Voices

The wise knew the demise would be slow. Bill Gates gave newspapers another 50 years

Office romance: how Bill met Melinda

In summer 1986, freshly graduated from Duke University with a degree in computer science and economics, Melinda Ann French was working as an intern for IBM. She told a recruiter she had one more interview – with a new company called Microsoft. The recruiter was keen. "If you get a job offer from them," she said, "take it, because the chance for advancement there is terrific."

Tribal Wives, BBC2<br/>Dickens' Secret Lover, Channel 4<br/>Money Programme Special &ndash; Bill Gates: How a Geek Changed the World, BBC2

A workaholic with a traumatic childhood searches for answers among a remote tribe in Panama

Paperback: Microtrends, by Mark J Penn with E Kinney Zalesne

Mark J Penn has advised Hillary and Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and Tony Blair on the way the world is heading. Now he sees potential for a McDonald's of tattoos. With "standardised brand, safety assurances and national advertising", it "could double the market overnight". Doubtless to the horror of all parents of teenagers, Penn has the figures to back his hunch. In three years, the number of tattooed Americans has risen from 20 million to 30 million. Equally perplexing for some of us, the number of American adults who sleep less than six hours a night has crept up from 12 per cent in 1998 to 16 per cent in 2005. Penn specialises in the counter-intuitive. Though American women are on average 25 pounds heavier than they were 40 years ago, there has never been such demand for "petite" sizes (for women under 5ft 4in). Women are living longer, hence they are growing shorter, and new US immigrants, mostly Asian and Latino, are 2-3 inches shorter than the average American woman. A microtrend that involves 1 per cent of the population may seem insignificant, but Penn says we should be in no doubt about the potential power of such numbers. If al-Qa'ida persuaded 1 per cent of Muslims to join, it would have 10 million members. Marketers will read this book and politicians ought to.

Bono urges renewed focus on world poverty

The anti-poverty campaigner and rock star Bono has told participants at the World Economic Forum of his disappointment at the lack of commitment to the Millennium Development Goals of driving down poverty in Africa and raising partnership aid to $50bn (£25bn) per annum by 2010.

Davos: Wealth, power and a sprinkling of stardust

The World Economic Forum gathers in a small town in Switzerland tomorrow. Who will be there, and what's at stake? By Sean O'Grady

A mission to stop the spam army

With America braced for a weekend of computer mayhem, Clayton Hirst meets Bill Gates's commander-in-chief in the battle against junk emails

Charles Arthur On technology

'Windows wasn't designed with security - or, indeed, the internet - in mind. Its innards predate that use significantly'

The Truth about Markets by John Kay

Economics made easy - from Enron to Madonna

The Truth about Markets by John Kay

Economics made easy - from Enron to Madonna

Reverting to type?

Danny Bradbury asks if pen and screen will ever replace the keyboard

Flan Widdecombe

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