I remember the first time I heard of Carlos Slim. Not the specific moment, nor where I was, or what I was doing — after all, it wasn’t 9/11* — just the feeling of shock when I learned that there was someone out there with more money than even Bill Gates.
Over time, I’ve slowly gotten used to the idea of his existence, as he and Gates (and Warren Buffett) have spent the past few years moving in and out of the top spot. As recently as the Forbes 2013 release, Slim came in first with $73 billion. But since those rankings were published, Microsoft shares are up 28% while Slim ran into some “regulatory troubles”,** and just last month, BG3 finally reclaimed his status as the world’s richest man for the first time since 2009.
Or so they say.
I’m here to take issue with this methodology. Gates is famously generous with his money, and has promised to give a large portion of his fortune to charitable causes, so it feels a little bit like cheating to count all the money in his bank account as his. More realistically, he’s a rich guy, but somewhere much farther down the list. Clearly, you just can’t trust Forbes.
So while it’s nice that the financial magazine collects all this information about people with way more money than they know what to do with, I prefer a different index of wealth: the Gates Generosity Guide. The GGG differs from Forbes in that it is based not on the size of any pile of cash, but on how much money moguls have done their best to give away.
And based on his latest effort to channel money to others, it would appear the Gates estate has fallen on tough times:
Bill Gates needs your help to raise money for fighting AIDS. As of the time of this writing, 9,696 people have RTed the message, earning The Global Fund exactly $9,696. Big money. Or, you know, what used to fall out of Gates’s mouth every time he flossed.
To gauge just how far Trey’s fallen, compare that desperate attempt to harness the crowd with the last time he got himself involved in the power of social media — or, at least, what passed for it at the time. Once was, Bill Gates spent all his time desperately trying to give money away, to the tune of hundreds of dollars per email. If you had an electronic mail account at any point between the late 90s and early 00s, you almost certainly remember what I’m talking about:
PLEEEEEEASE REEEEEAD! IT WAS ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA TODAY SHOW Read carefully…THIS TOOK TWO PAGES OF THE TUESDAY USA TODAY – IT IS FOR REAL
To all of my friends, I do not usually forward messages,
But this is from Pearlas Sandborn and she really is
If she says that this will work – It will work. After all,What have
you got to lose?
SORRY EVERYBODY.. JUST HAD TO TAKE THE CHANCE!!! I’m an
attorney, And I know the law. This thing is for real. Rest assured
AOL and Intel will follow through with their promises for
fear of facing a multimillion-dollar class action suit similar to the one filed by PepsiCo against General Electric not too long a go.
Dear Friends: Please do not take this for a junk letter.
Bill Gates sharing his fortune. If you ignore this, You will repent later .
Microsoft and AOL are now the largest Internet companies
and in an effort to make sure that Internet Explorer remains the
most widely used program, Microsoft and AOL are running an e-mail
When you forward this e-mail to friends, Microsoft can and will
track it (If you are a Microsoft Windows user) For a two weeks
For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay
you $245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on,
Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives
it, You will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact
you for your address and then send you a check.
Regards. Charles S Bailey Genera l Manager Field Operations
1-800-842-2332 Ext. 1085 or 904-1085 or RNX 292-1085
Thought this was a scam myself, But two weeks af ter receiving this e-mail and forwarding it on. Microsoft contacted me for my address and
within days, I received a check for $24, 800.00 . You need to respond
before the beta testing is over. If anyone can afford this, Bill gates is the man.
It’s all marketing expense to him. Please forward this to as many
people as possible. You are bound to get at least $10, 000.00
We’re not going to help them out with their e-mail beta test without
getting a little something for our time. My brother’s girlfriend got in
on this a few months ago. When I went to visit him for the Baylor/UT
game, she showed me her check. It was for the sum of $4, 324.44 and
was stamped ‘Paid I n Full’.
Social media come and go, but the chain letters remain forever.
*I remember exactly what I was doing: I was sleeping.
**He owns, like, every phone in Mexico.