Larry Page as the next Steve Jobs
First, watch this: http://youtu.be/rPkTkzhrKbE?t=17m28s (transcript below)
Nilay Patel: I want to tell you something. I don't want to talk about news, I don't want to talk about product announcements, I don't want to talk about Google Now, or search, or maps. All I want to talk about is the last experience I've just had in a room with 6,000 people, where Larry Page [Google CEO] was just quietly talking about the future, and the place he wants go to where there are no laws and he can just experiment on running the world. Because that was insane, and I think it changed me emotionally. [...] Let me just set the stage here a little bit, on what we're talking about. Because I was trying to convey it in the liveblog, and it maybe came through if you were watching the stream, but the experience of being in the Moscone Center, when Larry Page walked out-- There was a huge-- Everyone started cheering and whooping, it was a big surprise, nobody knew he was coming, he doesn't make a lot of public appearances, he just did a story yesterday, he released some information, his vocal cords are paralyzed, and nobody was expecting him. People started rushing up to the front to take pictures, and then he started talking, just about Google; it was really unstructured, it was obviously ad libbed and riffed. He was like, I hate the negativity, I want everybody to be positive, let's build awesome things, and now I'm going to do a Q&A. And for this entire time, the room was totally, totally silent. I've never been in a press conference--keynote situation--where it was so silent, and everyone was just accepting what was being said, without any reaction whatsoever. So when he got to the line "maybe we need a place where we can just experiment to see how things go," there was no reaction. Everyone was like "Huh, maybe that's a good idea." To me, that was the most insane thing I've ever been around.
Then this: http://youtu.be/rPkTkzhrKbE?t=34m31s (transcript below)
Nilay Patel: When he [Larry Page, Google CEO] came out, there was just absolute euphoria. People were getting out of their chairs and running down the central hallways to take a photo of him and be closer to him. I think there's a real sense that there isn't a Steve Jobs figure in the industry, and Page could be that person. And he runs Google, which is arguably pushing a lot of things further than Apple ever did, or could at this moment. I think that was really-- The tone in the room, the absolute pin drop reverent silence as he spoke, I think, reflected that as well. But then it's-- I can't separate that from the content of what he was saying. And I think there are very few people who can talk about an island--we keep calling it an island--talk about a space where the laws don't apply, where you can try new things, and get away with it, in a room full of relatively skeptical engineers and journalists. And he pulled it off, so-- His command of the room and the environment was total. He looked very confident and healthy. He just spoke very quietly. And you know, the tone of his voice definitely lent him an air of mystical quality. And I think we're just going to have to get used to his voice. Other than that, he seemed totally fine.
- stymied Google's growing image of being a "bully who uses money to brute-force itself into every market," by trimming its product line, and focusing on quality over quantity. Every Google product that has launched since he became CEO seems to have a purpose, and actual differentiating features instead of simply being a me-too clone.
- made Google's products beautiful. The combination of fewer products and focus on design, has given the company a personality, and more interesting to read about.
- successfully combated antitrust investigations and trials (ex: Oracle), and got Google off completely unscathed.
- is morally sound. At Google I/O 2013, Larry Page warned against negativity and called for people to be more positive. This lines up with his actions, as after he became CEO in 2011, Google stopped making public jabs at competitors (like it did at Google I/O 2010 about a "draconian" Apple). He even told Vic Gundotra to stop tweeting after he publicly taunted Microsoft and Nokia.
- is notoriously private. This makes him seem mysterious and draws more attention when he does appear in public, like he did at Google I/O 2013. "Always leave 'em wanting more."
- has an awesome voice. Like Nilay Patel said (in the video above) Mr. Page's new voice has a "mystical quality" to it. It also makes him seem calm, smart, and humble.
But what about the other CEOs of the Big Five? Here are their negative attributes (i.e. the biggest things holding them back being the next Steve Jobs), not their positive ones, because that will take too much time.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos:
- not enough stage charm.
- Amazon products are ugly. To get people to be passionate about you, they first have to be passionate about your products. For people to be passionate about your products, your products have to be loveable. The biggest factor is beautiful design, which Amazon does not even come remotely close to having.
Apple's Tim Cook:
- doesn't have the looks. Objectively speaking, you have to be handsome if you're going to be the public face of a company.
- no personality. When he talks during a keynote and starts pouring out adjectives to describe the latest iDevice, there just seems to be no genuine emotion .
- no accomplishments. Apple's most well-known failures (Siri and Maps) happened under him, and he has yet to launch a new product, having chosen instead to incrementally update existing ones.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg:
- face looks creepy. Again, looks matter.
- is too young.
- But with time, he is the one with the most chance, after Larry Page. (Heck, even Steve Jobs admired and closely associated with him.)
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer:
- not smart. For example, he laughed at the iPhone when it first came out. Obviously, if you think about it, it's obvious that he was just stalling to calm its partners and fool competitors while it prepared Windows Phone, but the general public doesn't know that. And they're who's going determine who the next Steve Jobs is.
- acts crazily. Search for "steve ballmer" on YouTube and look at what the first and third results are. It's hard for people to admire someone like that.
- Microsoft has a PR problem, and people are generally not fond of Microsoft.
So yeah...what do you think?