From where did this Bill Gates quote originate?
October 15, 2008 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Source of Bill Gates quote? "If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on public relations." It feels like every article about PR uses this quotation but searching turns up no original article or speech. Alternate version subs in "PR" for "public relations." Please help!
posted by lhall to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
I can't find a source and have a hard time believing that there's any public pronouncements by Bill Gates that do not exist (in context) on the Internet, particularly a quote as pithy as this one. There are three results pages of this pull quote but no context, and all the results are from marketing or PR sources.

For that reason I think you should abandon your premise (the Gates provenance) and assume that this quote is an invention of some PR person somewhere.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:51 PM on October 15, 2008

This doesn't even sound remotely like Bill Gates, and none of the sites or articles online that quote him on this offer any source. Seems bogus.
posted by anildash at 4:22 PM on October 15, 2008

It sounds more like something the other Bill Gates would have said
posted by Lanark at 4:37 PM on October 15, 2008

I've also seen this quoted as "If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR" and as said by Microsoft's Vice President of Marketing, Kevin Johnson - not Bill Gates. Maybe doing some searching on Kevin Johnson would turn up something for you?
posted by katillathehun at 4:41 PM on October 15, 2008

The fact that you believe Bill Gates said this means that the power of PR is behind this quote.

I'm not being silly or facetious; the best PR works exactly like this. Don't be surprised if you end up finding lots of references to similar quotes scattered about and attributed to various people casually without cites.
posted by davejay at 10:33 PM on October 15, 2008

Very bogus. I'm a veteran of the old days, like Gates's letter to software pirates, and he's never said anything like this to my knowledge. He has said many controversial things and they are duly and easily sourced. But this seems to be someone's invention or mistaken attribution.

I can imagine a Gates critic believing he'd say this. I can imagine a marketing person believing this is good advice coming from one of the richest men in the world. I just can't imagine Bill Gates himself actually saying it. He would be more likely to extol innovation or engineering, even though Microsoft's marketing is second to none. It just fits the Gates-Microsoft narrative better.
posted by dhartung at 11:03 PM on October 15, 2008

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