Bill Gates Really Wants You - Don't Trust Anyone Over 30

Just a quick follow up on Bill Gates's appearance yesterday at the University of Waterloo. It got good press here, and Tyler Hamilton of the Toronto Star had some interesting observations.

If you're old enough to understand the title of this posting, you'll know what I mean. As Tyler notes, Chairman Bill turns 50 this year, and Microsoft is now 30 years old. Those are notable milestones, and it makes you realize that MS has been around since the dawn of the PC, and is really an elder statesman rather than a firebrand startup. In the 60s, the mantra of "don't trust anyone over 30" said a lot about the generation gap that was reshaping American culture and values.

Well, it's starting to look a bit that way now with Microsoft. As I noted in yesterday's posting, Bill Gates is on a whistle-stop tour of major campuses that have been key feeders for Microsoft talent. It's not 1975 anymore, and Microsoft no doubt is starting to see there's now a generation gap between what's important to today's grads and the options they have now, compared to where Microsoft is on their radar. Microsoft was always the gold standard for grads looking for tech careers, but in the emerging world of Web 2.0, companies like Google are looking more and more like the companies of choice.

This just strikes me as another example of how the Internet is maturing into a platform that could eventually supplant software as the way we access and utilize PC applications. Bill Gates certainly sees this, and the tone of his address in Waterloo yesterday was all about how cool software is, and that this is the place to be. While this is the Microsoft world view, the bigger question is whether today's tech and engineering grads agree. The jury is out on that one, but it's clear that Google is giving them a serious run for the best and brightest.