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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Scopolamine Addiction: The Corporate Hippie

The Scopolamine Addiction: The Corporate Hippie

When applying for a job at Apple, one of the questions you’ll have to answer is how many times you have taken LSD. When applying for a job at Microsoft, one of the questions will be asking your opinion on how to move a mountain. The story of the computer is one that is fascinating not because of its innovative technical minutia, but because of two different personalities, and a basic understanding of power and human nature transferred onto a machine. Amazingly, in an age where computers permeate every corner of our daily lives, the story is one that isn’t understood very well, as seen by the primitive manner in which people treat these machines when frustrated. It seems that the only people privy to this phenomenon are the daring few that choose to venture into that area of the bookstore full of unfamiliar programming languages and those who wear t-shirts with messages in binary code.

The computer revolution began with simple machinery and complicated ideas. To begin with, all data is entered in through 1’s and 0’s because all computers started off doing one thing: processing numerical data, essentially a calculator. In the garages of Silicone Valley, a couple of geeks who were better accustomed to perfect inputs and outputs of data, than say, the whims of women, started to program two separate items: languages and operating systems. This obsession in a garage is what pulled Bill Gates out of Harvard and into an office to create a language, with the help of his friends and a lot of caffeine.

All the while Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, decided he wanted to create a machine everyone could use, not just techies, and assembled the first personal computer. The rest was a race to the top in which business tactics and personality at many times overshadowed invention. Whereas Steve Jobs spent his time trying to sell his invention, Bill Gates realized that the way to make it ahead in this world is to appeal to the large, established company around the corner. At the time, this was IBM. He sold them the language BASIC, and when requested, the operating system DOS-which Bill Gates acquired without royalty fees. A weak contract on IBM’s part allowed Bill Gates to eventually separate and make billions off of Windows. Apple was unable to compete because all the software subsequently made, could only run on IBM products. When Apple finally did create its own products, the system was much too expensive. Finally, Apple took a huge leap, with innovation in visual interface, or the ability to interact with pictures.

Bill Gates churned out a monopoly out of what many fear is not a substantial enough product. These are the constant grumbles about Microsoft that people hear. It is not an innovative piece of equipment. On the other hand, there is Steve Jobs, a hippie who wanted creativity to prevail, a mind-set that trickles down throughout his corporation. The people who work for his company aren’t techies-they’re zoologists, artists, and actors. His management style is one that inspires people to understand the value their work is imparting on the world. When convincing one of the programmers to get the MAC to boot faster, Jobs stated, “Millions of people are going to buy this machine-It’s going to be millions of people and let’s imagine that you can make it boot five seconds faster well that’s five seconds times a million every day that’s fifty lifetimes, if you can shave five seconds off that you’re saving fifty lives.” When he was trying to convince the head marketer for Pepsi to join his floundering computer company, as the marketer was about to walk away, Jobs stated, “Do you want to sell sugar-water for the rest of your life or do you want to change the world?” However, this intimidating management style is also what caused the same marketer to oust Jobs from his own company. Currently back with Apple, this philosophy can be seen in their products, created to appeal to people’s hobbies and creativity, not necessarily their work. His current salary, completely the opposite of Bill Gates, is $1, though his worth is $4.4 billion. There are not enough CEO’s and entrepreneurs who have stuck to their hippie philosophy-probably for good reason, it is nice to know that one made it through, the continued success of Apple is a glimmer of hope to the creativity that seems to be quickly displaced my money management.

If the aim of this columnist were to be more objective, there would be a comprehensive evaluation of Bill Gates. However this is mainly a tribute to the hippie who could (though with a lot of bumps). Bill Gates is best known for his active pursuit of monopolistic strategies to keep Microsoft on top. Eventually an antitrust law was filed, and the company had to split. His management style is aggressive; yet, being the quintessential “geek” he is often separated from egomania associated with most CEO’s. He drives a Dodge Neon, and is not one to act wealthy. Technically, he has never missed a day of work since he made his billions. Today, he has one of the most successful charities, in the sense that it actually carries through the projects it claims too, unlike many NGO’s. However, when it comes to competition, my respect from Steve Jobs comes from his ability to avoid “competition for competition sake”, a personality type required for much of the competitive business environment. Not to say that Bill Gates necessarily exemplifies this, it is a matter of different types of passion. Currently they have to compete with, among others, Linux, a European operating system that is free and can be personalized. Ultimately, it is passion that created a new industry from scratch, specifically a passion for everyone to take part in technology, not just the few “nerds” who were exposed to it first.