Incredibly sad news to wake up to about Steve Jobs this morning. In so many ways, he was an inspirational figure. I guess only time will tell if he will be as influential as Einstein in the bigger picture, but he won't be far off I think. The technology revolution will be far more wide-reaching than the Industrial revolution was and Steve Jobs was certainly one of the pioneers of the movement. There will be a huge amount of material and analysis on just how great he was over the next few weeks - all of which we will no doubt agree with. In my mind, his greatest achievement was to 1. start a culture within a business and then 2. burst this out from the confines of his business to the broader global community. There is a great speech you can see here: Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action' , which when broken down - focuses on the 'Why we exist' question which underpins all companies (consciously or unconsciously in many cases). To my mind, this was essentially written with Steve Jobs in mind.
It did get me thinking though....who can we compare this man to? I then wondered if Bill Gates would get the same level of empathy and recognition?
I think we know the answer (a likely no maybe?), but I tried to understand why. His impact on how human-kind interacts with technology today is on a par (if not greater) than Steve Jobs. He may have 'copied' Steve Jobs with the concept of a desktop computer, but he managed to package the product and market it to the masses far more effectively (until very recently of course). Anyone can have an idea, its 'how you execute it' is something I read over-and-over again through the various start-up community material. Lest us not forget, The Bill Gates Foundation is the largest philanthropic organization in the world, donating a quite mind boggling amount of money to good causes every year. Warren Buffett (the richest man in the world) is due to give the majority of his fortune to the Foundation once he passes away. Bill Gates once again had to package something up, make it attractive and get buy in from people.
So in every way, it just doesn't make sense. The only conclusion I could make is this - PR. Our perception of Steve Jobs is vastly different to that of Bill Gates (greater good vs. capitalist I would say, I maybe wrong). This has mainly been driven by the advertising and messaging relating to the products we buy from his companies. Which takes me back to my first point - the culture he created within his company truly is greater than the sum of the parts in his products which is absolutely incredible. There's saying "It's not what you say, it's how you say it" and I think this applies here.
I'm sure this will divide opinion. Be interested to hear your thoughts - who has had the greatest impact on how we use technology today?
Like what you've read?