the cult of the leader

February 20th, 2007

I was watching some clips on Youtube and I stumbled upon some good old Apple clips among others. It's amazing how Youtube sucks you in, you're only looking for one specific thing but then you end up watching tons of "related" and "recommended" stuff. Oh well.

Anyway, it made me reflect on some of the biggest personalities in the IT industry. Not necessarily the most influential, but certainly the cult figures if you will, the billboard faces.

First up, Bill Gates. Bill is a deceptive figure in many ways, in interviews and talks he comes across as such a normal person, so much like any engineer. There's also something about this normality that gives him charisma, I have to say I find him quite a personable figure for some reason. Of course he stands at the head of a company that has built up a portfolio of shall we say practice we file under various degrees of "unethical". But still, when he talks about his visions for technology, it comes across as something a technically minded person would think about. And beyond that, being a superbly successful businessman, he seems very unassuming, very humble. The kind of guy you could talk to, and disagree with on many things, but also find agreement on many points.

In contrast, Steve Jobs just freaks me out. I don't know if you've seen one of those keynotes, but the whole thing is not unlike some religious cult. Steve's there speaking, with this strange light in his eyes, as he regards his minions and feels the power of his persona. When he speaks, he gets an immediate response, of cheers or boos (rarely), it's like a Gospel church.

And along with himself, the company image is so conceited as well. "I think you always had to be a little different to buy an Apple Computer. You had to think different about computers. I think you had to think really differently when you bought a Mac. And I think the people who do buy them do think differently. And they are the creative spirits in this world. They are the people who are not just out to get a job done, they're out to change the world." Btw, talk about the least creative company name ever.

Then there's Steve Ballmer. This guy is the creepiest company chief I've ever seen. I mean they actually made the guy from this old commercial head of the biggest company in the world, how insane is that? Ballmer has this odd quality to him that just makes him seem totally and completely unpredictable. Like a ticking time bomb and you never know when he's going to go off. It's basically the nut running the nut house. The chair throwing incident (unfortunately couldn't find the video) is really famous, but it doesn't stop there, he's just stark raving mad.

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3 Responses to "the cult of the leader"

  1. erik says:

    "Btw, talk about the least creative company name ever."


  2. Nawaf says:

    Ah, MonkeyMan Ballmer :touched:

  3. Graham says:

    What about that Matusiak? :D