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Nerdist Podcast: Bill Gates
Episode 627: Nerdist Podcast
Bill Gates
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: Bill Gates

Personal computing icon turned philanthropist Bill Gates has finally made it to the Nerdist! Chris, Matt, and Jonah caught up with Bill in Seattle to talk about how the digital revolution is turning your phone into a debit card, Bill’s earliest memories of the computer revolution, and how difficult it is to get a whole world behind eradicating disease. They also discuss the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and this year’s annual Gates Foundation Letter!

And as a special add-on to the podcast this week, Chris and crew spoke with Jay Wenger – director of the Gates Foundation’s polio eradication efforts and former CDC epidemiologist – and Julie Sunderland, director of program-related investments at the foundation. They talk about why improving global health is much more complicated than just throwing money at a problem, and if the former epidemiologist is afraid of zombies.


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  1. Dean says:

    I’m just imagining the guy in the background being a DM, railroading the conversation. “Can I talk to the locals about past events?” What kind? “World fairs? I rolled a nat 20.” No. They only know medicine and economics. “Aww, fine.”

  2. Valentina says:

    I loved the epidemologist’s opinion, by the way.

  3. Crystal says:

    You can see how far behind I am, but I just listened to the Bill Gates interview.  I was disappointed.  I have never done this, but when Gate’s handler interrupted the conversation and made Gate’s to look like a rude and unkind person I immediately deleted it.  This was one of the ones that I was looking forward to the most and am deeply saddened by the way things worked out.

  4. gabe says:

    wow that pr guy is a tool …. i wonder how many other big names have some handler follow them around and make sure the interviewer stays on subject.  

  5. James S says:

    Its taken 627 episodes for me to bother to even find the comments threads for these podcasts.
    Killjoy in the corner (the 20 minute man) should of been asked to leave the room or just shut the whole thing down. He wreaked it. I’m 18 mins past that point now and all I can think of is him. Every time Chris brings up a new question Im on edge as to whether its going to pass grumpy pants’ scrutiny.
    There have been a few episodes where Chris has been put on tilt buy guests or situations but this one has me, the listener, with a sour taste in my mouth.
    It would of been nice if Bill had tried to smooth it over and keep his employee in check.

  6. Merinna says:

    These interviews were cool enough and all, but it brought out all the worst things I dislike about “thought leaders.” Douche PR Guy being key, of course. But everybody talking about “the letter” like its some missive passed down from the grace of God… Julie Sunderland casually dropping how “brilliant” everybody she works with is and making it fairly clear that mostly her job description is to search out “geniuses” and throw money at them. TED-Talking types seem to worship at the altar of innovation like every problem is to be solved with out-of-the-box thinking and some gadget or another.  Jay Whenger was the best of these interviews but then he has specific svientific skills applied to a focused problem AND the grace to engage with Chris about topics we’d like to hear about (of course we wanna hear an epidemiologist sound off about the Zombie Apocalypse!).  Bill should be welcomed back any time he’d like to talk computers, I think. But I’m not really interested in his vision of the world just because he’s so goddamn rich. 

  7. Kandee says:

    I actually thought the 2nd half of the podcast with Jay & Julie was much more fascinating. 

  8. YQ says:

    Header photo obviously taken after…disappointed dead eyes plus I’m sure the “extras” were mandated by that azzz handler.  Skrew ’em all.

  9. YQ says:

    That kunt at 20 killed it.   Eff them and the foundation.

  10. Danielle says:

    Maybe (ok… definitely) it is because I work in public health, but I thought this was the worst episode of Nerdist I’ve ever heard.I listen to this podcast frequently, but I think Chris needed to be a little more humble and do research about the subjects that Bill Gates wanted to talk about. Yeah, that little henchman who interrupted Chris was rude, but when you are Bill Gates, you get to set the rules about what you talk about! It sounds like the Gates team was pretty clear about wanting to talk about health and innovations around development, yet Chris understandably kept trying to change the conversation to his own comfort zone. The questions he did ask about health and development were so clueless that it was clear to me he didn’t try to run his questions by someone who knows anything about the subject. Anyone who has been to a developing country in the last 5 years knows about mobile money!! They got the opportunity to interview Bill Gates, and he specifies that the interview is going to be about his foundation work, the onus was on the Nerdist team to do research and seek outside advice. I think it is a sign of arrogance to not immediately recognize that you might assistance in question writing if you’re asked to do an interview outside of your comfort zone, and you instead ask someone like Bill Gates to abandon the things he wanted to talk about.  This interview made me actively dislike Nerdist. 

  11. Chris says:

    Please try to get Bill Gates back on with a holder there so you all can keep talking without constraint. So good. Thanks!

  12. Andrew says:

    Ha! I just spent a good few minutes trying to figure out how to log in, assuming I needed to do that to post a comment too. I wondered why so many comments yet no upvotes!

  13. Andrew says:

    Yeah but if you could just focus on the Gates foundation.

  14. Ady says:

    I just stopped listening at that point. The foundation does great work- but I’m not looking to listen to an hour long commercial for it. Ugh.