Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Importance of exploring things on your own at a young age

Self-exploration is great, because you develop a sense of self-confidence and an identity of "Hey, I know this pretty well. I know this better than the teachers. Let me try and see if I can understand at the next level. Maybe I'm pretty good at this stuff." And particularly with the computer where if your program is wrong, you know you try it and if it doesn't work and then you fix it and try it again. It is kind of a feedback loop, which because the classroom has a lot of people, and maybe there is not a subject that you think you are good at or interested at. It is just fascinating to try and figure out the computer.

I remember at Computer Center Corporation they had hired in some of the great people of early computer days, including Bob Gruen, Dick Russell, a guy named Weir who was a Stanford guy. anyway, these guys would kind of loan us deep manuals on the system, just for a few hours and then take them away. So, we'd spend those few hours just reading carefully. It was so exciting to get a little glimpse and beginning to figure out how computers were built, and why they were expensive. I certainly think that having some dimension, when you're young, that you feel a mastery of, versus the other people around you is a very positive thing. And for me that came in several ways: the reading I was doing non-computer related; in Math. But computers, timewise, for many years was a key center of excitement.

~ William "Bill" Gates, inspiring interview to David Allison (DA), National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.