Gates Foundation

Now that I’m no longer working for Ascentium and seeing as how Warren Buffet is potentially giving $40B to the Gates Foundation it reminded me to put up my experience working for the Gates Foundation.

We did their 2005 Annual Report. This was a five person gig (1 Engagement Manager, 1 PM, 1 Code Monkey [that’d be me], 1 kick ass flash guy and a kick ass graphics designer). I would have bid this out at a week of work. It took 4 months. About 2 of those months pretty much fulltime.


Gates Foundation 2005 Annual Report wtih Flash intro

While I really respect what the Gates Foundation is doing I have to honestly say that they’re one of the most difficult clients I’ve ever worked with. A lot of this lies on Ascentium (I’d say a majority) and they way they ran this project but, for an organization whose work is largely for the third world, I was shocked at how uptight they were were about the smallest thing during this project. We redid all the content countless times, all the photos were swapped over and over again, most sections were rewritten numerous times, they complained about shades of color, pixel widths, html style, javascript, load times, css styles, roll over techiniques, timing of flash sequences – down to the milisecond, the use of “-” instead of the longer dash character that word uses, document dtd types, etc., etc.

I’ve had some picky clients in my day but they really set the bar for “are you fucking serious?”.

Keep that in mind if you’re thinking of donating some hours to a .org in the future.

That said – I think they absolutely kick ass for doing what they’re doing. Just seems strange that a group that’s asking vendors to cut their prices so that “more can go to the children” is this up tight about a financial report. I mean – 4 months for 5 people at Ascentium rates is an entire counties income in most of Africa. Having a part time staff just for your annual report seems absurd.