Bill Gates did his fifth Reddit AMA today, and he revealed some interesting little tidbits about his life. Gates decided to do the AMA to promote the release of his annual letter, which looks into important problems facing the world and how his and other charities can help resolve them.
Much of Gates' AMA was about his charitable endeavors. There were a lot of questions asked about the most important concerns facing the world in the next few decades, and how we can overcome them. For instance, this is what he said regarding the limits of money in positive change:
Philanthropy is small as a part of the overall economy so it can't do things like fund health care or education for everyone. Government and the private sector are the big players so philanthropy has to be more innovative and fund pilot programs to help the other sectors. A good example is funding new medicines or charter schools where non-obvious approaches might provide the best solution.
One thing that is a challenge for our Foundation is that poor countries often have weak governance - small budgets, and the people in the ministries don't have much training. This makes it harder to get things done.
If we had more money we could do more good things - even though we are the biggest foundation we are still resource limited.
Gates also told the AMA audience what he feels about the future of the United States:
Overall like Warren Buffett I am optimistic about the long run. I am concerned in the short run that the huge benefits of how the US works with other countries may get lost. This includes the aid we give to Africa to help countries there get out of the poverty trap.
Aside from discussing his work, Gates answered a lot of questions about himself and his personal likes and dislikes. For example, he told the audience what his favorite sandwich is (cheeseburger), as well as some of his favorite books, and whether he can still jump over a chair (not a large one). But one of the most interesting little tidbits was this, about how he avoids being recognized at colleges when his son is visiting:
I sometimes wear a hat. For example when I did college tours with my son I wanted the focus to be totally on him. A lot less people recognize me when I have a hat on or else they realize I am trying to be incognito.
Mostly when people do recognize me they are super nice so I don't feel it is a burden to be noticed most of the time.