The press in Canada has been full of articles about how Bill Gates thinks that if Canada and the US want to stay ahead, they should "focus on improving the quality of education and expanding the number of young people who study math and science in school". He wants us to create new computer scientists, engineers and researchers.
Academics like Roger Martin answered him in the Globe and Mail by saying that North America has its lead because of our great MBA schools (like The Rotman School of Business where he is Dean) and management studies and the creation of more managers.
And the debate rages about how we need more scientists, management students and other graduates. Even the politicians have been getting into the act by agreeing or disagreeing with Mr. Gates about how far behind we are or aren't, and how many more students we need.
I think that they are all wrong. What we really need is more Bill Gateses. We need entrepreneurs who are willing to "go for it", start new companies and create startups like Microsoft was not so long ago. Can you imagine if we could find the formula to create more people like Bill Gates?
As far as I remember, Mr. Gates dropped out of university. He was not a product of any MBA school or school of engineering. He did what he did because of his own drive to succeed, and a market environment that let a Microsoft be created.
Let's create an environment that lets entrepreneurs thrive. Let's help them however we can to get started.
On the other hand, if Mr. Gates succeeds in convincing us that we need more "scientists, engineers and researchers", imagine how many more copies of Windows he could sell...