Steve Jobs is on the cover of USA Today with the text “Most influential business leaders” over his shoulder. USA Today ranked the “25 Most noteworthy in business” and Steve Jobs ranked third, only beaten by Bill Gates at first and Alan Greenspan in the number two spot. The list goes covers the past 25 years since it is USA Today’s 25th anniversary. As with any list that ranks anything, there’s bound to be plenty of discussion of who should really be ranked number one. Should Steve Jobs be ahead of Bill Gates since the Mac OS clearly influenced Windows?
Steve Jobs is in some elite company as even Mac fans must admit that Bill Gates has greatly influenced the world with Windows PCs dominating homes and the workplace. Alan Greenspan can sneeze and have an effect on interest rates. Also notable are the founders of Google in the fourth spot. Is Steve Jobs more influential than the creators of the search engine that everyone and their mother uses?
I think it is a toss up. Google does not necessarily cause changes in its field. Let’s face it, Google pretty much killed its competition in the search engine business and is so far ahead that everyone else is playing catch up. But then again, Google shapes the way people see the world. If a site does not show up in a Google search, it might as well not even exist. Other businesses must optimize their web sites such that they will show up on the first page of a Google search. However, this is a list about the business leaders and not necessarily the technologies that were created. After all, how many other business leaders have their own Reality Distortion Field?
Apple under Steve Jobs has influenced many other companies. Arguably, all PC laptops would still be beige, gray or black with little style. Apple’s dedication to stylish products has easily changed how all PC makers design their products. Apple has even pulled companies into new markets. Would Microsoft have gone into the music player market without Apple’s incredible success with the iPod?
Oh and by the way, for all those who still hold a grudge against Michael Dell for that whole “Apple should close up shop” thing, he’s ranked seventeen.