Tag Archives: gigaom

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs onstage….

31 May

….was the highlight of the ‘D’ Conference in Carlsbad, Calif…lots of folks are blogging the conference, including Rafat at www.paidcontent.org and Om at www.gigaom.com, and of course hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of The Wall Street Journal at their new site www.allthingsd.com.

I just want to add how impressive it was to see Gates and Jobs in a moment of reflection. This duo has collaborated and clashed for 30 years – substantially all of their professional lives. But they know each other well and were charmingly authentic about the issues that drive their passion and energy.

Gates said he views the development of the personal computer as the driving professional accomplishment of his lifetime. Nothing that he achieves will ever mean as much to him (which is saying a lot for such a philanthropist.) “Cut open my head and you will find software,” he joked. Jobs, who has struggled with serious illness in recent years, acknowledged Gates’s generosity by saying his longtime collaborator and rival had learned it is no accomplishment to “be the richest guy in the cemetery.”

Jobs added he felt lucky to have found the work he loved “at the right place at the right time.” Jobs said he wished Apple had known better how to partner with people – a lesson it might have learned from Microsoft. Gates indicated he envied Jobs’s “taste” in product design and in people issues.

There was much more give and take about the current times being “very healthy” for innovation and creativity in the technology world, and that continuing advances such as touch computing and 3D displays will continue to dramatically change the landscape over time.

It was a charming and revealing session – and a real accomplishment by Kara and Walt.

Walt also failed to mention his own tiny role in the personal computer revolution: During the summer of 1982, The Journal got its first PC, an Apple II-E running a small software program that helped us write headlines that would fit the Journal’s column widths (a task that previously was a laborious manual counting exercise).

Walt, then a defense reporter in the Washington Buro, was among the few folks in the newsroom agitating for the purchase of the computers.

I know because I was there – a pup copy editor just starting my career and benefiting from the timesaving new technology.

Thanks, Walt. You were a pioneer even then….