Bill Gates On Steve Jobs’ Public Speaking Style


'I'll Never Achieve That': Bill Gates On Steve Jobs' Public Speaking Style

Mr Gates said that he still hasn’t mastered Mr Jobs’ ability to seem natural on stage.

Millions of people worldwide remember Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple for the advancements in the world of technology. He had a reputation for captivating audiences with his technological speeches and public speaking style. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, has often voiced jealousy for this ability of Mr Jobs. Mr Gates recently said that he still hasn’t mastered the former Apple CEO’s ability to seem so effortless and natural on stage.

In an interview with Dax Shepard on the Armchair Expert podcast, Mr Gates said, “Steve Jobs was a natural. It was always fun to watch him rehearse because part of his genius was, when he would finally do it, he would make it look like he’s just thinking it up right there,” he said.  “I’ll never achieve that level,” Mr Gates added.

During the podcast, Mr Gates stated that he and Mr Jobs were travelling the world in their respective capacities as representatives of Microsoft and Apple and that their task was to convince individuals and organisations of the potential benefits that tools like spreadsheets and email could have for their daily lives and careers.

“We even called it evangelization. Some people might not like that we stole a term of religion, but telling the story of the magic of software is something that – certainly by the time I was in my 30s – was a big part of the job,” he said.

In an effort to gain support for public education, global health, and the future of artificial intelligence, the Microsoft co-founder is still emulating Mr Jobs’ communication approach today. “A big part of the job I had at Microsoft and the job I have now is explaining what we’re up to in a hopefully straightforward way that connects with a particular audience,” he said.

Mr Gates added, “I like trying to explain things and I like getting feedback – what stories resonated or what didn’t connect.”

In their 2015 book “Becoming Steve Jobs,” authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli described how the former Apple CEO would often months in advance prepare for big speeches. “I once spent an entire day watching him run through multiple rehearsals of a single presentation, tweaking everything from the color and angle of certain spotlights to editing and rearranging the order of the Keynote presentation slides to improve his pacing,” Mr Schlender wrote.

Sharing an instance from the same day, the author said, “He just sat silently onstage with his chin in his hand, staring at the floor for nearly 15 minutes out of frustration with a wrong lighting cue. He didn’t yell this time but just made everyone wait while he cooled down.”

Notably, in 2019, Mr Gates while talking about Steve Jobs said, “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.”


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