Maybe we live in times so serious that April Fool’s jokes just no longer have the value or panache of yesteryear. Maybe that’s because there’s a growing number of fools writing about how Apple has lost its vision. And, like it or not, there’s a dearth of visionaries these days.
Send In The Fools
The misinformation age of the internet of things means the world is treated to the scourge of digital ink. Everyone has an opinion and perspective to share.
Worse, they have a place to share it. That’s what makes up the internet of things. Fools abound, though they are often chronicles and skewered by a decreasing number of technorati thought police.
First on my list today is The Macalope, the mythical beast that’s part antelope, part Mac, but possessing of the super power of reasoning with facts.
His latest is perfect for April Fool’s day, entitled simply, Fools of the Year. It’s worthy reading, name dropping, and skewering par excellence— all in the same article.
Names? It’s a who’s who list of technorati fools which ranges from previous winners Rob Enderle, Mike Elgan, Paul Thurrott, to newcomers Sam Mattera, The New York Times, and this year’s winner, Yukari Iwatani Kane.
Send In The Visionaries
Cut from the same cloth, but less prolific at foolery are those from the past, members of the Steve Jobs generation, though minus the visionary gene of Apple’s co-founder.
These visionaryless business leaders and pundits are chronicled by Daniel Eran Dilger in Visionaries of the Tech World Who Foresaw Apple’s Future.
These prognosticators saw Apple’s future before the company made history. Michael Dell, David Goldstein, Bill Gates, John Dvorak, all failed to predict Apple’s future, but were quick to point to the company’s impending demise.
That brings me to the obvious. Where is the next Steve Jobs?
It’s not Larry Page or Sergey Brin from Google. Despite investing tens of billions in non-search engine advertising efforts, Google remains a one-trick pony with revenue and profits from… drum roll, please… search engine advertising.
It’s not Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. While Steve Jobs could charm and offend from both sides of his mouth to get his will done, at least he knew how to make money and disrupt staid old industries. All Amazon does is lose money.
Others vie for the title of visionary and include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs, Google’s Andy Rubin, and perhaps Apple’s Jonathan Ive. Jacobs and Rubin are not Steve Jobs. Zuckerberg is new to the game. Ive, though, has something most 21st century tech visionaries do not.
A passionate taste for esthetics, beauty, and usability. What Ive does not have is what tech visionaries require for success. Relentless drive. And an ability to make a profit. It’s easy to be anointed as a visionary in the tech field when you’re spending other people’s money (Jeff Bezos, I’m looking at you), but turning a profit in one industry is tough. Doing so, as Jobs did often– in PCs, portable media players, online media sales, smartphones, online app sales, tablets and elsewhere– is as remarkable as it is unique.
Where are the tech visionaries of the 21st century? I fear they’re a dying breed.