Once upon a time, Bill Gates Sr, the father, wanted my father, Blair, to teach him how to fly-fish. My Dad was known for his fly-fishing technique as well as tying some of the best flies to lure in those fish. Blair was also known as one of the nicest guys around. He was good company and back then, catch and release, only.
Tying flies was a hobby. I remember those elaborate feathers, green and blue peacock, dozens of colors spilling out of drawers with spools of wire and cloth lined up neatly below. All of it was stored in a closet on 4 legs, at least once a week he’d open up the doors and get lost in his tiny creations.
When I lived in London in the 80’s, I was friends with a writer named Charles Clover who wrote several books with Prince Charles on gardening like “Highgrove; A portrait of an estate”. Later on I would send him a couple of my father’s little creations; I like to think those flies got around.
One time my eldest brother had a dream. He was an artist and close with my father. They used to fish together and one night he dreamt up this fishing vest. So he made it and sold it through Starbucks at their first store located at Pike Place Market. I think he was also the first to sell high concept cards at the coffee shop. Each vest had it’s own life like fly. Detail being key.
Long ago, I used to practically live in the halls of Microsoft during my days of recruiting ‘techies’…those were good times and I was grateful for the tech boom – Microsoft provided a lot of opportunity and an awful lot of jobs.
So it’s sad to read the latest news about the son, for all the good he’s done apparently he’s made some very poor decisions.
However, with some bias, it’s safe to say his father made a good decision learning how to fly-fish with Blair Alexander.