My 2010 Annual Letter is now live at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website. In this year’s letter I talk about the importance of innovation for solving some of the world's biggest problems. Melinda and I see innovation as the factor that will make the difference between having a bleak future and a bright one. The letter explains how we decide which ideas to fund and talk about the benefits, time frame, and risks of each one.
I decided to write an Annual Letter because in 2008, Warren Buffett encouraged me to find a way to share my thinking more broadly about the foundation’s goals and to assess as frankly as possible our progress toward achieving these goals. I wrote my first Annual Letter in 2009, and I have to admit I was surprised by the outpouring of interest after it was published. I never anticipated that so many people would get in touch to ask that I continue to provide updates on the issues I covered in the letter. My plan is to write a letter at the end of each year to provide my honest assessment of how well the foundation is doing in its work to improve health and reduce poverty in the developing world and improve education in the U.S.
In many ways, the Gates Notes is an extension of the Annual Letter. I will write some about foundation-related topics as well as work that isn’t related to the foundation. (The foundation-related posts will appear on gatesfoundation.org as well.) My goal for the website, as it is in the Annual Letter, is to be as candid as I can about the issues I care about. Hopefully, people will find some ideas and information that will help them think about how to tackle some of these issues, too.