Steve Jobs cannot be separated from the controversial personality he had, however, his inventive and innovative mind left a deep mark that is still admired by both locals and strangers. Current and old executives of major technology companies knew him and, in one way or another, learned from him.
This selection brings together anecdotes and testimonies from figures such as Gates, Bezos, Musk and Zuckerberg, about what it was like to be in front of a character whose legacy continues in the industry.
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The rivalry between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates goes hand in hand with the emergence of personal computing, and it can also be summarized by the fact that Gates thought that Jobs did not know anything about technology, but he did know a great salesman, in addition to having a “great instinct ”for what worked in terms of devices. On the other hand, the Apple co-founder claimed in 1996 that both Gates and Microsoft manufactured third-party products. Despite everything, the two collaborated closely, from the time the Windows creator firm developed software for the Apple II until the Californian company accepted investment from Redmond’s to stay afloat, once Jobs returned to take over the reins of Apple. in 1997.
The attacks continued for years between the two, including when Gates left office and resigned from Microsoft, in 2000 and 2006, respectively. Yet they praised each other whenever they got a chance, as in the famous 2007 AllThingsD conference interview, in which Jobs highlighted Gates’ style of doing things, and vice versa.
In 2019, the founder of Microsoft acknowledged in an interview for The Wall Street Journal the attribute he really admired in his colleague: his power to fascinate people. “I wish I could be as magical (as him) because I have causes that are somehow more shocking and I need to make sure they are not ignored,” Gates emphasized.
There is not much information that details the relationship between Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs, although there was a meeting that could be considered fundamental, which is detailed in the book Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon. The directors are supposed to have met in the late 1990s in Cupertino, with other members from Apple and Amazon in attendance; the state of the music industry was discussed, but Jobs quickly spoke of what would be the real issue: Apple gave them the sneak peek that it had just developed its first Windows application, “the best Windows application ever built.” With this, the leader of the Californian firm also anticipated the reduction of sales of CDs, that is, a large part of Amazon’s business.
The authors of the work, Colin Bryar and Bill Carr, think that the words said by Jobs were key for Bezos to realize that the physical sales of the product, or a large part of them, would probably fail.
On the things in common between the two leaders, a report by the journalist Catherine Clifford He said that they both thought there was an exception to the business idea of listening to the customer, and that was when something truly revolutionary is being built, something that people have never seen before. “To do something extraordinary, a company and its leaders must think beyond what their customers are capable of,” Clifford wrote.
The Tesla co-founder has repeatedly acknowledged his appreciation and admiration for what Jobs achieved with Apple, yet he has never liked the comparison that he is “the Steve Jobs of our time.”
“I think that what matters is the actions, not what people think of me in the future. I will be dead, but will the actions I take have been useful? “Musk said in an interview for GQ.
Still, Jobs’ official biographer Walter Isaacson, who also writes a biography on Musk, has not hesitated to highlight the similarities between the two entrepreneurs. “In a way, he is the Steve Jobs of our time; he is crazy enough to think that he can change the world, and, therefore, he could be one of those who will change the world ”, highlighted this year the author of profiles of Leonardo da Vinci and Einstein.
On the other hand, Gates disagrees with Musk being compared to Jobs. “Elon is more of a practical engineer; Steve was a genius at designing and recruiting and marketing. You couldn’t walk into a room and mistake them for each other, “said the Microsoft co-founder in an interview for Bloomberg TV.
Jobs served as a mentor to the creator of Facebook. Zuckerberg said that when things were not going well on the social network, early in its history and when many people wanted to buy it, he met with the founder of Apple. “He said that to reconnect with what I believed was the mission of the company, I should visit this temple in India that he had gone to early in Apple’s evolution.”
So did Zuckerberg, he flew to India and spent almost a month traveling the country. That reinforced the importance of what was being done inside Facebook.
“Steve, thank you for being a mentor and friend. Thank you for showing that what you build can change the world. I’ll miss you, ”the young man wrote after Jobs’ death on October 5, 2011.
The Apple executive also held unsuccessful conversations with Facebook about a variety of partnerships related to Ping, the Californian firm’s attempted social network, however, there were “onerous terms that we could not accept.” Jobs specified.
To get a broader response, he recommended watching an interview he gave to journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg in June 2010. “Privacy means that people know what they are subscribing to,” Jobs emphasized at that meeting, where he also Zuckerberg was present.
While that phrase by Jobs is sobering, it cannot be forgotten that Facebook’s biggest scandals are related to the platform’s handling of its users’ personal information.