Bill Gates and the Magic of Zero


A wonderful read – as usual. The Gates Notes annual letter, with an update on the progress of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This year they respond to Warren Buffett with an outline of where his donation is working.

Bill: We want to end our letter with the most magical number we know. It’s zero. This is the number we’re striving toward every day at the foundation. Zero malaria. Zero TB. Zero HIV. Zero malnutrition. Zero preventable deaths. Zero difference between the health of a poor kid and every other kid.

Melinda: Moving toward zero is perhaps the biggest difference between our philanthropy and a business. In the private sector, the goal is to stay in business. In our case, nothing would make us happier than going out of business because we’ve achieved our goals.

Bill: Polio is closest to reaching this magic number. You and I have talked about polio a lot. When you were growing up, you saw things kids never see today: children with polio on crutches and leg braces, photos of kids in iron lungs. By the late 1970s, with the help of vaccines, the United States eliminated polio, but it still raged around the world. In 1988, when the global campaign was launched to end polio, there were 350,000 new cases each year.

Last year, there were 37.

Worth reading in full, and feeling good about the world.

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By Craig Bailey