“What do Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have in common?”
“What do Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have in common?” asked Prasna Rao** even as I sat down to write this post.
“Well, both are genuises. Very successful. Gamechangers. Innovators. Lots of money.”
“Think, there is more to them than the obvious.”
“Both run huge organisations. Both are from the US. Both are college drop outs. Both started in some garage I think.”
“You are not thinking hard enough. Here take a look.” Prasna Rao threw a copy of Mumbai Mirror (May 17, 2011) at me.
“Look at page 25. Read what it says”
The article titled “Techland’s Tyrants” described the management style of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. What was common was their unforgiving, autocratic style of management.
A CEO I met recently told me that he had the opportunity to meet both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on different occasions. ” They were both supremely self-confident. In fact there was a thin line between their self confidence and arrogance.”
According to this CEO Innovators are disruptors. Most people hate their guts and are uncomfortable dealing with them. They have low tolerance for fools.
Anand Mahindra had an interesting thing to say about Innovators. In an interview with DNA titled “Batting for Oddballs” by Vinay Kamat, he talked about managing talented mavericks. This is what he said:
“One aspect of Sand Pit is a huge tolerance for mavericks. I guarantee that every company will always have one guy who everybody hates, nobody likes to work with, is arrogant as hell, always points to himself, but comes out with ideas that nobody can come out with. We don’t have a cost of eccentricity; we just firewall. And, at the cost of criticism from our team players, we say we have to, as an organisation, show tolerance for mavericks.”
“Ha! So Innovators and creative people are arrogant. Correct?”
“I am not sure if I can make a sweeping statement like that.”
“But you are not disagreeing either”
“What I have found often is that many creative people think of amazing ideas. For them it seems simple and obvious. For the rest of us it does not seem so. There is a huge gap. Creative people also lack the patience to explain the idea clearly. Often they have little tolerance for disagreement. They respect very few people and make it clear that they do not suffer fools.”
“That makes them arrogant. Right?”
“I do not agree. An arrogant person generally has an exaggerated sense of self-importance. That may not be the case with the really talented creative people.”
“You are dancing around Sridhar. Why don’t you ask your readers to share what they think? Are innovators and creative people arrogant people? Is arrogance a distinguishing quality that separates innovators and creative people?”
There you are folks. Prasna Rao wants your views.
Are innovators and creative people supremely self confident? Or are they arrogant?
What do you think?
**Prasna Rao is an unusual friend. He appears every time I start writing something. He is almost always there when I am writing my blog. He asks questions that are razor sharp and often makes me uncomfortable. He is relentless till I answer his questions in simple, clear terms. You might find that he is most of the times asking questions that you want to. Therefore he is on your side, while he is putting me in the dock. I call him my Uninvited Coach
*Picture by marion doss available under a Creative Commons Attribution- licensed for commercial use.
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