Bill and Melinda Gates just released their Annual Letter on the work of their philanthropic foundation. I look forward to the Letter every year, because it offers such in-depth, data-driven, easy-to-understand perspectives on how the ultimate power couple is addressing some of the world’s toughest problems. To me, spending time with the Letter feels like taking a master class on economics, statistics, demographics, and public health.
But this year’s Letter is particularly powerful—and, truth be told, disconcerting. That’s because the world Bill and Melinda Gates describes seems completely at odds with the attitudes, priorities, and policies of Donald Trump and the new administration in Washington. I’m sure they did not intend their Letter to be read as some sort of political treatise, and I am not writing this to make a political statement. But for executives, technologists, and leaders of every stripe who want to build successful organizations and make a positive impact, it has to mean something when the two richest people on earth and the most powerful politician on earth see the world, its problems, and the best ways to solve them, in completely different ways.
Here, then, are a few things that Bill and Melinda Gates see that Donald Trump doesn’t.