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Annual Letter Kick-Off in New York

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Annual Letter Kick-Off in New York
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Al Gore, Colbert, & More

Annual Letter Kick-Off in New York

Today was a long but terrific day, as I made the rounds talking about my annual letter, released this morning. I started the day with The Today Show, where they showed a clip of me predicting email and ubiquitous computers from an interview I did with Tom Brokow in 1992. Seems ridiculously obvious now. At the time, some people just thought that it was ridiculous.

But I was there to talk about the letter, and about using measurement to make sure things like foreign aid are doing the most possible to improve the lives of the poor. From there, I walked across Rockefeller Plaza over to the set of “Morning Joe” and got to spend some time with their panel talking about aid and effectiveness. Nick Kristof was on the show with me. He’s super smart about these issues, so I was happy to see him and hear what he was thinking, along with the other hosts.

Throughout the day, I kept running into Vice President Al Gore, who has a new book out, and was hitting some of the same shows. He was nice enough to give me a copy of his new book, titled The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. I actually got the first 30 pages of it read waiting in green rooms, so the next time I saw him, I could at least say I’d started it. He’d read part of my annual letter, so I returned the favor and passed him a paper copy of it.

I headed over to CNN to talk to Fareed Zakaria, who’s a very thoughtful guy on issues like poverty and global health. That will air on his show this Sunday. My last morning interview was with Charlie Rose for his PBS show. He’d clearly done his homework, and had read the letter end to end, which made the hour conversation go really quickly. Some of the topics in the letter are fairly complicated, so having the chance to talk things through and explore ideas is a real luxury.

I grabbed lunch, and then did a number of roundtables with journalists from Europe, India and Africa, which took up most of the afternoon. It’s really interesting talking to writers from the developing world, because these issues touch them incredibly directly. Where development and effective aid might be peripheral issues for many developed country papers, they are critically important in developing economies. I was happy to get the chance to talk to them—some in person, others by phone.

I closed out the day going over to the Colbert Report. Melinda did this show a while back and it was really great, so I was happy he invited me to come on. He really put me at ease—and it was a lot of fun.

Bill Gates and Stephen Colbert

Through all of this, I hope more people will look at the letter and the videos and interactive tools along with it. Even though it made for a long day, it was a great topic with people really interested in digging into the issues.

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