As you know I have worked in technology since 1969. I remember in the early 80’s when I was working in Health Care Information Systems. We used mainframe computers – but could not deny the emerging world of the personal computer – the PC. Notice how easy that was to write, PC – Personal Computer. That phrase came from IBM and Microsoft.
Apple Computer revolutionized the world, then failed to capitalize with proprietary arrogance. My company placed my first IBM PC on my desk in 1982. We had studied the market – recognizing the need for technological integration. Apple was wonderful for individual tasks, but horrible for integration. IBM and Microsoft recognized the needs of the business community and met the needs. The Apple folks grumbled that their product was better.
I became a project manager and used the IBM and Microsoft models to inform my decisions about new technology. Simply put, that means to listen to the users and give them what they want – not what I thought they should have.
Technology is a tool, a means to an end, not an end in itself. People have to get the job done. Some carpenters like radial arm saws, some like table saws. The best product is the one that will be used to get the job done.
Steve Jobs gets credit for his technical innovation – and he continues to lead the world in this endeavor – but he cannot seem to let others jump on his bandwagon. That is the difference between an innovator and a businessman.
Bill Gates is both.