Yeah. Yeah, it’s a room with
a very high ceiling. Well yeah, I hope. That would be
cruel if you didn’t put a high ceiling in there. Go on kids. All right, so let’s
talk about this. So you already put $40
billion of your own money into your foundation. Yep. $40 billion. And you’ve kind of
encouraged other billionaires to do this as well. Because it really is
kind of up to the people to fix the problems in the
world, it seems, right? So what is your main
focus right now? My wife Melinda and I picked
global health as our big thing. The fact that still we
have five million kids who die under the age of five. Now it was over
10 million when we got started so there’s been
huge progress over the last 18 years. So things like
malaria, diarrhea. Coming up with new
drugs and vaccines and getting them out to
all the kids in the world. That’s our main thing. Our second biggest
thing is all in the US, which is trying to help improve
the education system here. Yeah. [APPLAUSE] And how do you do that? I always think you
get what you pay for. So if you don’t pay teachers,
because most teachers are paying out of their own pocket
to take care of these students. So how do you do that? Well, there are some
really phenomenal teachers. And so the dream is that
you could take that top 10% and have them help the others
to get best practices, the best teaching ideas to spread
all over the country. We’re listening to you,
obviously $40 billion does a lot. And there are other
people that are helping. But what can we do? What is the best thing that
you could say that just one person can do to help? Well particularly with
schools, the ability to go to the local public
school or charter school and engage with the
kids, mentor kids, talk about the kind
of work you do. There’s huge
opportunities there. With the challenges, say
in Africa, part of it is people’s voice. There’s a real question
now whether the US takes this less than 1% of our budget
that saves tens of millions of lives and whether we don’t
prioritize continuing that. So it’s a hot debate in terms
of is it good for America to be generous and help
the rest of the world live a healthy life. Well, I mean the fact that
you’re helping so many people all around the world. Because that, to me,
is what when you have that kind of money, it’s for. That’s the best thing
you can do actually. You’re making such
a huge difference. I’m glad you’re a billionaire. [APPLAUSE] All right, you can learn more
about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the
website and gatesletter.com.