Bill Gates

The popular myth is that Bill Gates is a visionary. He foresaw his MS-DOS operating system as a goldmine, and he tricked IBM, the biggest computer company on earth, into letting him retain the copyright. Microsoft software still dominates the desktop more than 30 years after Gates helped launch the personal computer revolution.

This story fits with the widely-held notion that coming up with a "big idea" is what it takes to accomplish a lot, and become very wealthy.

Though most people I surveyed for my forthcoming book, Business Brilliant, also hold this belief, an important subset do not.

I recently came across a news article on Bill Gates’ testimony before the House Committee on Science and Technology, held on March 12. As part of the hearing, Gates requested the current 65,000 cap on H-1B visas—which allows that number of foreign workers to be legally employed at U.S. companies within a given year—be removed. He argued “the shortage of trained scientists and engineers had grown so severe [in the U.S.] that it required a dramatic increase in the number of highly skilled immigrants permitted to enter the country,” according to the Web site. Gates contended that “despite the excellence of America’s institutions

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