TO some Bill Gates is simply the US richest businessman with a personal worth of an estimated $17 billion. To others, he is the technology czar who built the $73-billion Microsoft from scratch and has, through products ranging from his original DOS operating system for PCs to the present Windows, changed our lives like never before.
But what does Bill Gates mean to you? Datapro, a leading distributor of Microsoft in India, is eliciting the views of hundreds of men and women across the country through its Suggestions-to-Bill Gates campaign, to be presented to the Microsoft founder himself on his scheduled visit to India early next year.
Datapro aims to generate some 10,000 ideas from a cross-section of society through the campaign which was formally announced last week. "We have been interacting with more than 150,000 students and their families over the years and found this absolutely mesmeric hold that Bill Gates has on their minds. The campaign is to enable them to reach out to him now that he is actually vising India," informs Rajeev Arora, chairman, Datapro. The company is sending out forms to the 120-odd Datapro education centres, spread over a 100 Indian cities.
But will these responses make any difference to the Microsoft chief? "We are simply providing a forum. And when there are 10,000 ideas, chances are that some will stick," says Arora. And if the odd vision strikes a chord with the man and his grand plan to link every PC, mainframe and supercomputer through a code which will put almost all communication and transactions on-line, you may actually play a role in determining the direction the information age takes.