Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Jeev Trika

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Wearables

@CloudExpo: Article

Steve Jobs & The Gift of Charisma

There Are Many People Like Steve. But So Few of Them are Business Leaders

Zachary Woolfe writes in a local newspaper, "On March 19, 1965, Maria Callas returned to the Metropolitan Opera after a seven-year absence...(her) first entrance set off a wave of applause for several minutes. There were 16 curtain calls at the end."

Thus is "the mystical gift of charisma," as the article's headline states.

In the performing arts, charisma is valued. It separates mere technical brilliance from the sublime. In politics, it is dangerous. And in business, charisma will forever be known as "Jobsian."

Bill & Steve
History will record the great business battle between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They're the same age, started their companies at the same time, and built great companies out of cool stuff they'd seen a previous generation invent.

And they both smirk.

The Bill Gates smirk seemed to be one of self-satisfaction, of a certain condescension. And it was uncharismatic. Sure, it drew legions of like-minded geeks to Redmond. But when did it set the world on fire? (The good news is that Bill, in his uncharismatic way, is using his wealth to eradicate disease and improve the lives of millions. Defenders of his legacy have no worries.)

Steve's smirk always seemed to be driven by anger. Anger at a world that so often failed to have taste, at people who so often failed to push themselves to their limits, and at anyone who simply would not listen. And it was a charismatic smirk. It appealed to pirates and mods alike, and set the world on fire more than once.

Greatness Fades, Then Returns
Steve and Bill spent their earliest years, as I did, in the era when the US ruled supreme. We finished high school just as the American debacle in Vietnam ended and the American Dream seemed to fade for the first time. We entered college when Detroit forgot how to make cars, when the first Oil Shock exacerbated the initial decline in our industrial might. These were the days when Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter were in the White House, and Alan Greenspan was first toying with the economy.

But there was something cool going on in places like Steve's native Santa Clara County, in New Mexico (scene of Bill's famous mugshot), and in untold thousands of garages and basements throughout the country. The Post-Industrial Age had begun, and was about to move from highly financed leviathans and labs owned by the likes of IBM and Xerox, to creatively financed start-ups owned by guys like Bill and Steve.

Steve is just one in a long line of American innovators dating to Benjamin Franklin, and of geniuses dating back to the Lascaux cave painters, original wheelmakers, and paleolithic harvesters of fire. It's often been remarked that his closest contemporary predecessor is Walt Disney, and so it seems appropriate that Steve is Disney Co.'s largest shareholder today.

Add Jobsian charisma to Disneyesque magic-making, place him in the corporate world, and The True Dao of Steve emerges.

I think an additional, mucho importante part of his appeal is our realization that this guy would stand no chance of being hired by most companies. College drop-out, arrogant, not a team player, talks too much, mentions European washing machines when discussing computers, dresses different, probably couldn't tell you how he's leveraged mission-critical tasks around core objectives to achieve alignment with business objectives that drive customer value and achieve competitive advantage.

I, Steve
There are many people like Steve Jobs. Orchestra conductors and players, professional athletes, radiologists, physicists, philosophers, screenwriters, and comedians. Folk musicians, the folks working on creating life from RNA, and of course, your quotidian brain surgeons and rocket scientists. Novelists. Painters. Sculptors. A thousand other professions.

And many, many worker bees. It's always a pleasure to watch bricklayers, car mechanics, and dedicated waiters practice their craft. It's cool to watch bank tellers (those who are left) and blackjack dealers effortlessly handle their money and cards. And it's always fascinating to ask someone during a tense job interview what special talent they have that no one knows about.

Some people are operatic singers. Some are serious gymnasts. Some know every lyric of every Bob Dylan song. Some have memorized swaths of Proust. Others know every frame of Truffaut and Godard. I know people who really can name the vineyard of most any particular bottle of red wine. The list is endless. I have a weakness for Beethoven, Ravel, and Merle Haggard myself. Oh yes, and Maria Callas.

And there are still some companies that produce insanely great products. Boeing springs to mind.

The problem is, there are very few business leaders like Steve. There are very few who are so focused on every detail while bringing an aesthetic sense into the game. Even those who could not abide working for Steve seldom denigrate his talent, and never his taste. Thus, he gets placed on a pedestal because he seems unique in a business world too often defined by id, idiocy, hubris, and criminality. He is admired because there is an inner Steve (if a less talented, less charismatic Steve) within us all.

Twitter - strukhoff

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn ...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, will explore the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences betwee...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Cole, Director of Solutions Engineering at Peak 10, will discuss how the newest technology advances are reducing the cost and complexity of traditional business continuity and disaster recovery solutions. Attendees will: Learn why having a full disaster recovery strategy is more important now than ever before Explore the key drivers of a successful disaster recovery solution Achieve measurable operational and business value from a disaster recovery ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hanu Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Leveraging best-in-class people, processes, and technologies, Hanu provides high-quality, high-value software development and business process outsourcing services to independent software vendors (ISVs) and enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the present state of cloud from the C-level view, and how great companies and rock star executives can use cloud computing to meet their most ambitious and disruptive business ...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's [email protected] at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, high-productivity enterprise web applications for any device. SmartClient couples the industry’s broadest, deepest UI component set with a java server framework to deliver an end-...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...