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Setting the Bar for Provocative Opinions Really Low…

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, no stranger to provocative opinions, is at it again. During a recent interview in Toronto, Gladwell said that people a half-century from now will revere Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates but will have no clear memory of his longtime tech rival, Apple chief Steve Jobs.

Is that really a provocative opinion?

Does anyone really think Steve Jobs is going to be remembered 50 years from now? I wouldn’t bet too hard on him being remembered 25 years from now.

Gladwell thinks that Bill Gates might be remembered for his philanthropy. Not too likely. Philanthropists don’t get remembered. Not unless they put their names on buildings and even then it’s a wash. How many people use Carnegie libraries and have any idea what that means. There were philanthropists who did much more to fight disease and aren’t remembered.

“We need to be clear when we venerate entrepreneurs what we are venerating,” Gladwell said in Toronto. “They are not moral leaders. If they were moral leaders, they wouldn’t be great businessmen.” AJDTZGU26Q7E

Aren’t moral leaders just people who promoted themselves really well? Isn’t Gladwell just a guy who promotes himself really well?

The same things that can be said about Jobs and Gates apply to most public personalities. They’re overrated, they’re sharp at seizing opportunities and they picked the right moment to get ahead.

Blu-Ray and the Wrath of Michael Bay

Blu-Ray and the Wrath of Michael Bay. Hey that rhymes. But not that long ago somebody paid Paramount a few hundred million dollars to go HD-DVD. Back then this was considered a great victory for HD-DVD and one of the signs of Blu-Ray’s collapse. Michael Bay lashed out at Paramount for choosing an inferior format in response to Microsoft’s bribery. Microsoft denied that it had paid off Paramount to choose HD-DVD but strongly suggested that Bill Gates might be perfectly capable of it, if bribery was called for.

Michael Bay blogged about it, criticizing Paramount and suggesting he wouldn’t be doing Transformers 2, allowing the deluded fans of Transformers to breathe a sigh of relief. Then Michael Bay retracted his Baytimatum, the Michael Bay version of an ultimatum, the blog post got deleted and Bay went along with HD-DVD briefly and even wrote a Transformers 2 script, but not without habitually bashing HD-DVD.

Now Bay is gloating over the supposed fall of HD-DVD in the face of his favored Blu Ray and winning friends and influencing people while doing it. Now Bay was right but all he did was hold out for the superior format, which isn’t necessarily heroic, especially when you consider Sony’s history of tech screwups and how quickly Bay himself folded in the face of a little pressure from Paramount.

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