Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Donald Rumsfeld of IT?

A few weeks ago, the NYT carried an article which asked an intriguing question: “If Steve Jobs were alive today, should he be in jail?” It seems the iconic entrepreneur was involved in some clearly illegal activities: a conspiracy to stop other companies from poaching Apple employees, a scheme aimed at boosting the value of his stock options, etc. Why did he do it? Jobs’s biographer, Walter Isaacson, says he “always believed that the rules that applied to ordinary people didn’t apply to him. … He believed he could bend the laws of physics and distort reality. That allowed him to do some amazing things, but also led him to push the envelope.” And this was his modus operandi in general: Over and over, people referred to his reality distortion field. The rules just didn’t apply to him, whether he was getting a license plate that let him use handicapped parking or building products that people said weren’t possible. Most of the time he was right, and he got away with it.” Am I the only one who sees an odd parallel here? Except that Rumsfeld wasn’t right about Iraq, and still got away with it – and remains in denial.