The Fearless Leaders:
Steve Jobs knows brandwidth. Apple is not competing with PC’s anymore. A PC is a tool, a Mac is a status symbol, and brandwidth is what got Apple to that designer label status. Steve Jobs was recently interviewed by Rolling Stone. He is talking to Disney about a job they offered him. He owns Pixar and sells more music than anyone. He made iPhone the “it” thing to have if you want to be part of the in crowd. Steve is an embodiment of all that it is to be a Media Geek. He is what every AV guy has dreamed of being. And even if he isn’t he sells it as though he is.
Bill Gates is about to step down. No more will Microsoft be lead the anti-thesis of Jobs. Bill sells a message of doing more, and connecting, and while Microsoft would like to push connecting as a community thing they come across as join the hive, rather than join the choir. This even becomes apparent in the way Microsoft events are hosted vs. the way Apple events are hosted. At the three events I attended where Steve spoke afterwards I was able to stand in line, shake hands and talk to him. Then he networked around the room. The six events I went to where Bill spoke, he spoke then made a quick exit through the catacombs of the venues. Talking with people at Apple they see Steve wandering around and it is so common that no one notices any more. Those I know at MS rarely see Bill and certainly don’t consider him just one of the guys.
As the OTHER Steve steps in to Bills role we see Microsoft being lead by someone lacking the brand that Bill has, and without the Geek Factor to lead the IT administrators, nor the Web 2.0 crowd to his products. Ballmer is charismatic, but is always more comic relief than he is fearless leader. Ballmer is never going to convince a teen that Zune is sexy. Dance Monkey Boy Dance, will forever brand Ballmer as the awkward guy who doesn’t know he is being laughed at, not laughed with, which is an analogy for so many of Microsoft’s “trend setting” technologies.