“I actually thought that it would be a little confusing during the same period of your life to be in one meeting when you’re trying to make money, and then go to another meeting where you’re giving it away. I mean is it gonna erode your ability, you know, to make money? Are you gonna somehow get confused about what you’re trying to do?” — Bill Gates
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In this quote, Bill Gates is acknowledging the potential conflict or confusion that could arise from trying to both make and give away large amounts of money at the same time. He wonders if attending meetings focused on earning money, and then other meetings about philanthropic giving, within the same period of one’s life might blur the priorities or “erode” the ability to continue being financially successful.
Gates seems to be questioning whether it would be difficult to keep separate goals of accumulating wealth versus distributing it if those roles alternated rapidly within a short timeframe. The quote reflects Gates’ view that making money and giving it away may require some separation in order to avoid muddling the focus and intent behind each financial activity.