Gates talks with employees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle last month.
Early on in his second annual foundation letter, Gates says: "It's been an incredible year and I enjoyed having lots of time to meet with the innovators working on some of the world's most important problems. I got to go out and talk with people making progress in the field, ranging from teachers in North Carolina to health workers fighting polio in India to dairy farmers in Kenya. Seeing the work firsthand reminds me of how urgent the needs are as well as how challenging it is to get all the right pieces to come together. I love my new job and feel lucky to get to focus my time on these problems."
Innovation in education is key, he tells CNET. "If we don't innovate in education, the budget cuts and increasing expense of a really great university education, it's literally going to mean less people get to go have that education at a time when more people are going to want it and the country needs more people to get those educations."
In his annual foundation letter, Gates says he and his wife visited a number of schools in North Carolina in the fall and "had a chance to see some amazing principals and teachers."
Gates told CNET that he wasn't sure at first that promoting adult circumcision to reduce the spread of AIDS in Africa would be feasible. But he says the demand for the procedure in multiple centers has been high. "It looks like that's really going to help slow the disease."