At the end of each year Bill Gates takes stock of his life and his work.
This year, Gates shared his thoughts with us on his blog, Gates Notes.
Every Christmas when I was a kid, my parents would send out a card with an update on what the family was up to. Dad’s law firm is growing, Mom’s volunteer work is going strong, the girls are doing well in school, Bill is a handful.
Some people think it is corny, but I like the tradition. These days, at the end of each year, I still enjoy taking stock of my work and personal life. What was I excited about? What could I have done better?
I thought I would share a few of these thoughts as 2018 concludes.
One thing that occurs to me is that the questions I am asking myself at age 63 are very different from the ones I would have asked when I was in my 20s.
Back then, an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?
Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.
Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.
Gates goes on to discuss his work on Alzheimer’s disease, polio, energy, gene editing and more.
But what struck me is what he asked in his twenties when he was building Microsoft with Paul Allen and Steve Balmer.
Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?
Not whether their software was better than others, whether they had met their development goals, not whether their sales exceeded last year’s or were they providing professional growth opportunities for their employees.
Simply, is our product, the fruits of our work, making the personal-computing dream come true for people? A dream that only Gates and and a few others could even see.
As my team members and I formulate goals for this year, I wonder if we shouldn’t be Gates-esque. “Is LexBlog’s blogging solution, all we do, making the blogging dream come true?
Goals of new customers, new partnerships, new products and new development seem to be making the “dream” come true.
Sure we offer publishing software beyond that used for blogging, but helping people achieve the blogging dream is what gets you up in the morning and the stuff that gives you goose bumps.
Most importantly, there’s no cop out. Are we or aren’t we making the legal blogging dream come true?
Start asking this and you start thinking of all the things LexBlog could do better, what my group at LexBlog could do better, and what I could personally do better to help the blogging dream come true for legal professionals – and the people they serve.
Far fetched? Maybe not. While practicing as a trial lawyer we measured success by the number of people we helped. And I went around asking my team could it ever get any better than working some place where our success is measured by helping people.
In another 360 days maybe we should be asking how did our product, our work product make the legal blogging dream come true.