The Time When 'Black Swan' Author Said Argument That Bill Gates Could've Been A Trillionaire Had He Held On To His Microsoft Shares Was 'Foolish, Ignorant'

“The Black Swan” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb criticized a Twitter post in January that said that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates would be a trillionaire currently had he not sold shares in the tech giant. 

What Happened: Taleb said, “The most dangerously foolish, ignorant, & probability blind argument. Just block this account. I mean, really, block.”

The post had made the argument that Gates would have been worth $1 trillion if he refrained from diversifying his portfolio and not become friends with Berkshire Hathaway CEO and legendary investor Warren Buffett.

Taleb used the hashtag “Fooled By Randomness” in his post, which is also the title of a book by him that centers around the unreliability of human knowledge.

Why It Matters: Gates owns about 1.3% of Microsoft, according to the company’s 2019 proxy filing, and his stake has not been reported in subsequent proxy filings, according to a profile created by Bloomberg.

In 2000, Gates’ Microsoft stake was over $100 billion, the same year he stepped down as the company’s CEO to focus on his philanthropic efforts, according to Bloomberg.

Gates’ wealth is reportedly sourced from Cascade Investment — a holding firm that was created from Microsoft stock sales and dividends.

Bloomberg data suggests that the billionaire has received more than $56 billion in stock and dividends from Microsoft and other companies.

Dogecoin DOGE/USD co-creator Billy Markus, too, had then reacted to the same post, and called Gates a “poor guy.”

This story was originally published on Jan. 16, 2023.

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Posted In: NewsSocial MediaGeneralBill GatesBilly MarkusICYMINassim Nicholas TalebThe Black SwanWarren Buffett
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