With Bill Gates in the news for announcing he and his wife Melinda, who got married on 1/1/1994 are getting divorced, I’m remind of an anecdote I’ve trotted out many times before about the arduous set of tests Gates devised to find his first wife.
Back in 1988, my wife and I were staying with a couple in Seattle. The husband used to work for me, but he’d gotten a great job at Microsoft. My wife asked his wife, “What shall we do tomorrow?” The poor girl broke into tears: “We can’t do anything with you. We have to go skydiving with Bill Gates and we’re going to die!”
It turned out that Gates wanted to try skydiving with his then-girlfriend, apparently as a test of whether she was worthy of being the mother of his children. But she had refused unless he could find another woman who would jump out of plane with her. So Gates looked through the list of new hires to find an ambitious married man (thus launching my friend’s fabulous career at Microsoft).
I got him to promise me that if Gates’ parachute didn’t open, he’d call me as soon as he landed so I could sell Microsoft short.