Bill Gates says this is the Steve Jobs trait he envied the most

By Tom Huddleston Jr.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are two of the most high-profile tech titans of the past century, and they also had a famously fierce rivalry that evolved into a friendship based on mutual respect until Jobs passed away in 2011.

Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft and the world’s second-wealthiest person, has praised the Apple co-founder in the past for Jobs’ leadership qualities and his uncanny ability to motivate his employees. But, there is one specific trait of Jobs’ that Gates is still particularly envious of, Gates says in a new interview with The Wall Street Journal.

The former Microsoft CEO talks about how he’s had to work hard to become a better public speaker throughout his career and admits that public speaking was one area where Jobs easily had him beat, according to the interview, published on Tuesday to promote the new Netflix documentary on Gates’ life and career that premieres on Sept. 20.

“Steve Jobs was always more of a natural at that,” Gates tells WSJ about Jobs’ public speaking abilities, which Gates says allowed Jobs to sell people on any product, even a subpar one. “He could talk about what, in the case of NeXT Computer [his follow-up after being ousted from Apple], was not that good of a machine, yet mesmerize people to death if they happened to be in the auditorium.”

Gates goes on to say that he wishes he could emulate his former friend and rival in that regard, especially with respect to raising awareness for various philanthropic causes that Gates and his wife, Melinda, champion through their non-profit foundation.

“I wish I could be as magical because I have causes that are in some ways more impactful and I need to make sure they don’t get ignored,” Gates says in the interview, referring to the work the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does to address global issues, from disease prevention research to fighting poverty.

Gates notes that “some things, like eradicating polio, are inherently inspiring,” but he still believes that Jobs’ ability to sell any product or idea would come in handy, even though Gates has worked to improve his public speaking over the years. (At least one billionaire CEO, Zoom founder Eric Yuan, credits a Bill Gates public speaking engagement from the 1990s for inspiring him to start an internet business.)

“I myself am not a preacher,” he says. “I’ve learned a little bit about public speaking, and how to articulate how to solve these problems over time. I’ve gotten OK on that in a certain sense.”

For what it’s worth, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the world’s largest private philanthropic foundations, with an endowment of more than $50 billion. And, Gates and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, have also convinced hundreds of wealthy people to donate billions of dollars of their wealth to charity as part of their Giving Pledge campaign.

This isn’t the first time that Gates has praised Jobs’ ability to get people on board with his particular vision. Jobs had a way of “casting spells” to motivate his employees, Gates told CNN in a July interview.

“I was like a minor wizard because he would be casting spells, and I would see people mesmerized, but because I’m a minor wizard, the spells don’t work on me,” Gates said.

This article first appeared on CNBC and is republished with its permission.

Partner Content


THE COVID-19 GLOBAL pandemic has brought forward the future. It has brought about humanity’s biggest challenge in a century, to choose between...

Mauritius-Africa, a partnership for shared prosperity

By: Mathieu Mandeng In the current complex and challenging circumstances that are testing the...


The City of eThekwini pulled out all stops to give fans of the annual Vodacom Durban July (VDJ). The Virtual Vodacom Durban...

GAUTRAIN – Why It Matters

Economic growth continues to be one of the focus areas for the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) and the Gautrain responds to that...

Trending Now

Snap ! Kodak shares plunge after U.S. blocks $765 million loan deal

(Reuters) - Shares of Eastman Kodak Co (KODK.N) fell about 40% on Monday and were on track for their worst single-day decline...

COMMENT: How Africa should used data and digital to protect itself.

Health is an investment in a nation’s wellbeing and a vehicle for national value creation. Healthy girls and boys go to school, healthy women and men contribute to society, live longer and lead more productive lives. Healthy people are able to save financially, vaccinate their children and do not place added strain on a country’s health infrastructure. There is a direct benefit to investment in healthcare and unlocking economic growth. If only it was that simple.

Wall Street mixed with stimulus in focus; Dow hits over five-month high

All three indexes opened higher after U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive orders that partly restored enhanced unemployment benefits after talks between the White House and top Democrats in Congress about fresh stimulus broke down last week.

What’s Next For The U.S. Economy: Jeffery Sachs

Economist and best-selling author Jeffrey Sachs says a geopolitical Cold War with China would be a “dreadful mistake.” He explains how globalization will persist as societies and workplaces move online and urges policymakers to come together to t

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

- Advertisement -