Log out
My profile and settings
My bookmarks
Comment history
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
today
This verification token has expired.
today
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
today
Your account has been deactivated. Sign in to re-activate your account.
today
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
today
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
today
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.
today
0
0
Back to profile
Comment Items
You have not left any comments yet.
title
in reply to
name
description
Saved Posts
You haven’t bookmarked any posts yet.
“Only 44 percent of health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have uninterrupted access to oxygen.”
read more
Become a Gates Notes Insider
Sign up
Log out
Personal Information
Title
Mr
Mrs
Ms
Miss
Mx
Dr
Cancel
Save
This email is already registered
Cancel
Save
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Cancel
Save
Address
Cancel
Save
Email and Notification Settings
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
On
Off
Send me Gates Notes survey emails
On
Off
Send me the weekly Top of Mind newsletter
On
Off
Email me comment notifications
On
Off
On-screen comment notifications
On
Off
Interests
Select interests to personalize your profile and experience on Gates Notes.
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Alzheimer's
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Account Deactivation
Click the link below to begin the account deactivation process.
If you would like to permanently delete your Gates Notes account and remove it’s content, please send us a request here.
Intellectual Ventures
Inventing the Myhrvold Way
Nathan Myhrvold worked with me at Microsoft and went on to start Intellectual Ventures, which is inventing and investing in diverse fields including software, semiconductors, lasers, biotechnology, and medical devices.
|
0

One of the best hires I ever made at Microsoft was Nathan Myhrvold. He was a physicist who had started a software company that worked on something similar to an IBM product called TopView, but even better.

Nathan came to us when we bought his company to help strengthen our work for IBM. Ironically we never used the software that his company developed, but Nathan and his team made huge contributions to Microsoft.

He launched the research group at Microsoft and got it off to an amazing start. He brought in Rick Rashid to run Microsoft Research, which Rick does still today. After Nathan left Microsoft in 1999, he launched Intellectual Ventures, a new company that is building its business around inventions.

There are several different ways IV gets involved with inventions. They invest in the existing ideas of others, work with inventors to help them patent their ideas, and spend a considerable amount of time coming up with their own ideas through invention sessions.

It’s this last area where I’ve gotten involved. IV will pick a topic like surgery or plane engines and bring together experts in that field along with experts in software, physics, and many other areas to see if they can’t solve a difficult problem together.

When you bring people together for a day who have different backgrounds and who have done a lot of background reading to see what they can come up with, it’s amazing how their ideas fit together in new ways to solve tough problems.

The idea is to get companies to build products based on the ideas discussed in these sessions. For example, some ideas we discussed about a new way of doing nuclear power resulted, after a lot of work, in a spin-off company called TerraPower which was created to license the design.

IV has also done a lot of inventing related to energy efficiency and addressing climate problems.

These invention sessions have gone amazingly well. In the last few years, IV has added a laboratory that lets them actually build prototypes of some of the inventions in-house. You can take a video tour of the lab.

Seeing all the great scientists Nathan has pulled together, I asked if we could have our foundation bring forward some tough problems for invention. These inventions would not make money but would have the potential to improve human lives.

And so we’ve had sessions looking to solve problems in malaria prevention, vaccine delivery, and even on inventing new kinds of toilets for people who don’t have access to them today. We do these sessions about four times a year and a lot of great inventions are in process as a result.

One is a way of using cheap lasers to kill mosquitoes. Another is a super-thermos that keeps vaccines cold for a long time so you don’t need a refrigerator. Still another is a cheaper way of pasteurizing milk. There is also a group that is building software to model how diseases spread. This has the potential to make a huge difference in helping us plan how to stop them.

A couple of years ago, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article about the IV invention process in The New Yorker.

IV’s work is important and incredibly stimulating. Because of it I learn a lot and have a great time thinking about big problems that need solving with some of the smartest people around.

Read this next
NEXT
Comments
posting ...
Please verify your email in order to make comments. Click here to resend verification email
Sorry, duplicate comments are not allowed. 
Sorry, that HTML is not allowed. 
Sorry, something went wrong. 
In order to comment you must be a Gates Notes Insider. Please sign up or log in to continue. 
Be the first to leave a comment.
Comment Locked
Comments more than 2 months old are locked. For more information, contact us.
Report
Delete Comment?
Deleting this comment will remove replies to this comment by you and others as well. This action cannot be undone.
Delete Comment
Why do you want to report this comment?
It's annoying or not interesting
It's abusive and/or vulgar
It's spam
Report Comment
Your report has been submitted.
Close
Save
Cancel
Thanks for visiting the Gates Notes. We'd like your feedback.
Logout:


Become a Gates Notes Insider
Become a Gates Notes Insider
Join the Gates Notes community to get regular updates from Bill on key topics like global health and climate change, to access exclusive content, comment on stories, participate in giveaways, and more.
Already joined? Log in
Please send me updates from Breakthrough Energy on efforts to combat climate change.
On
Off
LOG IN
SIGN UP
Use your social account:
Or sign up with email:
Title
Mr
Mrs
Ms
Miss
Mx
Dr
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Why are we collecting this information? Gates Notes may send a welcome note or other exclusive Insider mail from time to time. Additionally, some campaigns and content may only be available to users in certain areas. Gates Notes will never share and distribute your information with external parties.
Bill may send you a welcome note or other exclusive Insider mail from time to time. We will never share your information.
Sign up
We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Sign Up" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
Street address
City
postal_town
State Zip code
administrative_area_level_2
Country
Data
Gates Notes Insider Sign Up FAQ

Q. How do I create a Gates Notes account?

A. There are three ways you can create a Gates Notes account:

  • Sign up with Facebook. We’ll never post to your Facebook account without your permission.
  • Sign up with Twitter. We’ll never post to your Twitter account without your permission.
  • Sign up with your email. Enter your email address during sign up. We’ll email you a link for verification.

Q. Will you ever post to my Facebook or Twitter accounts without my permission?

A. No, never.

Q. How do I sign up to receive email communications from my Gates Notes account?

A. In Account Settings, click the toggle switch next to “Send me updates from Bill Gates.”

Q. How will you use the Interests I select in Account Settings?

A. We will use them to choose the Suggested Reads that appear on your profile page.

BACK
Forgot your password?
Enter the email you used to sign up and a reset password link will be sent to you.
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Reset Password
Reset your password.
Set New Password
Your password has been reset. Please continue to the log in page.
Log in
Get emails from Bill Gates
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
On
Off
Email me comment notifications
On
Off
On-screen comment notifications
On
Off
This email is already registered
Finish
We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign up FAQ. By clicking "Continue" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
You're in!
You're in!
Please check your email and click the link provided to verify your account.
Didn't get an email from us? Resend verification email
Upload a profile picture
Choose image to upload
Uploading...
Uh Oh!
The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.
Ok
Title
Mr
Mrs
Ms
Miss
Mx
Dr
Cancel
Save
This email is already registered
Cancel
Save
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Email and notification settings
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
On
Off
Email me comment notifications
On
Off
On-screen comment notifications
On
Off
Select your interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Alzheimer's
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Finish
Confirm Account Deactivation
Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?
Deactivating your account will unsubscribe you from Gates Notes emails, and will remove your profile and account information from public view on the Gates Notes. Please allow for 24 hours for the deactivation to fully process. You can sign back in at any time to reactivate your account and restore its content.
Deactivate My Acccount
Go Back
Your Gates Notes account has been deactivated.
Come back anytime.
Welcome back
In order to unsubscribe you will need to sign-in to your Gates Notes Insider account
Once signed in just go to your Account Settings page and set your subscription options as desired.
Sign In
Request account deletion
We’re sorry to see you go. Your request may take a few days to process; we want to double check things before hitting the big red button. Requesting an account deletion will permanently remove all of your profile content. If you’ve changed your mind about deleting your account, you can always hit cancel and deactivate instead.
Submit
Cancel
Thank You! Your request has been sent