I just got the this email inviting
me to a conference in Mexico to talk
about the future of the country. I
was very excited!
December 15, 1999
Dear Mr. Gates:
In view of your contribution to the
understanding of the world wide
dilemma between affluent and
impoverished societies and the
stimulating approach to reducing
the poverty gap contained your
innovative book The Ownership
Solution, I am writing to inform
you of our next significant event
and to invite you to be one of its
I was very, VERY excited! Even though
I knew I had been mistaken for the
OTHER Jeff Gates, I just knew I
could convince him of my value. His
The Paradigms or Paradoxes-Mexico's
imminent future event organized by
Pinnacle Communications will take
place from the 12 to the 14th of next
April, 2000. This world class event
will bring together some of the
world's top players from the corporate,
financial, political and scientific
fields and will focus on Mexico's
potential for future development as
it comes to terms with political and
social transition within an
increasingly globalized arena.
We have invited renowned figures as
speakers such as Mary McAleese, Carlos
Fuentes, James Wolfensohn John Elkins,
Bill Gates, John Naisbitt, Nelson
Mandela, Nicholas Negroponte, Mike
Moore, among others to present their
views. The speaker roster will also
include Mexico's main presidential
contenders (Mexican elections in July
2000) and from the U.S. President
Ernesto Zedillo has been invited. So
far, Bill Gates, John Elkins and Dr.
Lee Silver (Princeton Univ.,
researcher and leading authority on
molecular biology and genetic
engineering) have confirmed their
participation. In the following
weeks we expect confirmations from
many of our invited speakers,
including the CEO's of visionary
companies such as BP/Amoco, Hughes
Network Systems, Telmex and Inbursa
(both headed by Carlos Slim), Grupo
Pulsar (Alfonso Romo), Compaq,
What company! And with Bill Gates
coming, how could I go wrong?
Considering its focus, the issues
to be addressed and the stature
of speakers, Paradigms or Paradoxes
will be a world class event that
will also serve as a "wake up call"
for Mexico's business/scientific
community and the government
administration that will take
office next year. We are certain
that your presence will make add
enormously to its relevance.
Should you decide to honor us by
accepting our invitation, your
presentation would enable you to
transmit your valuable thoughts
and insights to a select audience
attending the event as well as to
wider media audiences.
I am attaching an event brochure
containing the objectives, dates,
program, and other relevant
information. We look forward to
hearing from you in the near future
and sincerely hope that your busy
schedule will allow you to accept
this invitation. We would, of course,
be honored to welcome you to Mexico.
True, I do have a busy schedule, but
a forum for my thoughts! I quickly
Thank you for your invitation to speak
at the Paradigms or Paradoxes conference
this April in Mexico City.
During my career as an artist I have
focused on issues I feel are important
to the understanding of multiple and
overlaying cultural values. It is an
honor to be asked to participate in
Interestingly, my country's political,
social, and economic future has also,
at times, seemed to be a hostage of
narrow-minded thinking and preconceived
notions. Artists have a way of
questioning many of these cultural
stumbling blocks. Yet, on numerous
occasions, rather than embrace the
processes, if not the results of our
work as examples of new ways of problem
solving, we have been held up as
examples of what some might call the
"moral slippery slope" of our society.
Very narrow indeed!
Given the globalization that you speak
of, I feel it is necessary to find new
and creative ways to tackle the issues
inherent in cultural progress.
I have written on many issues I think
might be excellent starting out points
for the discussions you wish to
initiate. You may see some of my work
at my web site: http://www.outtacontext.com.
To get to my writings, go directly to
I agree with your prospectus, in that
the key to success depends on the"how"
rather than just "what" is done to
accomplish our goals for the next century.
I am looking forward to discussing this
further with you.
It didn't take long for his response.
Jeffrey R. Gates, Jeffrey S. Gates.
I could see how someone might mistake us.
Dear Mr. Gates,
Somehow our e mail listings went awry.
Our intention was to contact Jeff Gates,
author of The Ownership Solution. Sorry
about the mistake.
Re. your e mail and web page, very
interesting points of view "cultural
stumbling blocks" (sic). We shall
certainly consider you for a future event.
Sincerely and wishing you a merry Xmas.
I had to make a few last points. So I
Dear Senor XXXXXXXX,
I, too, am sorry for the mix-up as I
was looking forward to participating in
your event. Artists have a lot to offer
a world in search of new paradigms. And,
we're a very under-utilized group of
It's not the first time my name and
looks have gotten me in trouble (take a
look at: http://www.outtacontext.com/
past7.html for some examples).
I get asked if I'm related to Bill all
You know, I just had a thought: wouldn't
it be fascinating to have Bill Gates,
the other Jeff Gates (I almost said "the
real Jeff Gates!") and myself on a panel
together to discuss the issues you are
interested in! We all seem to be forward
thinkers but I'm sure we see the future
in very different ways.
Should Jeff Gates decline your offer,
please keep me in mind.
Welcome Yes Men readers! For the latest
goings-on in the Outtacontext realm,
take a look at my Life Outtacontext.