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"Happy birthday, Bill!" - Zuckerberg & Gates' Blossoming Bromance

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These days most of us leave the customary Facebook post on a friend's wall for their birthday. Often accompanied by a photo to show what good friends we are, whilst also giving a hint as to the cool, freewheeling lives that we lead. Even the big figures in tech are no different, with Mark Zuckerberg last Friday leaving Bill Gates a cute little birthday message. Except Zuck tagged Bill in a post on his own wall... faux pas dude!



Still, a nice gesture from Zuck on Gates' 61st birthday.

The two have been buddies for a while now, and it's perhaps natural for two of the real big dogs of tech to hang out. It's not only Zuckerberg that professes their friendship, with Gates recently mentioning it at an interview with Robert Perkins after a speech at Caltech. When asked if he realised that the next version of himself could have been in the audience, Gates quipped:

'Well, there is an irony that I went back to Harvard and gave a speech and Mark Zuckerberg was in the audience [laughs]. Now, I don't claim it had an influence on him, and he and I are good friends, but it was kind of a funny thing.' Zuckerberg has acknowledged that Bill Gates did of course have an influence on him, calling him his 'hero' a few years back.

Both have mixed business with pleasure over the years, with Microsoft investing $240 million in Facebook back in 2007. Facebook has also used Bing Maps and released apps on Windows. However, it hasn't been a complete love-in over time, with Facebook dropping Bing search, and buying failed Microsoft ad platform aQuantive before making Microsoft develop it for Windows phones anyway.

Regardless, Zuckerberg and Gates generally share a mutual admiration. The pair also both share a passion for philanthropy, with Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan establishing the Zuckerberg Chan Initiative in 2009 to create long-term investment schemes for education, renewable energy, environmental conservation, scientific research and healthcare, with Zuckerberg pledging that the couple would donate 99% of their Facebook shares to the initiative over time. Gates, of course, runs the longstanding Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, to similar ends. This kind of philanthropic devotion sets a laudable example, and it would be great if more billionaires follow suit with some of their voluminous spare change.

Overall, it's always heartwarming to watch a bromance bloom. They say never meet your heroes, but in this case it seems to have worked out quite well. I wonder if Zuck will post one of those little Facebook videos when it's their Friendversary.

With a masters in Literature, Sam inhales books and anything readable, spending his working hours reformulating the info he gathers into digestible articles. When not reading or writing, he likes to put his camera to work around the world, snapping street photography from Stockholm to Tokyo. Too much of this time spent in Japan teaching English has nurtured a weakness for sashimi, Japanese whisky, and robot cafés. Follow him @SamF_Songbird


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"Happy birthday, Bill!" - Zuckerberg & Gates' Blossoming Bromance Reviewed by Sam Franklin on Tuesday, November 01, 2016 Rating: 5

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