Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Lori MacVittie, Ian Khan, Automic Blog, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, iPhone

Cloud Expo: 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
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along...
In his session at DevOps Summit, Tapabrata Pal, Director of Enterprise Architecture at Capital One, will tell a story about how Capital One has embraced Agile and DevOps Security practices across the Enterprise – driven by Enterprise Architecture; bringing in Development, Operations and Information Security organizations together. Capital Ones DevOpsSec practice is based upon three "pillars" – Shift-Left, Automate Everything, Dashboard Everything. Within about three years, from 100% waterfall, C...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add sc...
Data-intensive companies that strive to gain insights from data using Big Data analytics tools can gain tremendous competitive advantage by deploying data-centric storage. Organizations generate large volumes of data, the vast majority of which is unstructured. As the volume and velocity of this unstructured data increases, the costs, risks and usability challenges associated with managing the unstructured data (regardless of file type, size or device) increases simultaneously, including end-to-...
The excitement around the possibilities enabled by Big Data is being tempered by the daunting task of feeding the analytics engines with high quality data on a continuous basis. As the once distinct fields of data integration and data management increasingly converge, cloud-based data solutions providers have emerged that can buffer your organization from the complexities of this continuous data cleansing and management so that you’re free to focus on the end goal: actionable insight.
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics arc...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by your analysts and designers, and the resulting application built by your developers, there is a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral out of control, and applications fall short of requirements. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a new approach where business and development users collaborate – each using tools appropriate to their goals and expertise – to build mo...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to mak...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applicatio...
VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market. With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...
Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been ...
Companies today struggle to manage the types and volume of data their customers and employees generate and use every day. With billions of requests daily, operational consistency can be elusive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, will explore how a distributed systems solution, such as NoSQL, can give organizations the consistency and availability necessary to succeed with on-demand data, offering high availability at massive scale.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, de...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focu...
Security can create serious friction for DevOps processes. We've come up with an approach to alleviate the friction and provide security value to DevOps teams. In her session at DevOps Summit, Shannon Lietz, Senior Manager of DevSecOps at Intuit, will discuss how DevSecOps got started and how it has evolved. Shannon Lietz has over two decades of experience pursuing next generation security solutions. She is currently the DevSecOps Leader for Intuit where she is responsible for setting and driv...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes ...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, it is now feasible to create a rich desktop and tuned mobile experience with a single codebase, without compromising performance or usability.