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Melinda Gates Shared the Most Important Lessons She Has Learned From Her Failures


To err is human. Everyone has surely made mistakes in the past or might make some in the future. These false moves shouldn’t define us, but instead, serve as motivation to do better and be better.

In the The Moment of Lift book, the well-respected philanthropist Melinda Gates shared stories on how she used to mess up her work at Microsoft when she was still the product manager on the company. No matter how embarrassing and nerve-racking those experiences were, Gates didn’t let them bring her down.

Melinda Gates released the book The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, this 2019

Melinda Didn’t Let Failures Stop Her

Since Microsoft hired Gates in 1987, she encountered several missteps on her end. The first was so terrible that her boss’ superior needed to interfere. Having a lack of knowledge about pricing, Gates expensed a product that she should have not. Gates remembers how nervous she was thinking she had certainly blew her career in Microsoft.

Luckily, she got through it, although, that incident put a big dent on her reputation. But, instead of letting herself down, even more, she focused on studying numbers and her customer’s behavior.

Microsoft Bob

Microsoft Bob wasn’t a success as Melinda anticipated, but the failure didn’t stop her from becoming a great leader  in the near future

Gates regained her supervisors’ trust until she stumbled again in 1995. Gates and her team developed a product called Microsoft Bob, which was then listed as one of the worst inventions on Earth by Time Magazine. Even though it hurt a lot, as the product manager, she still had to present it on stage to the public.

Gates’ software program, Microsoft Bob, wasn’t a success as she expected due to several technical issues that came along with it. Unfortunately, the technology back then didn’t meet the program’s requirements causing Microsoft Bob to become a big fat failure.

She nearly ‘died’ in humiliation when she presented the software demo on stage. Gates said that was the most difficult thing she has ever done in her entire life. As a leader, she needed to stand firm with her two feet for the whole team.

She Sees the Glass Half-Full

Melinda left Microsoft to focus more on her philanthropic missions and family

The good thing is, Gate always sees the glass half-full instead of half-empty. She reminded herself that she’s solely accountable for putting herself in that situation. She confidently finished her public demo and took time to reflect on her life.

After failing several times, Gates realized that failures are blessings in disguise. They happen to allow us to pause for a little while so that we can focus on seeing a better and brighter path.

Nevertheless, Gates regained herself, and succeed in her Microsoft career even though she left the company soon after so she could have more time for her philanthropic activities. As per Microsoft Bob, it didn’t push through, but a part of its visuals is now well-known as the font Comic Sans.

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