Thursday, March 19, 2015

Microsoft Ebola

I know, after reading the subject line, you are thinking that I have indeed gone completely insane.  But, there is a method to my madness, if you pardon the atrocious pun here ;)

Recall the names of the dudes who founded Microsoft?


Sure, you know that guy on the right as Bill Gates.  The co-founder?  Ok, ok, you know it is Paul Allen.  (Do you know the names of the two dudes who started Google?  Aha, I got you there!)

So, what about Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Ebola?  I told you that there is always a method to my madness.

In the NY Times, Gates had authored an op-ed:
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed more than 10,000 people. If anything good can come from this continuing tragedy, it is that Ebola can awaken the world to a sobering fact: We are simply not prepared to deal with a global epidemic.
More than 10,000 dead.  From a disease. Caused by a virus. Yet, we--in the US and the rest of the world as well--pretty much don't care.  Which is all the more why Gates reminds us even if we care not about the 10,000 dead, and the epidemic that continues to infect people, well, perhaps we will at least take notice if we think that we too might get affected by some global epidemic.
Of all the things that could kill more than 10 million people around the world in the coming years, by far the most likely is an epidemic. But it almost certainly won’t be Ebola. As awful as it is, Ebola spreads only through physical contact, and by the time patients can infect other people, they are already showing symptoms of the disease, which makes them relatively easy to identify.
Other diseases — flu, for example — spread through the air, and people can be infectious before they feel sick, which means that one person can infect many strangers just by going to a public place.
Are you listening now?
I believe that we can solve this problem, just as we’ve solved many others — with ingenuity and innovation.
As committed as he is to the cause, it requires more than well-funded nonprofit organizations and foundations.

Meanwhile, the other co-founder, Allen, has been spending on Ebola, according to this piece that the friend passed along to me:
Paul Allen reportedly began tracking the current Ebola outbreak before a lot of governments saw it as a serious threat because of his work on wildlife conservation in Africa. As well, Allen’s philanthropic focus has been shifting and expanding over the last few years to include new issues, which makes sense for a guy who has $17 billion, has signed the Giving Pledge, and isn't getting any younger. So, all in all, it wasn't so bizarre that Allen jumped into the Ebola crisis with a boatload of cash for frontline work to contain epidemic. 
Yep, the same Paul Allen who makes the road-tripping sports maniac all pumped up ;)
By late October, Allen had upped his commitment to $100 million, making it the largest private contribution to combat the Ebola crisis. Allen’s big give was surprising and a bit shocking because his previous philanthropy had never touched humanitarian or global health issues before.
Allen and Gates understand all too well that to fight Ebola means more than merely fighting the virus alone.  So,
Paul Allen is not going to pocket the unspent Ebola money now that people aren't dying anymore and move on to something else. On the contrary, he may dive deeper into the troubled healthcare systems of West Africa, spending even more money. 
Aren't you now happy that these two nerds founded a small little company called Microsoft?

If only the local business billionaire, who has more money than Allen, funded worthwhile causes like this instead of this!

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