Apple’s “shameless” late CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs will be forgotten in 50 years, according to an author.
Bill Gates, on the other hand, will be remembered for his “great societal contributions”, Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, has claimed in an appearance at the Toronto Public Library’s Appel Salon.
Gladwell said: “And of the great entrepreneurs of this era people will have forgotten Steve Jobs. Who’s Steve Jobs again?”
In contrast, he added: “There will be statues of Gates across the third world. There’s a reasonable shot that, because of his money, we will cure malaria,” predicted Gladwell.
Regarding Jobs, Gladwell claimed: “Every idea he had came from somebody else. And, by the way, he would be the first to say this: He was quite happy ripping people off.”
Gladwell does have a few nice things to say about Jobs. He describes him as “an extraordinary businessman and entrepreneur,” adding that: “He was brilliant at understanding the image he wanted to craft for the world. What was brilliant about Apple was that he understood from the get go that the key to success in that market place was creating a distinctive and powerful and seductive brand. And he was as good at doing that for laptops as well as for doing it for himself.
Gladwell then quickly derides Jobs as a “a self-promoter on a level that we have rarely seen,” going on to describe the man who co-founded Apple and kicked off the PC revolution as “shameless”.
He refers to the Walter Isaacson biography as one example, joking: “The cover, for goodness sake, of the biography that was written for him: he designed the cover! Who does that.”
Gladwell then jokes about one particular incident in the biography that he feels unveils Jobs personality: “To me the most extraordinary moment in the biography of Jobs is, his on his deathbed and he is undergoing one last medical procedure and he’s shrunken, and it’s over and he knows it, and they try and put an oxygen mask over him, and he refuses the mask because he is unhappy with its design. That’s who he was. If he was going to die, he was going to die with the right kind of oxygen mask. It was like asking him to send his final emails using Windows”.
The video of the interview, if you can bear to watch, is below. Gladwell mentions Jobs about 10 minutes in.