Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Businesses Apple

Who is Your Hero, Gates or Jobs? 660

Posted by Zonk
from the i-pick-albert-einstein dept.
feranick writes "Wired and Ars Technica are both running articles comparing Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, not for their business/technological achievements but for their humanitarian involvement. I am curious to see what you are thinking about the issue. What is more important, be a showmen technologist like Jobs or an humanitarian missionaire like Gates? And even more important: Is it important that donations from rich billionaires be public or should they remain private?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Who is Your Hero, Gates or Jobs?

Comments Filter:

  • Tough call, really. I tend to view every move of Gates in terms of wondering if he's doing these things with the ulterior motive of helping his company, Microsoft. There was a considerable ($300m, IIRC) gift to a cause in India about the time of debate over state use of Open Source in preference to Microsoft (closed source, foreign owned.) There's also the matter of how you feel people and businesses have been exploited and compromised by this behemmouth (granted users of Microsoft products, myself inc
    • by heatdeath (217147) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:40PM (#14581109)
      I tend to view every move of Gates in terms of wondering if he's doing these things with the ulterior motive of helping his company, Microsoft

      I really don't think that using $49 Billion of your own money to start a charitable foundation could *possibly* be out of a motive to help your company financially. Why on earth wouldn't he reinvest it if his motives were to help Microsoft?

      That's messed up, man.
      • Think about this. Who are the officers of the charity? What are their salaries?

        I believe - and I could be wrong that the administrators of Gates's charity make half a mil a year. If anyone knows for sure, please post references.

        It definitely diminishes the altruism of the charity and also - after a point of accumulation, money doesn't matter, you've got more than enough. Gates might be doing a wonderful thing with the charity but that is with money made off of Microsoft's business practices, which we al
        • The head of Bill Gates Charity is Mr. Gates ie Billy's father.
          • Yep, nice way to get out of paying taxes, is it not? Instead of kicking into government social programs in general, start your own social program that pays Dad's (and who else's?) salary, and only puts in where you want it to. I would like to be able to direct my tax dollars also.

            Don't you wish you could get away with paying taxes like Microsoft doesn't [seattleweekly.com]?

          • The head of Bill Gates Charity is Mr. Gates ie Billy's father.

            That's only sort of true. Bill Gates Senior is one of the three co-chairs of the charity (along with Melinda and Bill himself). As co-chairs, I'd be surprised if any of the three receives any salary from the foundation.

            I'm sure most of the normal staff do receive salaries -- working for a charitable foundation doesn't relieve them from having to eat and such. The foundation website lists their executives [gatesfoundation.org]. According to the foundation's tax [gatesfoundation.org]

        • I believe - and I could be wrong that the administrators of Gates's charity make half a mil a year. If anyone knows for sure, please post references.

          A parent suggested Gate's charity gave away close to fifty-billion dollars. If I was hiring a team to manage that amount of money I'd want to ensure they were paid very well too, for two key reasons:

          1) Paying well ensures you get good-quality people skilled in managing this much money

          2) The motivation for embezzlement is reduced if you are well-paid. (This i

        • by Anonymous Coward
          I interviewed with the Gates Foundation back in 1999. Unlike some other very flush charities in the greater Seattle area, they had every appearance of not overpaying for anything. They seemed very frugal (and their offer confirmed it). My conversations with them were all about how to cuts costs when delivering technologies for their library program. Linux was even being used in some cases. Sorry non-believers, but the Gates' side project is 100% legit and they certainly deserved Time magazine's prais
      • I really don't think that using $49 Billion of your own money to start a charitable foundation could *possibly* be out of a motive to help your company financially. Why on earth wouldn't he reinvest it if his motives were to help Microsoft?

        In the public's and regulators' minds, Gates and Microsoft are one and the same. Thus, the public and regulators will tend to go easier on MS if they see Gates in a positive light. Regulators will be less likely to penalize anticompetitive MS behavior, switch to Linux,

      • I don't know about you guys, but the choice for me is obvious. CowboyNeal is a great contributor to the open source community with all his wisdom and might. He's my personal hero.
    • by tgibbs (83782) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:27PM (#14581834)
      People rarely have absolutely pure motives for doing good things. Still, there are many things that Gates could have done that would have reaped more publicity and goodwill among those who purchase his products. It appears that he is approaching philanthropy with the same single-mindedness he that he brought to making Microsoft preeminent. He seems to be genuinely targeting those areas where his money will do the most to help people, such as 3rd world diseases that tend to be neglected by government-funded research and industrial drug development.
  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:37PM (#14581055) Homepage Journal
    I work for a charitable organization. My income is provided by people who believe in what I do and give money to support that work. In the time I've been doing this, one thing has been made clear to me over and over again.
     
    It is a huge mistake to make assumptions and judge others when you really don't know anything about what is going on in their life, especially in regards to their finances.
     
    I do admire that the authors of these articles are in favor of investing ones resources in ways that are intended to make the world a better place. I spend a good amount of my time trying to encourage people in the same way. But to criticize someone, even with the caveats about anonymous giving, is not really helpful. What a person does with their money, be it Steve Jobs or the kid grilling burgers at your local Jack in the Box, is their business. And we are in know place to judge them as human beings for what they do with their money, especially since we don't know what is going on in their lives.
     
    When I approach people to support what I do, I try very hard to not develop preconceptions based on what I know about them, because I am almost always wrong when I do. People I think will give a lot, don't (often for very good reasons, whether I know those reasons or not) and people I think wont give at all, surprise me with their generosity. But judging one as better than the other without the whole picture would be a grave error.
     
    Finally, when Christ wanted to give an example to his disciples of great giving, he pointed out the poor widow giving two mites. It was not the amount that mattered, but the attitude and the self-sacrafice. And from this distance who can judge those factors about Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?
    • Finally, when Christ wanted to give an example to his disciples of great giving, he pointed out the poor widow giving two mites. It was not the amount that mattered, but the attitude and the self-sacrafice. And from this distance who can judge those factors about Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

      It's too bad the most prominent US Christians aren't at all like Christ.

      What is a "mite" anyway?
      • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:46PM (#14581213) Homepage Journal
        You can see a mite [newworldtreasures.com] made into jewelry here. I think it was like the equivalent of a penny- the smallest monetary unit of the time.
         
        There are many Christians who are like Christ, unfortunately a lot of high profile people like to use Christianity as a means to a very different end.
      • by sg3000 (87992) * <[moc.cam] [ta] [cilbup_gs]> on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:08PM (#14581578)
        > What is more important, be a showmen technologist like Jobs or an humanitarian missionaire like Gates?

        The question seems too simplistic. If you want to ask the question -- who has done more for humanity: Gates or Jobs? Then you can look at acts of charity or whatever. If you want to ask who is the "most capitalist", then look at net worth. If you want to know whose actions illustrate the values one wants to live up to, look at their respective actions. If you want to ask who is the most selfless humanitarian, the answer is probably neither, as the parent indicates:

        > It was not the amount that mattered, but the attitude and the self-sacrifice

        The poster's submission makes it sound like all four of those are the same type of thing (hero).

        It's really easy for a billionaire to donate a million dollars to charity. It's a lot harder for someone making $20k a year to donate a dime to charity. But the latter qualifies more as a humanitarian because of the self sacrifice, at least from a Christian perspective. When the billionaire does it, it's often for tax purposes or for PR. If they do it anonymously, at least they're not trying to secure favorable impressions in the history books.

        I read the Wired article, and it was basically an author baiting Jobs to try to one-up Gates and his highly-publicized public giving. The author at least admitted that Jobs might be giving money anonymously, which is probably more in Jobs' character -- I'm thinking about Jobs meeting with a young man through the Make a Wish foundation [wish.org]. As far as I know, the meeting didn't appear on Apple Hot News [apple.com] for publicity.

        As for a more riveting personal/business story, Jobs wins hands down. Gates used ruthless tactics to build his empire and then showed nothing but contempt for the justice system. Now that he's rich, he can through a few crumbs (albeit, crumbs to him are billions to the rest of us) to build his PR.

        Jobs' story is more compelling to me: Apple's founding, buying Pixar from Lucas and turning it into a billion dollar business, failing at NeXT, but selling it back to Apple, and then rebuilding Apple with the iPod to chagrin of the loud protests from critics [nytimes.com]:
        It may not be the last laugh, but on Friday afternoon, after the close of the stock market, Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple Computer, shared an e-mail chuckle with his employees at the expense of Dell, a big rival.

        The message was prompted by the 12 percent surge in Apple's stock price last week, which pushed the company's market capitalization to $72.13 billion, passing Dell's value of $71.97 billion.

        In 1997, shortly after Mr. Jobs returned to Apple, the company he helped start in 1976, Dell's founder and chairman, Michael S. Dell, was asked at a technology conference what might be done to fix Apple, then deeply troubled financially.

        "What would I do?" Mr. Dell said to an audience of several thousand information technology managers. "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."

        On Friday, apparently savoring the moment, Mr. Jobs sent a brief e-mail message to Apple employees, which read: "Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn't perfect at predicting the future. Based on today's stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today. Steve."


        Founding a successful company is some skill and a lot of luck. Doing it three times (Apple, Pixar, Apple again) is more skill than luck.
        • by ptbarnett (159784) on Friday January 27, 2006 @06:42PM (#14583993)
          I read the Wired article, and it was basically an author baiting Jobs to try to one-up Gates and his highly-publicized public giving. The author at least admitted that Jobs might be giving money anonymously, which is probably more in Jobs' character

          I wouldn't be surprised if Jobs is donating money to charity anonymously, and if so he would be wise to not take the bait.

          It's easy to do it, and you don't have to be a millionare. I opened an account with Fidelity's Charitable Gift Fund [charitablegift.org] a few years back, and since then have made every charitable gift through it, anonymously.

          The Fund is a public charity. The donor makes a non-revocable contribution and receives a charitable deduction at that time (subject to the usual limitations). Subsequently, the donor makes grant recommendations to the fund. The recommendation is reviewed for compliance (i.e. the recipient is a US charitable organization), and the grant is made. The donor's name can be included, or the donor can request anonymity.

          The donor cannot receive any benefit in return or recommend a grant to satisfy a pledge. The grant cannot be used for political purposes. There are other restrictions, described here [charitablegift.org].

          In the past fiscal year, the Fund made grants totaling nearly $700 million, and has exceeded $5 billion in grants since inception in 1991.

    • by mellon (7048) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:17PM (#14581690) Homepage
      I can't add anything to the basic point you've made here, because it's perfect. However, to go in another direction with this, another thing to consider is that ultimately it's great for Bill Gates if he's generous, and it's great for Steve Jobs if he's generous, and either way it's really none of our business. That is, it's not our job to decide what the right thing is for Steve Jobs to do or Bill Gates to do. It's their job.

      If they screw it up, that's too bad, and if we're in a position to give them advice that will help them to do a thing that will produce more happiness for them, that's wonderful, but usually we're not in that position, and if we aren't, then making judgements about it boils down to gossip.

      One might make the argument that it's wrong for a person to amass great wealth in the abstract, and that therefore a person who accidentally amasses great wealth should do their best to divest themselves of it in a constructive way. But again, this falls to the person who makes the "mistake" of amassing this great wealth to judge, not to me.

      Now if Mr. Jobs or Mr. Gates were to do something illegal to get their money, or something that we think should be illegal, then we could have a debate about whether the legal system had failed, and what to do about it, but again we wouldn't be talking about whether or not Mr. Jobs or Mr. Gates were a good or bad person - we'd be debating matters of public policy, which in itself would require no judgements to be made about the motivations of either party.
    • by gosand (234100)
      It was not the amount that mattered, but the attitude and the self-sacrafice. And from this distance who can judge those factors about Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

      It isn't about judging, there are certain facts here. I'll use Gates as an example. He has made no financial sacrifices. WHAT?! But he has given millions upon millions to charity - maybe billions!

      About 5 years ago, I did a rough calculation on his net worth. If he gave $1 million away, it was the equivalent of someone worth $100,000 giving awa

  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:37PM (#14581059) Journal

    From the fine article, near the end, drawing a conclusion:

    On the evidence, he's [Jobs] nothing more than a greedy capitalist who's amassed an obscene fortune. It's shameful. In almost every way, Gates is much more deserving of Jobs' rock star exaltation.

    I respectfully disagree with the author's conclusion, unless by indicating "much more deserving", he is setting the bar incredibly low. Gates' fortune is every bit as obscene as the author claims Jobs' fortune is, and probably much more suspect in how Gates acquired it.

    I get sick of the implied (or inferred by the masses) rags-to-riches yarn of Gates, college dropout made good. It's not true, Gates is of wealthy background, was a spoiled brat from the start and never had anything to lose, i.e., he was always destined to be rich and that would never have been in doubt. Unfortunately, he chose to become a goon and run roughshod over the technology world, amassing wealth unethically, and eventually (by DOJ judgement) illegally.

    While I expect good to come of money Gates gives away, it's certainly less because Gates is a good guy and more that money can buy good things.

    As for the slashdot question posed: Is it important that donations from rich billionaires be public or should they remain private?, probably yes. But probably more important is the motivation. I don't get any sense Bill's motivation is humanitarian, but do sense much of the work and generosity comes more from his wife Linda.

    • Of course, Apple has never done anything evil or unethical...like suing fan rumor sites...or shutting down clone makers...nah, you're so right.

      That was sarcasm btw. I put Jobs and Gates in exactly the same ethical category. Low to none.
    • Gates made his fortune through criminal activity. He has an uncanny sense of knowing exactly how far over the line of legality his company can go before the punishment will be painful, and he stops just short of that line.

      Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. And there is a long history of abusive behavior investigated by the government, and consent decrees signed by Microsoft that were later ignored by the government. Or the response to Microsoft's violation of the consent decree is yet another investiga
    • I respectfully disagree with the author's conclusion, unless by indicating "much more deserving", he is setting the bar incredibly low. Gates' fortune is every bit as obscene as the author claims Jobs' fortune is, and probably much more suspect in how Gates acquired it.

      I've heard quite a lot of people claim that we shouldn't care if Microsoft is a big, evil corporation, because Bill Gates is very charitable. One of my friends has even said something to the effect of, "Well, yeah, Microsoft rips me off, but

    • Anonymous or not? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rewt66 (738525) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:36PM (#14581958)
      I'm going to assume that a fair amount of Gates' giving does some good. It saves some lives in the third world, it helps some people. Probably a lot of people, given the amount of money involved.

      So, from a pragmatic point of view, I don't care whether it's anonymous or not. He wants the credit? Fine. Let him have it. I mean, imagine that you're some dude living in the third world, and some rich American is willing to spend a few bucks so that you don't die from some easily-preventable disease. He's doing it because he wants to be considered a good guy, rather than because he really cares about you, poor third world person that you are. Do you care? Or are you grateful that he did it, for whatever reason? You bet you're grateful. What's more, you probably consider him to be a pretty good guy.

      It's like the actor who, immediately after Katrina, went down to New Orleans, rented a boat with his own money, and started pulling people out of houses. So he had a video crew with him. So? If I'm one of the people he saved, do I care that he wanted some publicity? Not at all. In fact, if I ever wound up talking to a reporter, I'd be sure to mention how this wonderful guy spent his own money to rescue me (thereby giving him some publicity).

      I'm no Bill Gates fanboy. I despise his business ethics. But I appreciate his charity work.

      Don't require the motives to be perfectly pure. Just be glad that he's doing something, for whatever reason.
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday January 27, 2006 @06:15PM (#14583737) Journal
      Rather than just do donations, I wish that gates would use the money to do the things that others can not (and will not) do.
      1. Go to Mars, or to the moon.
      2. Build a high-speed maglev (above 150 MPH, less than 300) across a country
      3. Invest heavily in alternative energy.
      4. Persue exploration in the ocean depths.


      Basically, the one that I admire is not jobs (a showman), or gates (doing this to turn his reputation), but Paul Allen. Paul is investing in risky start-ups. Some make it big, others do not. He was the largest investor into internet over cable in 1994. He basically, created that market and all the jobs associated with it. Now he is investing into space. His invstment won the X-prize and I am guessing that he will make several other key investments that will create far more jobs and do more good than simply throwing a few dollars would ever do.
  • by doubtless (267357) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:38PM (#14581066) Homepage
    then may I choose Superman?
  • by saden1 (581102) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:38PM (#14581068)
    My father is my hero! Gates wouldn't even lend me money to buy my first car.
  • Woz. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by heldlikesound (132717) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:39PM (#14581078) Homepage
    He's very strange, but you can't deny that he was the brains behind Apple's beginnings.
    • Re:Woz. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:43PM (#14581167) Homepage Journal
      Within the same minute (you must have hit Send two clock ticks before me, as my post came two clock ticks later). Yes, it depends on what you value- if you value money and material possessions and billionaires being able to give away shitloads of money, then Jobs or Gates would be role models, but for people like us, who value engineering and family, The Woz is downright amazing.
    • by jcr (53032)
      Woz built the Apple I and the Apple II, but without Jobs and Markkula, you never would have heard of either of those machines.

      Steve Jobs is why Apple became a business, and Mike Markkula is why it became a large business.

      -jcr
  • can it be neither? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scronline (829910)
    As far as heroes go, I would have to say Linus would be much higher ranked than either Jobs or Gates.
  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:39PM (#14581080) Homepage Journal
    By far, when it comes to character, the OTHER Steve from Apple beats those two all hollow. Yes, Jobs and Gates are more materially rich- but The Woz is rich in family and hacking ability, and as far as role models go, I'd much rather be the later.
    • If you take The Woz as Apple's number two, against Ballmer at Microsoft, Apple comes out on top and all is right with the world. Does Ballmer donate anything?
  • That's a tough choice. Perhaps I'd have more time to think about it if I weren't too busy at my job. Oh wait...
  • Giving.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hptux06 (879970)
    Well, I can only say read this [bbc.co.uk]. Apparently, he's giving $600m to preventing TB.

    Here's a thought though: Does it matter how much people give, or is it the reason that they give?
  • by stoney27 (36372) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:41PM (#14581125) Homepage
    Before Bill married Melinda I don't think he really though much about the world around him. Not to say that she hasn't changed him and now he does. But I think it more her and he just gets behind what she brings up.

    As for the question, I favor Jobs.

    -S
    • It's more than that. Melinda is a good influence, but I think it was when he first became friends and bridge partners with Warren Buffett is when he changed to more of a world-aware person.

      Buffett has a very similar attitude in that he thinks he is a better accumulator of money while he is alive, but near death most of it will be sent back out into the world.

      s

  • Steve Jobs.

    Pro prio: He has done a remarkable job with Apple. From securing the first steps of Maslow, to the rocket Apple is destined to be for the next five years.

    Pro secundo: He has won every victory, fighting honestly with QUALITY as the preferred weapon. Pixar never had a "B Team". People invest in Apple because of innovation and quality. People invest in Dell because they are slightly better than other PC distributors when it comes to logistics.

    Pro tertio: Steve Jobs ultimate motive is to brin

  • Call me cynical, call me what you may, but I think this value judgment
    is totally off. In short, the elements being compared and how they
    relate to your daily life are skewed.

    If I were the receipient of one of Gates' grants, I'm sure he would be
    my hero. At the same time I think it's great that he's putting his vast
    fortune to so much good. That's all brilliant.

    However, on a day-to-day basis, I get joy and productivity gains from
    using Apple products and Apple OS. I get pain and suffering from using
    Microsoft pr
  • Woz
  • Gates (Score:4, Insightful)

    by metlin (258108) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:43PM (#14581165) Journal
    Without a doubt.

    Which is why, I'd rather have Microsoft be a monopoly and make billions and use a chunk of that to help the world, rather than a lot of other companies and executives (Darth McBride, Larry Ellison) who just have all that money and do no good with it. Well, no good for the world that is.

    For humanitarian things, definitely Gates.

    If I wanted opinions on being stylish and wearing turtlenecks, I'd ask Jobs.
  • So Bill Gates donates $20m to some charity, that's approx .6% of his total net worth (as in less than 1%) I donate $100 which at any given time is about 2.1% of my total net worth. Who has sacrificed more for the good of humanity??
    • by XMilkProject (935232) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:11PM (#14581611) Homepage
      The logic of "He has alot so it's no big deal for him to donate alot." is dumb as fuck.

      I'm extremely disappointed to see the slashdot crowd almost entirely bashing Gates becuase they don't care for microsofts software. This assumption that somehow Jobs is a better person because you like his software more is stupid, the companies are run with the same goals, Apple just has a different marketing strategy and alot less brute force to throw behind their decisions. I'm quite confident that if Apple had 96% of the OS market, and Microsoft had 4%, then peoples opinions would be exactly the opposite as they are now. It's the same old "Hate the big guy!" attitude, and its not exactly novel or interesting anymore.

      Gates has helped millions of people by donating more money than most large countries. This is a wonderful thing and I applaud him for it. Jobs may or may not be donating money, as the article says that no documentation of this could be verified, but It really doesn't matter to me, it is completely up to him what he does with his money. And now that my rant is over, I'll throw my opinion out there.... I was more than a little disappointed when Apple ran their marketing campaign a few years ago using pictures of many famous civil rights people and other people like Einstien. The exploitation of good people for making money seemed awfully sickening to me. But this is likely a result of a powerful marketing team and not really the fault of Jobs.
      • by MartinG (52587) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:45PM (#14582055) Homepage Journal
        I'm extremely disappointed to see the slashdot crowd almost entirely bashing Gates becuase they don't care for microsofts software.

        It's not neccesarily because they don't care for microsofts software.

        Perhaps it is because microsoft is a convicted monopolist and Bill Gates is the worst of the bunch. They have been found guilty in court of illegally crushing their competition in the name of profits. Had they not done that, there would have been more competition and prices would have been driven down. Gates and microsoft would not be so rich in the first place and the money would instead distributed in the rest of society where it should have been in the first place.

        Gates gestures are nothing IMO compared to the harm he and others have caused society with their monopolistic practices.

        This is nothing to do with software, and everything to do with a bunch of over powerful, greedy, damaging people who will stop at nothing to "stay ahead" in their industry.

        Forgive me for not falling at their feet when they give a few percent of their immorally gained wealth back to society in some way.

  • by aralin (107264) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:44PM (#14581175)
    I have no idea who decided to compare Steve Jobs and Melinda Gates and why, but it just seems silly. The only things these two have in common is that they are wealthy. AFAIK Bill wouldn't give a cent to charity if Melinda wouldn't make him. Why don't we just scrap the humanitarian efforts alltogether and just compare Bill Gates and Steve Jobs based on the work they do, not the work their money do in some charities.

    I'd say my hero is Bill Gates, because he showed the world, there is no reason to be afraid to be openly evil. I love him for paving the way for all of us villains to be. He shows us it is good to be evil :)

  • "Do you know what the definition of a hero is? Someone who gets other people killed. You can look it up later." ~ Zoe Warren, "Serenity" (2005)
    Considering the definition, I'll go with Gates because of his business tactics.
  • They both helped give us GNU [wikipedia.org] and Linux, [wikipedia.org] which will eventually benefit everyone.

    Linus is also a great manager [businessweek.com] and both he and Richard won the 1998 EFF Pioneer Award. [wikipedia.org]

    Free is the best charity of all.
  • by QuatermassX (808146) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:48PM (#14581242) Homepage

    As a creative sort of chap, I've always thought Jobs' heady mix of insanity, cunning and insight to be quite refreshing. Bill Gates is a nasty cold fish who seemingly knows nothing about humanity save that which he can buy.

    Jobs makes things that are not just useful to me - they've helped bring out my artistic talents over the years - they've enabled me to create.

    What has Bill Gates done for me and my world? Nothing, actually. He perpetuated some highly dysfunctional ways to interact with machines and generally works at dominating the distribution of information.

    So he uses he obscene wealth (and it is obscene - and a bit of a fluke combined with Sam Walton-like business sense) for good. Well, that's great and I expect nothing less. Maybe he'll be considered another Andrew Carnegie someday, but I see very little to be interested by or admiring of about the man.

    The things that Jobs and Co dream up bring pleasure and fun into my life.

  • by Ed Almos (584864)
    Steve Jobs is my hero, but not for the reasons you state. The two Steves (OK, both of them are my heros) were there at the right time and they knew exactly what to do. Thanks to their work we have the computer industry we have today.

    Bill Gates was also (on numerous occassions) at the right place at the right time but he chose the dark path. Now, after a quarter of a century he's trying to atone for his sins by giving his money away. I hate the man with a passion because thanks to him and his company the com
  • ... he has a guilty conscience?

    Probably not though. People aren't pure evil or pure good and are very inconsistent.

    There's no reason why someone can't be a total selfish fuckwit and responsible for a huge amount of damage in one area (technology), while simultaneously being a generous humanitarian in another area (disease charity).
  • Its important that rich billionares make donations. The public or privateness isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. If I were in their shoes I make them public in hopes of inspiring other wealthy people to do the same.

    Not having billions, I would love to make my donations anonymously to keep from being on the fund raising mailing list of thousands of organizations. I figure if you are a billionare, you are on the list anyway, and you can pay someone to through out all the damn return addr
  • Loaded Questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saxerman (253676) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:51PM (#14581301) Homepage
    Why not look up to those who do good works every day without worrying about bottom lines or shareholder value. Do we really want our business leaders to also be our moral leaders?
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:52PM (#14581314)
    And even more important: Is it important that donations from rich billionaires be public or should they remain private?

    "Rich billionaires"!!

    Moving right aloing, this isn't an "important question", it's a stupid one. No one can spend a billion dollars on anything in secrecy; most especially not the CEO of an American company.

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:52PM (#14581318)
    > What is more important, be a showmen technologist like Jobs or an humanitarian missionaire like Gates? And even more important: Is it important that donations from rich billionaires be public or should they remain private?"

    It's more important to do what you do best. Jobs really is a showman, and he really is technologist. Gates? Gates was a damn good coder, and he is a damn proficient businessman. The humanitarian stuff only started in earnest when he realized he had to do some serious brown-nosing with the government in order to get a free pass from the DOJ for his abuse of his monopoly.

    On that score - it's Jobs by a million miles. He knows what he's good at. He does it.

    Besides, you really don't wanna see Gates putting on a show with technology [snopes.com] anyways, but at least now you know where Steve "monkeyboy" Ballmer got his dance lessons.

    Private or public donations? Not my money, none of my freaking business.

    If it were my money, it'd be donated in private.

    "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
    - Some long-haired hippy freak

    You don't have to believe in Jesus -- hell, you don't even have to believe in God to see that the long-haired hippy freak had a pretty good point. If you support a cause - donate. There doesn't have to be a God for you to feel pretty fucking good about what you've done to advance your views.

  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:54PM (#14581343) Journal
    I think charity is a great idea, and it's great that Gates is being so open with his endorsement of charity. But I think Gates & Jobs (along with many others) have created far more value for the world by creating an entire new field in which millions of people have gained employment, and been able to feed & shelter their own families without the need for charity. Not to take anything away from volunteers or philanthropists, but from that perspective, they have probably been far more helpful to the world than somebody like Mother Theresa.
  • I'd say Woz. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:57PM (#14581399) Homepage
    Not just because he was the brains behind the APPLE I, ][, ///. Because of his hacking in the past, Dial-a-joke, and Unison [woz.org].

    I met him at Apple Boston in 1983 and he had a great attitude, even when I asked him about the Franklin.

  • Warren Buffett (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ahoehn (301327) <andrew@noSpAM.hoe.hn> on Friday January 27, 2006 @02:59PM (#14581431) Homepage
    This spring I had the opportunity to hear Warren Buffett give a talk in Omaha. At the outset I wasn't too excited; I'm not really into business, but I learned some things that impressed me.

    The most interesting thing that I learned is that while Buffett isn't a well philanthropist, when he dies, something like 1% of his wealth will go to his children as an inheritance, and the other 99% (currently about $39.6 billion) will go to a charatable foundation. He's told the administrator of that foundation that he wants him to try and "do something huge" with the money, not just spread it out to lots of smaller causes.

    His justification for doing it this way instead of giving to charity right now is that the more money he has, the more money he can make, and the more money he puts into the foundation before he dies.

    Now, it could be easily argued that he just likes making money, and doesn't want to give it away, but his impressively simple lifestyle argues that he certainly doesn't like spending money on himself.

    I imagine that if I had billions of dollars, it would be much more fun to see that money go to work helping people while I was around to see it, but Buffett's plan makes sense from a practical standpoint.
    • Re:Warren Buffett (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MasonMcD (104041)
      The most interesting thing that I learned is that while Buffett isn't a well philanthropist, when he dies, something like 1% of his wealth will go to his children as an inheritance, and the other 99% (currently about $39.6 billion) will go to a charatable foundation. He's told the administrator of that foundation that he wants him to try and "do something huge" with the money, not just spread it out to lots of smaller causes.

      Maybe someone else has answered this, but where the hell does one park 40 billion d
  • neither actually (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jilles (20976) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:21PM (#14581739) Homepage
    Gates is a bit of an oddball. I can't think of anything particularly brilliant he's ever done and yet he's the richest guy on the planet so he must be doing something right. Arguably making a deal was with IBM was the smartest thing he's ever done (and the stupidest thing IBM has ever done). But from a technology perspective, nothing exciting happened at the time. I mean DOS was a shitty system, even at the time it was introduced.

    Jobs on the other hand has always associated himself with cool stuff though none of it can really be attributed to him. He was just sort of there at the right moment, surrounded by brilliant people doing really great stuff.

    If I'd have to pick one it would be Jobs. Mainly because I like people capable of thinking out of the box. There's too few of those in this world. And Jobs has certainly proved that he's capable of that. Gates on the other hand ... well need I remind anyone of his 1995 visionairy masterpiece in which he managed to almost totally ignore the internet? To this very day the guy rarely says or does anything interesting. He's sitting on a huge pile of cash but other than giving it away to charity (which is good) he's not doing anything interesting with it. Somehow, I think Steve Jobs would never be able to just sit on a pile of cash like that. He'd be itching to spend it on something, anything.
  • by un1xl0ser (575642) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:36PM (#14581954)
    Fuck 'em. What about Steve Wozniak?

    http://www.woz.org/ [woz.org]
  • by Ranger (1783) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:42PM (#14582019) Homepage
    Oh man, tough choice. Why not the cuddly Larry Ellison or the charismatic Scott McNealy to choose from in addition to the magnificent Steve Jobs and godlike Bill Gates? Wouldn't it be great if we could combine the "best" traits of each of those individuals. We could have an ubergeek-computergod and we could all bow down and say "I'm not worthy!"

    Well, given the choices, all in all, I'd say I'd have to go with Steve Wozniak as my choice for hero, or possibly Larry Wall.
  • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:43PM (#14582028) Homepage Journal
    When I was a young adult, I thought how I acted, such as my personal morality and being a law-abiding citizen, was what was important. I generalized that to others, forming my opinion of them based on that.

    Later, I decided that attention to the letter of the law was less important than doing what I thought was right in the higher sense. My opinion of others followed.

    Still later, I realized that giving to others of my money, my time, and personal kindness was the key to being a good person. Still, that's how I began to judge.

    Now, I don't care about being a "good person" in anyone else's eyes, and I tend to be a lot less judgy than before.

    Anonymously helping others, showing kindness when you can, taking care of your responsibilities, and being a good citizen are all faces on the same multisided die.

    Giving a trunk full of cash to the needy is no more important than dealing fairly with your customers, your employer, or your employees. An overflowing generosity in public doesn't make up for churlish behavior in private, nor do kind words and clean hands cover stingyness.

    It's all the same.

    So tip the waitress the price of the meal, and tell her she's great. Hug a child. Vote well. Be virtuous, and you know exactly what I mean.

    Life is sweeter if you play nice.

    Ok, for those of you who don't know what I mean by virtue: you're not trying.
  • Jobs saved me (Score:5, Informative)

    by BRSloth (578824) <julio@nOsPaM.juliobiason.net> on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:54PM (#14582152) Homepage Journal
    I know this can sound weird, but Jobs is my hero. Not because what he did for all the people, but because something he said.

    I was on my deepest depression crisis ever and I was already planning my suicide. I was sure that day would be my last day when I came across his speech at Stanford University [stanford.edu]. And his words made me rethink everything I was going through at that moment, and gave me enough strength to give up the plan and keep going.

    So yeah, Jobs is my personal hero. No matter how great amount of money Gates throw at projects, Jobs is the guy who said the right thing at the right moment.

    [And I tried to send him my story, but I'm almost sure he would never see it]
  • Generous Criminals (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nagora (177841) on Friday January 27, 2006 @03:57PM (#14582201)
    Spreading about money you stole is no big deal in my book. Perhaps the OEMs and other small business people Gates has strong-armed into paying the Microsoft Tax would have given more money to the sick and needy. In fact, as a proportion of their whole income, they probably would have.

    TWW

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Friday January 27, 2006 @04:01PM (#14582251) Homepage Journal
    Of the two I respect Gates for what he does with his money. No one is required to give it away, even a small portion of it. Yet he is dumping quite a bit of money and large amount of it as well. More refreshing is that compared to the likes of Buffet Gates is not doing it promote certain PC-centric causes, he is trying to use his money to make a difference. Gates is the face of Microsoft to many but he isn't Microsoft.

    I don't think the same can be said about Jobs and Apple. To me Apple is Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs is Apple. It is so hard to see the two apart because with Jobs I don't think we would still have Apple Computers and the PC world would be less for it. We can have Microsoft without Gates as there are many people who can keep the behemoth moving. The problem with Apple is is that it doesn't work as a Behemoth. It really survived on the personality and drive of one person, no one else in the organization had the right stuff to make it work. It takes a special person to push the limits and know what will appeal. Sure Jobs has made some blunders but his successes are always so much greater that they outshine his failures. That is kind of how Turner is too, the difference is that Jobs has the right flair.

    If Gates has one major problem is that he really is boring. But Microsoft didn't get where it was because of it being flashy. It got there through methodical plodding that is required to make good companies large ones. They didn't take big risks, they take calculated risks. It did make a lot of people wealthy and some fabously wealthy. It is very good to see that Gates, with probably a big amount of his wife's influence, do something truly effective with his money. He does have more than any one person or family could use and even after his donations he still does, the great thing about him is that he does not appear to have any ending in sight for his giving. He could be buying up the world's businesses and building a personal empire but he instead is building up the world he lives in and the best part is that most of those he helps will never know who he is. That last part is what truly makes him my favorite. It is one thing to help people who you know and will know you for that help, its a whole 'nuther thing to help those who will never know you or of you.
  • by Zerbey (15536) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @04:09PM (#14582325) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about Steve Jobs, but Bill Gates has, in fact, donated quite a substantial sum of money to charity. The problem I continue to have (and this isn't against Bill Gates per se), is that so many super-rich people make bold statements about how much money they have given. At the end of the day, however, they are still super-rich. Bill Gates for example has enough money to last him several lifetimes.

    Why do they need so much money? I respect the fact they worked bloody hard to get it, but you reach a point where having $1 Billion vs having $10 Billion really doesn't make that much off a difference! Now, imagine what that $9 Billion could do for humanity.

    Most donations I see from celebrities and other wealthy individuals represent less than 1% of their net worth. This makes me sick.
  • Donald Knuth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by linguae (763922) on Friday January 27, 2006 @04:57PM (#14582864)

    My hero would be somebody like Donald Knuth [stanford.edu]. He is a true computer scientist and wrote TAOCP [stanford.edu] and TeX singlehandedly, amongst many other accomplishments.

    As a future computer scientist, I would rather be in Knuth's shoes than in Gates's shoes or Jobs's shoes (even though I like Jobs a lot).

  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Friday January 27, 2006 @05:19PM (#14583118) Homepage
    "Monkey Boy" Balmer!

    After all, he already declared his undying love to us developers, developers, developers!

  • by Cryptnotic (154382) * on Friday January 27, 2006 @05:54PM (#14583520) Homepage
    Because $640K should be enough for everyone.

  • a robber barron... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geoff lane (93738) on Friday January 27, 2006 @06:51PM (#14584046)
    ...is still a robber barron if he gives away 10% of the booty to the poor.
  • Let's compare the REAL brains of the outfits, OK?
  • by digital photo (635872) on Friday January 27, 2006 @08:08PM (#14584762) Homepage Journal

    From the Forbes 2005 net worth list:

    • Steve Jobs
      $3 billion dollars net worth
    • Bill Gates
      $46.5 billion dollars net worth

    There is no denying that Bill Gates has donated alot of money. But that isn't too surprising considering he makes a ridiculous amount of money. His money makes ridiculous amounts of money just sitting around. Bill Gates is also seeking good will from the public because his image needs the good will.

    While his donations DO help people, it is doubtful that the intentions originated from charitable origins.

    Steve Jobs, on the other hand, has a fairly good public image. His goodwill currency is good and he has no need to be charitable. In fact, it could very well be that he donates anonymously so that there isn't publicity drawn to him.

    Articles like the one Wired and ArsTechnica leads one to believe that those who donate more are better people. The natural conclusion from such an observation is that richer people are better people because they can donate more. History has shown this to not be the case.

    There are quite a few stories, sayings, and proverbs which illustrates the the above. My favorite is one involving donations at a temple during the New Years. Many people are donating money at the local temple. Whenever someone makes a particularly generous donation, there is a gong sounded. A fairly wealthy man comes in and donates chest after chest of gold. He is thanked, but there is no gong sounded. Shortly after, as he is leaving, a poor begger woman approaches and tries to donate a handful of copper coins. When she drops her few coins into the charity box, a monk sounds a gong, signifying a great contribution.

    The wealthy man notices this and angrily questions why his many chests of gold did not sound the gong but her's did?

    The monk answered that she had very little and yet gave as much as she could. While her few copper coins were not worth much to wealthier people, it was a great sum of money for her. Whereas the amount given by the wealthy man represented a much lesser sum. It was money the man can easily afford to part with whereas the coppers were not for the begger woman.

    I do not deny the good the money will do. But I have to say that to judge someone by how much they donate is a poor means of judging.

    The wealthy tend to donate because it is something which gives them the attention of others or because the charitable donation garners them profitable returns elsewhere.

    Charity really should be for the benefit of those receiving the charity, not for the adulation of the giver. To know that you have done good for an organization, a group, or a cause should be enough. For someone like Bill Gates, such charitable givings are like bandages to his and his company's public image.

    In stark contrast, Steve Jobs is a fairly private man. Mainly keeps to himself and doesn't make a scene unless it's at one of his company's presentations or unveilings. He's either at work or he's not. If he donates to charity, he certainly isn't making any noise about having done so.

    Given the chance, I'm sure Steve Jobs' company would behave much like a Microsoft Monopoly. But it isn't. And neither is Steve's worth.

    Given the choice, I would choose neither Bill nor Steve as my hero. They are both geniuses and visionaries in their own way. But they are not heroes.

    You want to pick a hero? Pick Steve Wozniak. Now there is a hero. Pick the local volunteer at the homeless shelter. There's a hero. Pick the dutiful daughter or son who attends to their elderly parents and/or grandparents. Now there's a hero.

    There are everyday hero's all around us. But most of us ignore them like we do the beggar woman who gives, because we are so distracted by the chests of gold. I wouldn't choose Bill or Steve.

  • Its a toss-up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:11PM (#14585216) Homepage
    Well I like Bill Gates as a nerd and techie, obviously he's a man who got to live a dream many of us envy. Im not a fan of Windows, but I appreciate the guys' efforts to keep with doing tech and not becoming some PHB, also from what accounts I've read he's not a bad dude to talk with either. (he is quite the hacker, in that MS sometimes gets important stuff done too quick and dirty)

    Steve Jobs I admire for not taking second best, he may be a tyrant to get things done but he knows (or at least knew, I'm not too fond of OSX's shortcommings either) how to get his crew to code the extra hour and make something absoutely great into insanely great (at least he did).

  • What's real? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by catahoula10 (944094) on Friday January 27, 2006 @09:25PM (#14585315)
    "What is more important, be a showmen technologist like Jobs or an humanitarian missionaire like Gates?

    Perceptions can be wrong. And the media can supply plenty of incorrect perceptions.

    I thank both men for giving us the computers we all have become so use to. And both men have had a huge influence on the computer market too, imho.

    But to answer the question; Gates is a very shrewd business man who is known for creating a market for himself. My experience is these types of people generally are not of the humanitarian type until they are forced to be.(nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong with Gates having a good PR team and wife to making him look humanitarian). Jobs OTOH is a people driven person, even though he may drive them too hard. Because he understands the value of streaching folks to get their best. So he is more likely to be a real humanitarian under non-work conditions.

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson

Working...