Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Pat Romanski, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Elizabeth White, Trevor Parsons

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 is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Studies, (@TauDir), with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is also a writer & editor for SYS-CON Media. He writes for Cloud Computing Journal & Computerworld Philippines. He is Conference Chair of WebRTC Summit and Things Expo. He has a BA from Knox College, Certificate in Tech Writing from UC-Berkeley, and MBA studies at CSU-East Bay. He serves on the board of the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies, and has served as Director, U.S. Coast Guard Aux Int'l Affairs.

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.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
File sync and share. Endpoint protection. Both are massive opportunities for today’s enterprise thanks to their business benefits and widespread user appeal. But one size does not fit all, especially user-adopted consumer technologies. Organizations must apply the right enterprise-ready tool for the job in order to properly manage and protect endpoint data. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Michael Bachman, Senior Enterprise Systems Architect at Code42, he will discuss how the synergy of an enterprise platform – where sync/share and endpoint protection converge – delivers incredible value for the business.
Simply defined the SDDC promises that you’ll be able to treat “all” of your IT infrastructure as if it’s completely malleable. That there are no restrictions to how you can use and assign everything from border controls to VM size as long as you stay within the technical capabilities of the devices. The promise is great, but the reality is still a dream for the majority of enterprises. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, EVP, Data Center Tech, at SUPERNAP, will cover where and how a business might benefit from SDDC and also why they should or shouldn’t attempt to adopt today.
Today, developers and business units are leading the charge to cloud computing. The primary driver: faster access to computing resources by using the cloud's automated infrastructure provisioning. However, fast access to infrastructure exposes the next friction point: creating, delivering, and operating applications much faster. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Bernard Golden, VP of Strategy at ActiveState, will discuss why solving the next friction point is critical for true cloud computing success and how developers and business units can leverage service catalogs, frameworks, and DevOps to achieve the true goal of IT: delivering increased business value through applications.
APIs came about to help companies create and manage their digital ecosystem, enabling them not only to reach more customers through more devices, but also create a large supporting ecosystem of developers and partners. While Facebook, Twitter and Netflix were the early adopters of APIs, large enterprises have been quick to embrace the concept of APIs and have been leveraging APIs as a connective tissue that powers all interactions between their customers, partners and employees. As enterprises embrace APIs, some very specific Enterprise API Adoption patterns and best practices have started emerging. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will talk about the most common enterprise API patterns and will discuss how enterprises can successfully launch an API program.
MapDB is an Apache-licensed open source database specifically designed for Java developers. The library uses the standard Java Collections API, making it totally natural for Java developers to use and adopt, while scaling database size from GBs to TBs. MapDB is very fast and supports an agile approach to data, allowing developers to construct flexible schemas to exactly match application needs and tune performance, durability and caching for specific requirements.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.