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[COMMUNITY] Scott Oki - Entrepeneur, Philanthropist and Family Man

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  • madchinaman
    Oki, Scott (b. 1948) and Laurie http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=7182 Scott and Laurie Oki took advantage of their great wealth amassed at
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 18, 2005
      Oki, Scott (b. 1948) and Laurie

      Scott and Laurie Oki took advantage of their great wealth amassed at
      Microsoft, Inc. to help their community. In addition to their
      philanthropic giving through The Oki Foundation, they are personally
      involved in many of the organizations they support. They have helped
      found a dozen non-profit entities including Children's Circle of
      Care, Social Venture Partners, and America's Foundation for Chess.
      The Seattle-King County Association of Realtors named Scott and
      Laurie Oki First Citizens of 1963 for their many civic and
      philanthropic contributions.

      Scott Oki grew up in a Japanese American family in Seattle and after
      service in the U.S. Air Force, he attended the University of
      Colorado. He started his own computer software company in San
      Francisco, then moved back to the Seattle area in 1982 to join
      Microsoft. Laurie Oki grew up in Denver, the daughter of a homemaker
      and an airline pilot.

      The Microsoft Years

      Scott Oki conceived and single-handedly built Microsoft's
      international operation. Within two years it was more profitable
      than Microsoft's domestic operation. Bill Gates then made him Vice
      President of Domestic Operations. According to the journal Asian
      American Business,

      "As the new vice president of sales, Oki quickly restructured
      Microsoft's operations by firing and laying off nearly half the
      existing sales and marketing force. Within five years Microsoft's
      revenues rose from $100 million to $1 billion while gross profit
      margins grew from 63% to over 80%, raising the U.S. division's pre-
      tax profits to 30%."

      Scott retired from Microsoft, Inc. in 1992 at age 43 as Senior Vice
      President for Sales, Marketing and Services, owning some one-half
      million shares of Microsoft stock. "I guess I took the easy road,"
      Oki told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2003. He felt, "no need
      to amass even more fortune." Laurie Oki left her position as
      Regional Sales Vice President for Ralph Lauren Fragrances.

      The Oki Foundation

      The Oki's dramatic increase in wealth made it possible (and
      advisable under tax laws) for them to endow the Oki Foundation. "We
      are so fortunate that things happened the way they did that we want
      to share it," Laurie told The Seattle Times in 1994. "If it can help
      one person, it is more than one person than before," Scott said. The
      Okis credited Mary Gates (mother of Scott Oki's boss at Microsoft)
      and Samuel Stroum (businessman and a major supporter of the arts as
      well as the Jewish Community Center) as models for community service
      and philanthropic giving.

      In 1993, Scott and Laurie showed their support for Children's
      Hospital and Regional Medical Center by pledging $1 million
      themselves and challenging others to contribute $10,000 each in what
      was called the Circle of Love. This planned-giving program was
      picked up by 21 other pediatric hospitals around North America as
      the Circle of Care to honor donors who give $10,000 a year to
      children's health care facilities.

      They have also given to King County children through organizations
      such as Children's Theatre, YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts
      of America, and numerous agencies supported by United Way of King
      County. Scott served as past President of the University of
      Washington Board of Regents and Chair of Children's Hospital
      Foundation. Laurie served as the President of Seattle Children's

      Even in a business venture, Scott Oki was philanthropic. He founded
      the new Seattle Sounders Soccer Club and then dedicated the profits,
      or 2 percent of the ticket sales, whichever was greater, to
      community youth programs. The Sounders helped support the Special
      Olympics and gave free Sounders tickets and soccer clinics to
      underprivileged youth. Other business ventures included seven golf
      courses and a Japanese restaurant in Seattle's Madison Park
      (designed by Laurie). Oki Developments manages the family's business

      In 1999, Scott made 380th on Forbe's list of wealthy Americans with
      an estimated fortune of $750 million. In 2002, the Seattle-King
      County Association of Realtors named Scott and Laurie Oki First
      Citizens of the year. In 2003, Scott found time to serve on 24
      different profit and not-for-profit boards, be the number one
      volunteer at the Oki Foundation, and play some golf.


      The generosity of 2002 First Citizens Scott and Laurie Oki inspires
      others to give
      Carol Tice
      Staff Writer

      Across Puget Sound and around the country, dozens of new programs
      and entirely new nonprofits have sprung from the fertile minds of
      creative philanthropists Scott and Laurie Oki.

      Not content to simply give generously to causes close to their
      hearts, the couple constantly seek ways to make their giving more

      Both drew inspiration early on from their parents. The Oki family
      tied and sold fishing flies in the winter and picked strawberries in
      the summer to make ends meet. Scott Oki remembers his father, Bob
      Oki, coming home from working at the post office to spend untold
      hours on the Imperial Drum and Bugle Corps he organized. Scott's
      mother, Kim, also poured hours into the Corps.

      "The work ethic, energy and perseverance to do (the Bugle Corps) on
      a volunteer basis had its mark on me," Scott Oki said.

      For Laurie Oki, it was her homemaker mom, Joyce, and airline pilot
      father, Joe Bellio. Joyce raised money for the Kidney Foundation and
      public broadcasting in their hometown of Denver, and Joe worked to
      bring medical care to rural Mexicans. Both volunteered at school and

      "I went to Catholic School, and you gave to the church, and were
      always volunteering," Laurie Oki said.

      There would be other mentors later, after Scott retired from a
      stellar career as the sales and marketing visionary at Microsoft
      Corp., and The Oki Foundation they started began to be
      philanthropically active. The Okis mention Mary Gates and Sam Stroum
      as two local civic lights who inspired them.

      Gates, mother of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, sat in the Oki home
      with Seattle Children's Hospital Foundation executive director Doug
      Picha in 1991 and asked the Okis to give Children's a $1 million
      matching grant that would help inspire other giving.

      "We had never even thought about giving away a quarter-of-a-million
      dollars," Laurie Oki recalled. "We had been giving $5,000, $10,000
      at a time. Within five minutes, we decided to do it."

      As it turned out, the Okis' gift helped raise $11.5 million, and it
      was the beginning of the Children's Circle of Care, a club for
      $10,000 donors. With this success, the Circle of Care spread from
      Seattle Children's Hospital to the 21 other children's hospitals
      around the country. Picha said the Circle today has 3,000 members
      nationwide and raised $122 million last year.

      The couple have dozens of children's causes they support together
      through their foundation. They also work together to choose causes
      that receive 100 percent of the profits from the baby-blanket
      business they started in 1993, Nanny and Webster. The business makes
      and sells baby blankets to generate funds for charity.

      With inspiration from noted Seattle philanthropist Sam Stroum, they
      endowed an ongoing book series at the University of Washington
      Press, the Scott & Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies.

      Laurie Oki retired from a career as a fragrance-industry executive
      when their first child was born. Now she counts the couple's three
      children as her top priority, and focuses her volunteer activities
      on regular participation at her children's school, and serving on
      one or two boards at a time.

      Right now it's America's Foundation for Chess and Seattle Children's
      Theatre, where the Okis have already given more than $1 million,
      said Theatre development director Molly Reed.

      Laurie Oki becomes board president of the theater in July. Tops on
      her agenda will be the theater's $20 million endowment campaign.
      Only $5 million has been raised so far and the economic slowdown has
      hurt, but Reed said Oki is up to the task.

      "When you have Laurie Oki coming in and asking, and she's already
      done more than her part, she stands on very solid ground," she
      said. "She and Scott are just so likable, and they truly believe in
      what they're doing. They strongly feel their current resources are a
      gift and a blessing, and they feel they have a strong obligation to
      give back to the community."

      Since leaving Microsoft, Scott Oki has launched a number of
      businesses - including, with Laurie, The Golf Club at Newcastle. He
      gives in a style befitting his personal mission statement: "To marry
      my passion for things entrepreneurial with things philanthropic in a
      way that encourages others to do the same."

      He's not only passionate, but multitasking. He's renowned for
      serving on a staggering number of boards at once - he's down to only
      10 right now, after years of 20 or so - and for being a driving
      force at each one.

      "I'm the guy that really wants to effect change," Scott Oki
      said. "In large part, nonprofits would be healthier if they operated
      more as for-profits - thinking creatively, doing due diligence, and
      learning how to become more self-sufficient. Helping them think more
      strategically is my strong suit. I feel good giving more to
      nonprofits I am intimately familiar with, where I'm actively
      involved in shaping their direction."

      Brian Redmond of the Chief Seattle Council of Boy Scouts of America
      said, "He commands a great deal of respect, because he's involved in
      a lot of different boards and has a good pulse on what's going on in
      the world of nonprofits."

      He described Oki as a tireless fund-raiser for the council's
      foundation, which Oki started. Last year, the foundation's auction
      and golf tournament was scheduled for Sept. 13, just two days after
      the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks, Redmond

      Oki had solicited many of the auction items; when turnout was light,
      Oki ended up bidding for the same items and taking many of them

      At the United Way of King County, Scott Oki teamed with Costco
      Wholesale Corp. CEO Jeff Brotman to create the Million Dollar
      Roundtable, a giving level - pledging at least $1 million to be
      given over five years - that had not previously been targeted.

      This summer, Oki and Brotman will host a first-ever thank-you event
      for some 50 Roundtable members in Sun Valley, Idaho.

      "Giving money is part of a bigger commitment to philanthropy for
      Scott, that involves his energy, his passion, his spending time
      building the capacity of agencies and making them the very best they
      can be," said United Way vice president Lynda Matthias. "He and
      Laurie do a lot of things together, and separately. But they're
      really partners in philanthropy."

      Other nonprofits tell similar stories - of the couple's commitment,
      of how Scott Oki helped start them, or of programs the couple helped
      shape. The groups Scott Oki has founded or co-founded include the
      Seattle Parks Foundation, Seattle Police Foundation, Chief Seattle
      Boy Scouts Foundation, the Pacific Northwest Ski and Snowboard
      Association, and with Laurie Oki, the Seattle Chess Foundation,
      which Scott Oki recently repositioned as America's Chess Foundation.

      Then there's the Japanese American Chamber of Commerce of Washington
      State. Oki founded the group, which has grown to 300 members and
      spun off two additional nonprofits under his tutelage.

      One spinoff - Executive Leadership Development - has been so
      successful at mentoring Japanese-American executives that its
      mission is now expanding to include all Asian managers. The second
      spinoff has been a labor of love for the whole Oki family - The
      Densho Project, which is digitally recording the stories of Japanese-
      American former World War II internees, a group that includes Oki's

      Perhaps best-known of Scott Oki's projects is Social Venture
      Partners. The Seattle venture-philanthropy group Oki co-founded with
      Paul Brainerd - who was named First Citizen in 1999 - has since
      inspired dozens of chapters around the country and in Canada.

      Brainerd had gotten advice from Oki on starting his own foundation,
      and never forgot Oki's generosity - and his sharp mind for nonprofit-
      sector innovation.

      "When Social Venture Partners came along, Scott was the first person
      I called," Brainerd said. "He was the one who really stepped up to
      the plate, got involved, served on the board and has been an active
      spokesman for SVP, doing national presentations."

      Picha, the Children's Hospital Foundation executive director, said
      of the Okis, "They have made philanthropy important, giving it time
      and attention, and the resulting impact speaks for itself. In some
      very direct and indirect ways they've had a very large influence in
      a lot of people's gift-giving. As a result, the community is a
      better place."



      The man who created Microsoft and its winning culture had the
      genius to hire highly effective people and turn them loose. The most
      spectacularly successful of Bill Gates's hires is a Japanese
      American named Scott D. Oki. He was only 43 when he retired from his
      job as Microsoft's senior vice-president of sales and marketing, but
      by then Oki had already spent a decade growing it into the world's
      leading software company.

      Upon being hired in 1982, Oki single-handedly conceived,
      started and built Microsoft's international operations. Within two
      years it was more profitable than Microsoft's U.S. operations. By
      1986 Gates knew that Oki's relentless dynamism was badly needed back
      home to save the company from certain disaster. As the new vice
      president of sales, Oki quickly restructured Microsoft's operations
      by firing and laying off nearly half the existing sales and
      marketing force. Within five years Microsoft's revenues rose from
      $100 million to $1 billion while gross profit margins grew from 63%
      to over 80%, raising the U.S. division's pre-tax profits to 30%.

      Oki's other biggest contribution to Microsoft's spectacular
      success may have been convincing Gates and the board of directors to
      center product development and marketing efforts around Windows
      instead of OS/2. By the time he retired Oki was overseeing 3,000

      The stock options Oki amassed during his decade at Microsoft
      lets him enjoy a full, fulfilling retirement. He splits his weekdays
      among his non-profit Oki Foundation, investing in hi-tech startups,
      and afternoon rounds of golf. Weekends and long ski vacations are
      reserved strictly for his wife Laurie and their two young sons.

      Scott D Oki was born October 5, 1948, three years after his
      father was released from Minedoka. Like his famous boss, Oki was
      born in Seattle, the eldest of three children. The elder Oki, a
      Nisei, was a strict father, instilling in Scott the discipline he
      would ultimately draw on to work 100-hour weeks during Microsoft's
      years of struggle. That discipline hadn't yet taken root when Oki
      began at the University of Washington. After squandering 18 months,
      Oki escaped into the Air Force and spent four years playing in its
      Colorado Springs percussion section. His off-duty hours were devoted
      to courses at the University of Colorado. By his discharge in 1974
      Oki had racked up almost enough credits for a BA in accounting and
      information systems. He graduated magna cum laude and earned an MBA
      a year later.

      He spent two unhappy years as a data-base programmer for a local
      direct-mail company before moving to Palo Alto to join a Hewlett-
      Packard startup division selling small business systems. In 1980 Oki
      and three fast-track friends secured venture capital to develop and
      sell turnkey office management systems for small medical practices.
      The venture failed but the experience Oki took away--what he
      calls "scar-tissue"--would serve him well at Microsoft.

      GoldSea: Did you know Bill Gates growing up?
      Scott Oki: Not at all. The first time Bill and I met was when they
      invited me up for a couple of interviews.

      GS: Did you have any interest in programming before you went to

      Oki: My dad always wanted me to be an electrical engineer. You know
      how parents are. They kind of have your life pre-defined for you. So
      going through high school, all my classes were very quantitative--
      calculus and all the advanced math classes, physics, chemistry and
      the sciences.

      GS: Was it the stereotypical Asian American thing or was your dad an

      Oki: No. He actually didn't finish college--internment got in the
      way of that.

      GS: What kind of kid were you?

      Oki: I listened to my parents, mostly my dad. You did what he said
      or you had hell to pay.

      GS: Did you fear him?

      Oki: He was definitely a disciplinarian.

      GS: What about your mom?

      Oki: Just the opposite. She was probably the stereotypical Japanese
      American wife.

      GS: Were you closer to your mom?

      Oki: I think I was pretty close to both. It's just that my father
      probably had more of a say in how we were reared.

      GS: Did you work to help support the family?

      Oki: We were lower-middle-income. It wasn't so much to support the
      family as it was to reinforce some fairly strong work ethics,
      everything from picking strawberries and blackberries in the summer
      to tieing tackle during winter.

      GS: How did you end up at the University of Colorado?

      Oki: It was during the Vietnam conflict. Rather than get drafted
      into the army I decided to enlist into the Air Force. I had a sweet
      deal, a guaranteed tour of duty at the Air Force Academy in the

      GS: What did you play?

      Oki: I was actually a saxophone player but I was a percussionist in
      the band. They didn't have any saxophone openings when I auditioned.

      GS: What did you do for two years before the air force?

      Oki: For the first 18 months I was at the University of Washington.

      GS: So you basically screwed around and went into the Air Force to
      save yourself?

      Oki: Yeah... You kind of know you're not on the right path and you'd
      better do something. It just so happened that I had received a low
      lottery number, so I knew I was a very likely candidate to get my
      draft notice. I actually received a draft notice and I said, Well, I
      really don't want to go over to Nam as a footsoldier. I basically
      figured out another way to satisfy the military commitment.

      GS: Was it for two years?

      Oki: Air Force was four years, but it was a guaranteed tour. You
      spend a little more time but you don't get shot at.

      GS: When did you start at the University of Colorado?

      Oki: I was going part-time while serving in the military, so by the
      time I had served my four years, I was about six credits shy of a
      bachelor's degree. I was spending most of my time actually going to
      school. Being in the band wasn't very demanding. I spent two hours a
      day practicing and the rest of the time was yours.

      GS: How did you come by a magna cum laude?

      Oki: Once I got to Colorado I kind of applied myself. I had always
      done well academically until I had started fooling around at the
      University of Washington and didn't attend class. It has a way of
      catching up with you. Reapplying myself and getting a bit more
      mature about my outlook on life and what I should be spending my
      time focusing on. Academics were always fairly easy for me.

      GS: Did you decide you wanted to be an accountant?

      Oki: I didn't know what I really wanted to do but everyone told me
      that having an accounting background was good from a business
      standpoint. Then I had a professor who talked me into pursuing a
      computer major also, which I did.

      GS: Then you went on to get an MBA in only one year?

      Oki: Yeah. I had notions probably early on of doing a CPA and
      getting out with one of the public accounting firms. Not knowing
      anything better, I decided to concentrate my elective credits of the
      MBA on the accounting. Then my professor got me interested in
      computers said, Here's a job. So he found me my first job. I really
      didn't have to interview.

      GS: At Looart Press. What did you do there?

      Oki: I was writing code. Data base applications.

      GS: How did you like that?

      Oki: I hated it. I didn't think I was particularly good at writing
      code. I certainly wasn't real passionate about it.

      GS: Not a Bill Gates?

      Oki: No, not at all. I pursued greener pastures and the Hewlett
      Packard thing opened up.

      GS: How did you hear about it?

      Oki: I applied. There was a fairly significant division in Colorado
      Springs. The previous outstanding graduate student who preceded me
      went to work for Hewlett Packard. I was also the outstanding
      graduate student, so she said, Why don't you come and interview at H-
      P and opened the doors there. It was a good company, known for
      having a good management development program. I said, What the heck,
      spend a few years there. It was a great experience.

      GS: Did you do anything noteworthy over there?

      Oki: I came in at a fairly entry-level sort of a position. How much
      can you do in four years with a company as big as H-P? I quickly
      transferred from Colorado Springs to a startup division, which for
      me was a great experience. I would describe myself as being very
      entrepreneurial. Going with a fresh new division where you're
      initially working out of not a garage but a warehouse and helping
      that division to grow and developing its first products, and on and
      on, it was really a phenomenal experience.

      GS: Were you selling mini-computers at H-P?

      Oki: They were mini-computers in today's sense. Back then PCs hadn't
      been invented yet. They were really the smallest commercial business
      system in H-P's product line. It was very state-of-the-art, leading-
      edge kind of technology.

      GS: What made you leave to start your own company?

      Oki: I was a little impatient. H-P's a great company but they want
      to take you along at their speed. I guess my speed was a little bit
      faster than their speed. I met a couple of guys, some Harvard MBAs,
      who also wanted to found a company. It was in the days when there
      was a lot of venture capital money chasing a lot of bad deals. So we
      said, What the heck, why not write a business plan and try to get
      some of that money that's being thrown around. We got funded with
      about three and a half million dollars.

      GS: How did that turn out?

      Oki: I left it when we started having a lot of friction between us
      and we couldn't agree on strategy, which is kind of easy to
      understand--four MBAs, all fairly intelligent, all opinionated. We
      couldn't agree on anything. So I left with one of the other
      founders. The other two stayed.

      GS: What was the source of friction?

      Oki: Strategy, raising second-round financing. Do you take a low-
      margin approach or a high-margin approach which the venture
      capitalist would want to see.

      GS: Was the company successful?

      Oki: It's hard to measure success as a startup. Are you achieving
      the plan? You could say that we were successful in terms of
      developing product and hiring people and opening offices and getting
      initial sales. Where I wouldn't judge it a success is that we
      weren't able to really raise the second round of financing which put
      a lot of cash flow pressures on the business. Roughly six months
      after I left it, it went into Chapter 11. I think it was Corning
      Glass that ultimately bought the company and took it out of Chapter

      GS: What interest did Corning Glass have in purchasing a company
      developing medical office systems?

      Oki: It was a very diversified company. They had a division that was
      doing medical systems and the Sequoia Group fit in very well with
      their product mix and their strategy.

      GS: Did you go to Microsoft right after that?

      Oki: No, I did some consulting. Not for very long, but I did some
      consulting with MicroPro which was absolutely the star back in the
      early days with the word processor called WordStar. I was doing some
      very high-level strategic consulting for Seymour Rubinstein, its
      president and founder.

      GS: You mean marketing consulting?

      Oki: It was everything from product strategy to business planning to
      just overall strategic direction. It was almost a carte blanche in
      terms of doing some typical Boston Consulting Group kind of

      GS: What part of 1982 did you start at Microsoft?

      Oki: I started in March.

      GS: How did you get in touch with Bill Gates?

      Oki: Just a letter.

      GS: You sent him a letter?

      Oki: Yep. Bill saw it and passed it onto Steve Ballmer who at that
      time was vice-president of corporate staffing. I think that was his
      title. As it turns out [Steve and I] had a mutual friend--talk about
      serendipity--who had been talking to Steve about this Sequoia group
      and Steve noted that on my resume and said, God, I wonder if this is
      the same company. He called this mutual friend and sure enough it
      was the same company, and do you know this Scott Oki guy? It so
      happened that I got a good referral, and so they invited me for some

      GS: How was your first interview with Bill Gates?

      Oki: It was good. It was a non-traditional kind of interview. I had
      been the product manager for the BASIC language that was running on
      the Hewlett Packard machine while at H-P and since Bill obviously
      knew quite a bit about BASIC, it was more Bill telling me about this
      BASIC that was on the H-P machine than it was an interview. We
      seemed to hit it off and I ended up interviewing with what seemed
      like 20 different people, two different trips. Having run the
      gauntlet, they finally offered me a position.

      GS: He's seven years younger than you. What was your first
      impression of him?

      Oki: Same impression most people would have--high energy, very
      smart, very focused individual.

      GS: You weren't thinking, This kid is so young looking, should I be
      going to work for him?

      Oki: No, not at all. One of the things you learn from experience is
      that IQ and having the intellectual bandwidth to do things is
      equally, if not more, important than having a lot of grey hairs.

      GS: When did he make an offer?

      Oki: Fairly quickly, a couple of days after we had concluded the

      GS: Why did he put you in charge of the international operations?

      Oki: He didn't. When I first got hired, it was a weird title,
      marketing manager, special accounts. Those accounts were IBM and
      Microsoft's largest distributor and ASCII in Japan.

      GS: Those were their biggest accounts. Why did he give you their
      most important accounts?

      Oki: Maybe they had no one else to give it to. I have no idea. The
      company was reasonably small and I was one of the early business

      GS: How many people were working then?

      Oki: About a hundred, but 90% of them were engineers, developers.

      GS: And most were focused on the IBM system?

      Oki: Everything from IBM to writing BASIC compilers, COBOL compilers
      and FORTRAN, PASCAL... They were doing a lot of language business.

      GS: Was MS-DOS a success then?

      Oki: The IBM PC didn't ship until April.

      GS: When did Gates put you in charge of international?

      Oki: I took 30 days to figure out the opportunities of the company
      and said, It's impossible for one person to pay attention to those
      large accounts. I can do that but I don't think I can do it very
      well. You've got a huge opportunity here no one is paying attention
      to which is called international. So I wrote a business plan and
      said, I need a million dollars. I'm going to open up three
      subsidiaries in Europe and manage the relationship in Japan and if
      there's money left over, we'll do other things. Bill said, Okay, go
      do your thing. It sounds trite but the rest is history.

      GS: So you were basically an entrepreneur.

      Oki: They're all startups. Every country is a new startup, different
      culture, different people, different business variables you have to
      deal with, different everything.

      GS: At that time, what were the biggest products you were selling?

      Oki: It was predominantly language compilers--BASIC being a big part
      of that--and starting to try to convince the international companies
      that they should adopt MS-DOS as the operating system standard. The
      rule of thumb back in those days was, If you kind of do what IBM is
      doing, they'll kill you. The thinking entrenched in both Japan and
      Europe, which were two very significant markets, was, if IBM is
      licensing MS-DOS, I guess we better license something else, and that
      something else was usually CP/M 86.

      GS: The one Gates had originally written compilers for?

      Oki: Right. So it was a real struggle but we finally won.

      GS: What turned the tide?

      Oki: I guess good salesmanship.

      GS: Were you personally going and selling these accounts?

      Oki: Every single one of them.

      GS: So you were basically living in Japan and Europe.

      Oki: I was living on an airplane.

      GS: Did Microsoft have the resources to undertake that?

      Oki: My business plan said give me a million dollars and that's all
      I'll need. Through a lot of dumb luck, I didn't need to come back
      and plead for more money, and we were managing to accomplish what I
      said we would accomplish. It was one of those things, we were just
      very fortunate these license agreements were signed and cash started
      coming in and we were able to grow the international business by
      having a million dollars worth of bootstrapping.

      GS: You were a Microsoft hero, a cash cow for Gates.

      Oki: Oh, absolutely.

      GS: What was his reaction to all this success?

      Oki: Obviously, you get more stock options and you get promoted. All
      that happened.

      GS: Did you have to ask or did he just give it?

      Oki: A little of both. You can't be shy about asking for anything. I
      certainly wasn't shy about asking for more stock options. I did
      something smart. I basically said, Look, don't give me an increase
      in salary, I'll take it in options. It turned out to be a smart

      GS: Were you one of the top few option holders when the company went

      Oki: I certainly had enough to make me comfortable for the rest of
      my life.

      GS: You could have cashed out at any time after 87 or 88?

      Oki: Yes, and no. Since you're getting constant stock options, kind
      of an evergreen plan, they serve as golden handcuffs. You always
      have a certain amount of options that are invested. When I retired I
      left behind a lot of the options on the table at the time. I didn't
      need them. You only need so much money to feel comfortable

      GS: How much did you leave with?

      Oki: If I had to guess, the amount of options I left on the table
      today represents about $10 million dollars.

      GS: You must have cashed in quite a bit more than that.

      Oki: Oh, sure, yeah.

      GS: Give us a ballpark. Is it $100 million?

      Oki: [A long pause] You could say that, sure. Ballparkish.

      GS: Getting back to your job as head of international operations. No
      one told you what to do, you just basically did whatever you wanted,
      and hired whoever you wanted to run each of the countries?

      Oki: Yeah.

      GS: What was your interaction with [ASCII founder and a Gates pal]
      Kazuhiko Nishi? Did you work with him?

      Oki: Oh, sure, but Kay and Bill also have a very close personal
      relationship. They still do.


      PAGE 6 of 10

      GS: Did you have to ask or did he just give it?

      Oki: A little of both. You can't be shy about asking for anything. I
      certainly wasn't shy about asking for more stock options. I did
      something smart. I basically said, Look, don't give me an increase
      in salary, I'll take it in options. It turned out to be a smart

      GS: Were you one of the top few option holders when the company went

      Oki: I certainly had enough to make me comfortable for the rest of
      my life.

      GS: You could have cashed out at any time after 87 or 88?

      Oki: Yes, and no. Since you're getting constant stock options, kind
      of an evergreen plan, they serve as golden handcuffs. You always
      have a certain amount of options that are invested. When I retired I
      left behind a lot of the options on the table at the time. I didn't
      need them. You only need so much money to feel comfortable

      GS: How much did you leave with?

      Oki: If I had to guess, the amount of options I left on the table
      today represents about $10 million dollars.

      GS: You must have cashed in quite a bit more than that.

      Oki: Oh, sure, yeah.

      GS: Give us a ballpark. Is it $100 million?

      Oki: [A long pause] You could say that, sure. Ballparkish.

      GS: Getting back to your job as head of international operations. No
      one told you what to do, you just basically did whatever you wanted,
      and hired whoever you wanted to run each of the countries?

      Oki: Yeah.

      GS: What was your interaction with [ASCII founder and a Gates pal]
      Kazuhiko Nishi? Did you work with him?

      Oki: Oh, sure, but Kay and Bill also have a very close personal
      relationship. They still do.




      GS: Even now after Gates said all those nasty things about him?

      Oki: Yeah. Kay was in Bill's wedding party and... They're still

      GS: Gates once accused Nishi of being jealous because he was worth
      negative half a million while Gates was worth X millions.

      Oki: Kay is very creative--again a very high-IQ individual. But I
      would describe him as random, a loose cannon on ship. He was doing
      things I didn't think were in the best interest of Microsoft, like
      spending a million dollars on a [statue of a] dynosaur. Things like
      that didn't sit very well with me. Over time I finally was able to
      convince Bill to divorce ASCII and start our own wholly-owned
      subsidiary in Japan.

      GS: Did you have the same personal relationship with Gates that
      Nishi did?

      Oki: Oh, no, no. Very different.

      GS: So yours is a purely professional relationship.

      Oki: That's probably a pretty apt description of that. I mean, it
      wasn't solely professional. Bill was in my wedding party. We still
      see each other socially.

      GS: Did you have any personal conflicts?

      Oki: Not really. I think he was very disappointed when I decided to

      GS: What was the reason for your deciding to retire at the tender
      age of 43?

      Oki: During the 10 years I was at Microsoft, a number of things
      happened. I got married, I had two kids. In the early years of
      Microsoft... Hell, the first three years, I worked every day--never
      took a day off. Well, I took one day off in three years. You can't
      do that, work 100-hour weeks. I suppose you can if you don't want a
      family life, but having started the family, it became fairly
      important. It got to the point where if I was late at the office,
      I'd feel guilty about not being home, and when I was home, I was
      feeling guilty I wasn't in the office. I just have a very strong
      management philosophy called management by example. If I expect my
      people to work 100-hour weeks, I should be in there working 100-hour

      GS: At a point, you were generating more profits from international
      operations than US operations.

      Oki: Absolutely, there's no question about that.

      GS: Can you give us the numbers for say back in 86 when you were
      moved home to head up marketing?

      Oki: I can't give you absolute numbers, but I can give you the
      reason why that statement is true. The OEM business was largely
      offshore and the OEM business was hugely profitable. We're talking
      about before-tax profit margins of 60%, and higher. It was just
      obscenely profitable. Most of those volume deals were with offshore
      manufacturers from Japan and Europe.

      GS: This is packaged software that would be sold in boxes on
      shelves, not stuff in corporate computers?

      Oki: It was a little of both. It was both the operating systems you
      would have OEM license agreements with, but also we were very
      successful in getting the international PC manufacturers to also
      license our applications like Multiplan and Word and Chart, and
      ultimately Excel. We were able to get them to license at royalty
      rates an order of magnitude higher than what we could get in the
      United States.

      GS: Why bring you to the states when you were doing so well

      Oki: The states was not profitable, and [there were] huge problems.
      He wanted me to fix them.

      GS: What were the biggest problems you dealt with?

      Oki: It all starts with people. One of the benefits I had with
      international was that I hired everyone. I made sure they were
      smart, I made sure that they had a very high work ethic, I made sure
      they were passionate about what they were doing. I made sure they
      were totally committed to the mission of Microsoft. Inheriting a
      division that was really floundering, you have whole different set
      of variables to work with. It really is kind of fixing some very
      major problems. When I inherited the division we had 26 sales
      offices in the U.S. I ended up closing half of those, laying off a
      lot of people, firing a lot of people, just basic restructuring.

      GS: Sounds like you weren¹t doing marketing so much as being the COO
      [chief operating officer].

      Oki: Absolutely, very similar to international. I was the guy that
      was running things in the U.S. from a sales and marketing standpoint.


      PAGE 8 of 10

      GS: What was the interface between John Shirley's role as president
      and your role?

      Oki: Everyone has to report some place, so everyone reported to

      GS: You had the authority to lay off and hire people?

      Oki: Yeah.

      GS: Isn't it a bit odd to have someone in charge of marketing
      restructuring the organization?

      Oki: Well, no. The sales offices were under my area of

      GS: What effect did your changes have on Microsoft's U.S.

      Oki: We became profitable.

      GS: What specific changes did you make?

      Oki: Putting in place good management, number one. Getting rid of
      people that were really not consistent with the culture of Microsoft
      and hiring people who were. Getting creative in terms of how we
      could get the foot soldiers out in the field and not totally distort
      the business model so that in fact we could achieve the profit
      target we had. There were a lot of things we did. By that time we
      were very heavily a packaged goods company, selling shrink-wrapped
      product in retail outlets. That¹s a very different business than
      licensing software to hardware manufacturers. When I inherited the
      division, the cost of goods was totally out of control. We went on a
      crusade to get cost of goods sold below 20% and we achieved that.
      Within a year that provided 20 points of gross profit margin to do
      other things with.

      GS: Tell us about the channel marketing strategy you adopted for

      Oki: That entailed everything from rebate schemes to how marketing
      funds got applied to the channel players--the retail outlets and the
      distributors carrying product. It's a discount structure, it's a lot
      of things in terms of getting them to focus on your products versus
      your competitors' products.

      GS: Is marriage another reason for the change?

      Oki: No, I was always based out of Seattle. When I say I lived on an
      airplane, I literally lived on an airplane, I was constantly flying.
      One year I was Pan Am's number one frequent flyer.

      GS: When did you get married?

      Oki: When I was 40.

      GS: How did you meet your wife?

      Oki: My sister-in-law was working for her. She set us up on a blind

      GS: Is she Japanese American?

      Oki: Yeah... Oh you mean my wife? My sister in law is Japanese
      American. My wife is not, she's caucasian.

      GS: What are your sons' names?

      Oki: Alexander and Nicolas.

      GS: What was your final title?

      Oki: Senior vice president, sales, marketing and service.

      GS: What was Gates's reaction when you said you were resigning?

      Oki: He was resigned to the fact that I was resigning.

      GS: You had been bringing it up for some time?

      Oki: Yeah, but I guess it didn't really register until he got the
      letter. We talked about it. I said, Look, it's time. There's nothing
      you can say or do to keep me. I would be doing a disservice to the
      company. I can't be married to Microsoft and be married to my wife.

      GS: Did your wife play a role in your decision to leave?

      Oki: None at all. It was my decision. In fact I think Laurie
      probably wanted me to stay working, but it was just time. There was
      probably a little bit of a burnout factor, although not a lot. You
      put in 10 really hard years, and when you have two kids and you
      start thinking about how you want to spend time with them and have
      the flexibility of doing various things--it¹s just a hard thing to
      deal with. I think some people deal with it a lot better than I do.

      GS: Is retirement what you expected it to be?

      Oki: No, not at all. When I say I'm busier than when I was at
      Microsoft, that's largely true. I'm on 18 non-profit boards and 8
      for-profit boards and I'm a venture capitalist and invest in a lot
      of hi-tech startups. I'm involved in a lot of different things. So
      I'm far busier now certainly on a diversity scale than I was at
      Microsoft. There's not the same level of pressure. I don't have
      anyone to report to. I'm my own boss and I call the shots, but I've
      gotten myself a little unbalanced again. I'll get back into balance
      in a few years.

      GS: What are some of the passions driving you now?

      Oki: Doing something for the community, that's certainly a passion
      of mine.

      GS: Specifically, what do you devote a lot of time to?

      Oki: Children's health and welfare issues, largely, the Oki
      foundation. The organizations that benefit from our philanthropy
      focus on children's health and welfare issues. I wouldn't be sitting
      on 18 non-profit boards if I wasn't passionate about doing something
      to give back to the community. That's a big part of it. The other
      things is, I'm very passinate about golf. I'm a lousy golfer but
      it's gotten me involved in developing golf courses.

      GS: In what area?

      Oki: Up here in the Seattle area.

      GS: What's your handicap?

      Oki: It continues to go up. I'm now a 13.

      GS: Certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

      Oki: Two years ago, just after I retired, it was a 9. It's gotten
      progressively worse.

      GS: Where do you ski?

      Oki: In Vail, Colorado. We have a home in Vail.

      GS: What's your typical daily routine?

      Oki: There is no typical daily routine. I'm a morning person so I
      get up fairly early. I'll be in the office by seven. Not every day,
      but most days. I like to take care of most of the phone calls and
      meetings in the morning so I can free up the afternoons to go hit a
      few balls.

      GS: Do you work five days a week?

      Oki: I probably work five days. I don't work weekends any more, so
      that's nice.

      GS: Do you spend much time with your wife and kids?

      Oki: It's different kind of time. Now we'll spend two months in the
      winter skiing in Vail. And we'll take the kids over to France for a
      month. Then we're going to Italy for three weeks. Weekends are now
      family time. I don't play golf on the weekends. I don't work on the
      weekends, so that's very high-quality family time. That's something
      I was never able to do while I was at Microsoft.

      GS: Do you see a time when you might be persuaded to go back to work
      for a computer company?

      Oki: No, no, no.

      GS: Not ever?

      Oki: No. I guess you should never say never, but no, I don't see
      that in the cards.

      GS: What role did your ethnicity play in your career?

      Oki: With Microsoft, none. Zero. Microsoft is still very much a
      meritocracy. People get ahead by how smart they are, how dedicated
      they are, accomplishments. It has nothing to do with whether you
      have green hair or wear shoes to work. It's very much a meritocracy

      GS: What would you point to as the thing that made you so

      Oki: Having built up some scar tissue starting my own software
      company. That was a real eye-opener for me. You can take all the
      classes you can possibly take, you can graduate with honors, you can
      get an MBA, but I tell you, real life is quite different. For me, a
      lot of things just converged to make the pot of soup come out
      tasting pretty well. It was everything from being involved with a
      company that happened to have the right kind of products at the
      right time, me being opportunistic and identifying the international
      as a huge opportunity, having the total flexibility to do whatever I
      wanted to do in the international arena. No one was looking over my
      shoulders. I delivered the results. As the results came in, more and
      more resources got freed up. So success breeds success. I guess
      timing is everything. I guess I benefitted from a lot of good

      GS: Some quality of Scott Oki must have contributed.

      Oki: Oh, I'm pretty maniacal in terms of work ethic. Maybe that was
      because I was picking strawberries 12 hours a day, I don't know.
      Certainly that level of discipline and not being afraid to work hard
      and being very focused probably had something to do with it. I'm not
      the smartest person in the world but I'm not the dumbest either. I
      tend to know what I don't know. I don't know something, I gotta
      figure out how to learn about it. Take international. Had I ever
      done anything international before from a business standpoint? No.
      Talk about wet behind the ears, that was me. I knew nothing about
      international. But I applied myself and learned about how to set up
      companies internationally.

      I've always been a fairly good reader of people. First impression, I
      can usually figure out, Is this person smart? Is he committed?
      Motivated for the right reasons? Is the chemistry going to work?
      People--that really is everything. And I was very lucky in terms of
      hiring some world-class people. Many of them are still at Microsoft.
      Many of them are in positions of huge responsibility now. I take a
      lot of pride in having hired a lot of those individuals. Not only
      hired but also indoctrinated them to the Microsoft way and trained
      them and made sure they had the right cultural values.
      GS: Now that you're no longer at Microsoft, are there times when
      you'd like to step in?

      Oki: No, no, no.

      GS: You have no remorse about leaving?

      Oki: No, not at all, not for a second. When I closed that chapter of
      my life, it was closed.

      GS: Any advice you want to give Gates?

      Oki: Last time I saw Bill was a couple of weeks ago. I told him I
      thought the last ad campaign was pretty braindead, a waste of money.

      GS: What did he say to that?

      Oki: He said, Well, yeah, okay, what would you do? So we talked
      about that. But I'm not involved in the company at all. I still have
      a lot of friends there. I cheer them on from the sidelines. A great
      deal of my net worth is still tied to the company.


      Scott Oki

      computer executive
      Born: 1948
      Birthplace: Seattle, Wash.

      Born to a Japanese-American family, Oki attended the University of
      Washington, leaving after 18 months to join the Air Force. While in
      the service he took courses at the University of Colorado. After he
      left the service in 1974, he went on to receive a B.A. in accounting
      and information systems. He earned an M.B.A. the following year.
      After holding several computer-oriented jobs, Oki and some friends
      founded a firm to develop and sell management systems in 1980. After
      that failed, he went to work for Microsoft in 1982. Oki built
      Microsoft's international operations and was named vice president of
      sales and marketing. Within five years the company's sales rose to
      $1 billion from $100 million. However, the price for his success was
      high. Oki worked 100-hour weeks and took only one day off during one
      three year period. When he retired in 1992 after 10 years with
      Microsoft, Oki reportedly cashed in stock options estimated at $100
      million. He now runs the non-profit Oki Foundation, owns several
      golf courses, and spends time with his family.


      A moment with ... philanthropist and entrepreneur Scott Oki

      At 43, Scott Oki had it all: tens of millions of dollars in
      Microsoft Corp. stock, corporate power and a growing family, all as
      the architect of the company's international sales empire.

      So, of course, it was time for a change.

      Oki walked away from the world's hottest company to start a new
      career in golf and charity.

      Today, Oki sits atop his own kingdom, encompassing five golf
      courses, a soccer team and a smattering of high-tech firms but
      dominated by his charitable work, The Oki Foundation.

      The Seattle Post-Intelligencer caught up with Oki as he worked on
      his game at the jewel of his golf holdings, The Golf Club at

      On his decision to leave Microsoft in 1992:

      "I guess I took the easy road."

      There was "no desire to amass even more fortune."

      "It was actually a very easy decision for me to make." (Oki still
      cracked Forbes magazine's wealthiest 400 U.S. citizens in 1999,
      placing 380th with $750 million.)

      On working at Microsoft, where Oki helped define its "maniacal work

      You need "people who have large batteries, who don't need a lot of

      On his current professional life:

      "It really has nothing to do with golf. It's just something that I
      play around with."

      The Oki Foundation, a non-profit: "That is what I spend time on."

      "Everyone has kind of built their silos ... no one is kind of
      putting the separate silos together to solve the problem" of

      On the local golf business: "It's definitely a buyer's market."

      "We are always looking to acquire more golf courses."

      "They all want a lot more money than they are worth. ... So, we are

      On his own golf game:

      Money club: "My putter."

      Favorite golf course: Augusta National.

      Handicap: 11 to 14, currently a 12.


      Scott Oki, Oki Developments, Inc.

      Scott is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Oki Developments, Inc. and
      is a professed entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist and
      community activist. His personal mission statement is "to marry my
      passion for things entrepreneurial with things philanthropic in a
      way that encourages others to do the same." Prior to founding Oki
      Developments, Inc., Scott retired after 10 years with Microsoft
      Corporation where he served in a variety of executive positions.
      Scott serves on dozens of advisory boards and boards of directors
      for both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. He has founded
      or co-founded more than a dozen not-for-profit organizations.

      William (Bill) Kazuo Bryant, Mobile Operandi
      Bill is a sansei who was born and raised in Honolulu, HI. Due to the
      Hawaiian residence, his mother did not experience incarceration but
      she remembers Pearl Harbor Day, when she came home to find her
      father (Bill's grandfather) burning "everything Japanese" in the
      backyard because "there was going to be trouble." Bill is currently
      CEO of Mobile Operandi, a wireless software company. Previously,
      Bill was a partner with a large international venture capital firm,
      Atlas Ventures, and has had involvement as a founder, board member
      and investor with a number of software and Internet startups in the
      Seattle area.

      Brenda L. Handley, Northwest Suites & Housing Services
      Brenda L. Handley is a founding partner and CEO of Northwest Suites
      & Housing Services, the premier provider of interim corporate
      housing in the Puget Sound region. Brenda has applied her
      entrepreneurial spirit, passion for excellence, and strong work
      ethic not only to her company, but to the nonprofit sector as well.
      She serves on the board of directors for the Benaroya Research
      Institute at Virginia Mason Medical Center, is board liaison for the
      Education Committee of the national Corporate Housing Providers
      Association, and is a director of the Japanese American Chamber of
      Commerce of Washington State. She was named a finalist in the 2002
      Nellie Cashman Woman Business Owner of the Year Competition in
      recognition of her extraordinary leadership in business and her
      contributions to the community.


      Scott Oki, CEO, Oki Developments, Inc.

      Scott Oki began working for Microsoft in 1982, where he built its
      international operations and became the vice president of sales and
      marketing. When he retired from Microsoft in 1992, he ventured into
      many different entrepreneurships and non-profit projects. Today, Oki
      owns golf courses, restaurants, a soccer team, and high-tech firms.
      He is on the boards of 24 companies and non-profit groups including
      the Oki Foundation. He is CEO of Oki Developments, Inc. We talk with
      the successful entrepreneur and philanthropist about when he thinks
      the Northwest's technology industry will rebound.


      Scott Oki
      Founder, Chairman, CEO of Oki Golf

      Scott Oki is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Oki Golf and is a
      professed entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist and
      community activist. His personal mission statement is "to marry my
      passion for things entrepreneurial with things philanthropic in a
      way that encourages others to do the same."

      Prior to founding Oki Developments, Inc., Mr. Oki retired after 10
      years with Microsoft Corporation where he served as Sr. Vice
      President, Sales, Marketing and Service.

      Mr. Oki serves on dozens of advisory boards and boards of directors
      for both for-profit and not-for-profit companies. He has founded or
      co-founded over a dozen non-profit organizations. In addition to
      his philanthropic activities through the Oki Foundation, he has
      taken leadership roles in many other organizations. He is the Co-
      Founder of Sounders For Kids, Seattle Parks Foundation, America's
      Foundation for Chess, First Tee of Greater Seattle, Social Venture
      Partners and Seattle Police Foundation. He has served as Co-Chair of
      the United Way of King County Campaign Board and Co-Chair of the
      Million Dollar Roundtable, Founder and Chairman of the Japanese
      American Chamber of Commerce, Founder of the Chief Seattle Council
      Boy Scout Foundation, Co-Founder and Chairman of Densho. He is a
      past-President of the Board of Regents for the University of
      Washington and the immediate past Chair of the Children's Hospital
      Foundation. Mr. Oki also serves on the national boards for United
      Way of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Japanese American
      National Museum, and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation.
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