There is a wise and popular saying that goes “it take two to Tango!” A further look at its meaning, reveals that in order for a great goal to be achieved, it would take two very distinct people to make it happen. Only having one of them alone, will not see that kind of change occur without the other being present. While, most people may associate that term to relate to family members, couples or even friends; I often think of it from the point of view of innovation. By that I allude to the fact of where the work of two rivals, merge and mingle together to create a new rhythm in the way their offerings influence the lives of people around them. One of the prime examples of this, was displayed in the love hate relationship between the two men responsible for changing the way computers and personal devices were made available to us and how we use them.
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had two very different approaches to both design and innovative thinking. While, they were often critical of each other’s ways, neither could deny the inventive steps each one took to transform an industry that has set humanity on a new course of personal enjoyment and future discovery. Each was born with a steadfast view of how technology could influence and support people in their daily lives. Jobs was a maverick futurist, who sought to amaze the world each time with great but ‘access restricted’ products, which he felt would unite and push humanity forward. Gates on the other hand, believed more in collaboration and in sharing ideas, which could allow companies and people to democratically have their say in the way technology and its future use would evolve.
From the early 1980’s till the early 2000’s it appeared that Gates had chosen the right path. More so, newer firms such as Google adopted this strategy and continued to carry it forward with its market innovation called Android. However, post the advent of the 2000’s era, slowly but surely, Jobs, who was largely dismissed as narrow minded inventor, proved once and for all that even the closed ecosystem of consumer product innovation could work as well. Apple’s offerings that now include the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and services like iTunes and iCloud, have given users a parallel (and superior) experience to what was and is available in the market. Microsoft, on the other hand, gave the world a great operating system (Windows), web services and a neat gaming experience (Xbox). But putting aside each firm’s offerings, what made the relationship between Jobs and Gates so unique was their deep determination to prove the other wrong. Their mockery of each other at various points throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, spurred each one to try and outdo the other. Their competitive drive made the world a much smarter, efficient and connected place, where innovation is king and the blockades against technological possibility are far removed.
Had these two men been born at different times, the world would have progressed at a much slower rate. Hence, it would appear that more divine forces were at play. The coincidences of them being born in the same year and reaching their prime in the same place, when the world of technology was set to take off, would clearly show that the universe itself, used them as change catalysts.
For in short, Jobs and Gates came, saw, danced, dazzled and left behind a legacy that future generations will no doubt draw inspiration from and perhaps label as the greatest rivalry in the search for excellence! Next Take please!