- Friday will be the first anniversary of the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
- We considered whether any current tech figures will become "the next Steve Jobs"
- Readers suggested other candidates, weighed in on our list
In advance of Friday, the first anniversary of the death of Apple's co-founder, we published a story pondering a question many in the tech world have been asking for a while: Who will be the next Steve Jobs?
We put forward seven names, along with pros and cons for each: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple Senior Vice President Jonathan Ive, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Paypal and Tesla Motors co-founder and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, and SCVNGR and LevelUP CEO Seth Priebatsch.
What followed was a lively, mostly thoughtful discussion by you, our readers. Hundreds of people took to the comments section to reflect on Jobs' legacy (the good, the bad and the ugly of it) and consider the question at hand.
You gave your opinions on the folks we mentioned, suggested names that we didn't include and pondered whether anyone can ever be another Jobs -- or whether anyone should be.
Here are some of our favorite comments from the discussion (with minor tweaks for spelling and grammar).
On how our candidates in the story stack up:
Elon Musk is fantastic. He's either going to be one of the best CEOs ever, or he's going to burn out with the most inventive vision probably anyone ever had. I hope he has success. You can't compare him to Steve Jobs though, their goals are not the same. Elon is way better and may very well cement his name as the best CEO of this generation and possibly this century.
I'm not much of a techie, but I'd have to say Zuckerberg because Facebook, like Apple, has changed the world and the way we do things. Plus they're both geeks and started at a very young age, both are arrogant, etc.
Of the people pictured, I'd say the "next Jobs" title has to go to Bezos. In fact, I think Amazon's innovations began to eclipse those of Apple even before Jobs' death. There's more growth and innovation going on between one generation of Kindle (be they e-ink or Fire) to the next than there is between one generation of iPhone/iPod/iPad to the next.
Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer -- we need products we can touch and experience, not folks running server farms. My vote goes to Elon Musk. Just like Jobs, when others pooh-poohed his ideas, he made it happen.
I would say Musk. The guy truly innovated how we do e-commerce, and SpaceX is another bold idea. To say that he hasn't changed how we live is shortsighted, considering the effect Paypal has on commerce and what it has pioneered online. It may not be as direct to touch, but most any time I buy something online, he is involved. Big ideas and big vision, stuff that seems so radical, that is where innovation will come from.
On whom we left out:
Don't forget about the other big Steve: Steve Ballmer of Microsoft. Microsoft has started joining the hardware side of the industry along with the software side, and they are also growing in the mobile and consumer parts as well. Yes, they are still a little bigger with commercial & business customers, but consumers are becoming a bigger part of that. Also, don't forget developers. I do software, app and web development at home, and that has not only helped keep me as a Microsoft customer, but helped me discover and love even more Microsoft products.
Without a doubt it's Mark Shuttleworth, the man behind the Ubuntu Linux Distribution and Canonical, the company that supports Ubuntu.
I think the question should be, who will be the next Bill Gates? Gates has done more to shape the world than Jobs could have ever done. He has also given back so much more than the greedy Steve Jobs. Gates has literally saved lives with his generosity.
Technologically speaking, Gates certainly has done more to advance the current state of technology than any one single person (that I can think of) currently living. ... He may not have been as trendy as Jobs or had the eye for trendsetting like Jobs did (though, even that is arguable, as most of the work was done by Apple's fleet of designers), but he certainly has a better heart and mind.
Others mentioned: Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey, Google creators Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs and, for reasons we can't quite comprehend, Vladimir Putin.
There won't (or shouldn't) be another Steve Jobs:
There is no one as complex, demanding, quirky or brilliant -- all wrapped up in one package -- as Jobs. Truly unique. Won't be another like him.
We really don't need another Steve Jobs. R.I.P. We need another Einstein, another Churchill, a lot more da Vincis, another Lincoln, more (Martin) Luther Kings, Gandhis, Beethovens, Chaplins ... and Chuck Norris! Seriously, Steve Jobs is way overrated. Even as a manager he sucked.
No one. I have sort of a theory of an era that begins with Andy Warhol's soup cans and ends with Jobs' death. To me, Andy Warhol's soup can art conveyed the idea of the iconic image of a physical product living on its own, becoming disembodied. Jobs and Apple became the real-world realization of that. We are at the point where there really isn't anything new to invent in this area.
Was there the next Edison? Was there the next Einstein? Was there the next (scientist Michael) Faraday? Why should there be a next Jobs? The beauty of creation is that it never produces duplicates. That is what we do.
There are brilliant scientists among us right now creating remarkable things: advanced cybernetics, nanotech, AI, better medicines. If you mean a person who will make new-looking computers and phones, it will be someone we haven't seen yet or haven't been paying attention to. Definitely won't be Zuckerberg, Bezos or Mayer. There will always be a new torchbearer. ... They could show up tomorrow.