Bill Gates, the founder and former CEO of Microsoft, has dedicated his time and efforts toward running the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation has a significant endowment and is focused on solving a series of weighty global issues including poverty, health, and education. Each year, the foundation publishes a letter talking about their progress.
A few weeks ago, the 2013 letter from Bill Gates was released. The letter talks about the importance of “Measuring Progress” and starts with a discussion of an early micrometer (“the Lord Chancellor”) that was instrumental in the development of the steam age. Gates goes on to explain the importance of measurement and metrics for the work being funded by the foundation. As an example, one of their programs is to eradicate the spread of polio. Being able to track and measure were the last cases remained and a plan to eradicate these was critical on the path to wipe out this disease.