Bill Gates tracked Microsoft workers by remembering license plates

Speaking on BBC Radio, Gates acknowledged being intense but careful not to apply his personal standards to others.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Feb. 1, 2016 at 9:49 AM
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LONDON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said in an interview he once checked employees' arrival and departure times by memorizing their cars' license plates.

He spoke Sunday on the BBC radio program Desert Island Discs, in which guests are interviewed before reading a list of 10 songs they would bring with them to a desert island.

Referring to Microsoft's early days, Gates, billed by host Kirsty Young as the world's richest man, admitted, "I had to be a little careful not to try and apply my standards to how hard they worked. You know, I knew everyone's license plates so I could look out in the parking lot and see when did people come in, when were they leaving. Eventually I had to loosen up, as the company got to a reasonable size."

Gates also said his parents directed him to a psychologist when he was 12.

"I was a bit disruptive. I started, early on, sort of questioning. Were their rules logical, and always to be followed? So there was a tiny bit of tension there, as I was kind of pushing back. He (the psychologist) convinced me that it was kind of an unfair thing that I would challenge my parents and I really wasn't proving anything. So by the time I was 14 I got over that, which is good because then they were very supportive as I started to really engage in writing software and learning different computer things."

He also acknowledged he was "more intense than other people" but "no more intense than Steve Jobs," Gates' occasional collaborator and founder of rival Apple, whom Gates described as "an incredible genius."

For a trip to a desert island, Gates chose songs by the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, U2 and Ed Sheeran, as well as "How Can Love Survive" from The Sound of Music and "My Shot" from Hamilton.

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