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Jobs Is FT Person Of The Year

David Gilbert


Jobs Is FT Person Of The Year

A few weeks ago we reported that Mark Zuckerberg was named as Time’s Person of the Year. Today it has been announced that Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs has been named by the Financial Times as its Person of the Year. This leads us to one logical conclusion – we need to have a cage fight to find out who really is worthy of the moniker for 2010.

It seems as if 2010 has been dominated by technology if these annual awards are anything to go by and it was Jobs announcement last January of the launch of the iPad that sealed the deal for Jobs in the eyes of the FT. In its editorial explaining the award it opens by stating: “When Steve Jobs walked on to the stage at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center in January, it capped the most remarkable comeback in modern business history.”

They go on to reference Jobs high profile illness in 2009 and even go back a decade further to his and Apple’s nadir when they were both written off as irrelevant in the world of consumer technology. It seems fitting that Jobs is named Person of the Year in the same 12 months as the first ever Apple computer, which he helped to construct, was put up for auction. The success of the iPad is the standout reason for Jobs ascension to become Person of the Year in 2010.

“Steve’s the last of the great builders,” Roger McNamee, a Silicon Valley financier told the FT. “What makes him different is that he’s creating jobs and economic activity out of thin air while just about every other CEO in America is working out ways to cut costs and lay people off.”

So we just now await the Zuckerberg vs Jobs bout with the Facebook founder having youth on his side, while Jobs is about four inches taller so will have a reach advantage. It is a tough call to make but if we were putting money on the scrap, we’d have to go for the wiley Jobs to win it on points.

Source: Financial Times


December 23, 2010, 6:19 pm

Can I fight the winner please? Oh, hang on, and the looser too.


December 23, 2010, 6:55 pm

You wanna put a guy who's just had a liver transplant in a cage match? Sure, that could be very funny, but it'd be over too quickly to get my money's worth.

James Simmons

December 23, 2010, 7:24 pm

@JohnH The Looser? How about the tighter?

I think it's telling that the Financial Times went with the businessman whose (financial) worth comes from actually selling something - Facebook is worth billions on paper, but actually it's financial worth is largely intangible.

Although if you shut down both companies tomorrow, I think he loss of Facebook would affect more people than the loss of Apple.


December 23, 2010, 8:12 pm

@James: I like that idea, valuing a company on how much affect they'd have if they ceased trading.

Facebook: Well it'd affect the lives of millions of people, but they'd probably be better off without it. Back to email/phone to contact their friends and not wasting time posting photos of drunken Xmas parties!

Apple: Well Google have taken the good bits with Android, so really everyone could replace their iPhones with an Android Phone and their iPads in a couple of weeks with Honeycomb tablets. Macbook users would do fine with Windows 7 laptops, so no real loss.

In fairness though while I think Jobs is a strange pick (like Zuckerberg, what did he do in 2010 that he didn't in 2009?) I do think Apple are one of the best pioneering companies. There's so many companies out there that create second rate me too products, Apple never do that. They have a proper design team that set out to create original ideas one after the other, they are like a continual startup company. Ok some ideas aren't totally original, but they put them together better than they have been in the past, that dedication to detail is impressive (that said I own zero of their products cos I always find something about them that rankles).

Facebook on the other hand is ONE idea, not original, virtual, arguably not better executed than competing products - yet their company is worth billions; it's a strange world.

I just hope 2011 isn't the year of the tech-terrorist, while it's great technology is helping us so much these days, there's been a lot of worrying uses of it lately that I fear are only going to increase the more we become reliant of it.


December 23, 2010, 9:54 pm

HK: While I agree that the "tech-terrorist" is a real threat, personally I am equally worried about the tech-censors and tech-propagandists who will continue to manipulate our fears as justification for giving away more of our (online and offline) freedoms. Er, sorry for killing the fsetive mood! ;)


December 23, 2010, 10:20 pm

@HK Apples are for eating!

Facebook can and do live without and same goes for apple computers. tech thats useful is well useful but we should never be over reliant on superfluous nonsense.

Look where thats getting us ... and now thats what a trillion dollar find of lithium in a certain war zone - yeah our problems aint being solved just increasing....

what are you talking about tech terror? if you mean infrastructure that mostly or should be on their own intranets and if its not why not?- or do you mean spam a viruses

Personally i reckon there more worry more about with big corp types and intelligence services and the so scared we must control every facet of everything approach thats going on... Poul Anderson classic short story SECURITY cira 1953, comes to mind...


December 24, 2010, 3:19 pm

@HK: Finally, somebody on here posting well-balanced comments about Apple! Bravo :P


December 24, 2010, 5:03 pm

To be honest Apple produce slick, well built and easy to use products. But there are never really that inovative adn are more refinemet to whats already out there.

Having played with an I-pad i reached the conclusion its more of a house toy that a real tool. so person of the year is a man who provides IT based equipment that isnt really different to anything else...

There are so many people out there doing so much more, most of the army at the moment for one. I find it kinda depressing that a business man looking out for himself is hailed a person of the year than other far better people.

prag fest

December 26, 2010, 3:36 pm


"Macbook users would do fine with Windows 7 laptops, so no real loss"

Erm, what you smoking dude? I think most MacBook users, myself included, would be mortified at the thought of such a backwards step.


December 26, 2010, 4:03 pm

@prag fest: And so it begins. Let's just agree you didn't mean to say backwards and move on.


December 27, 2010, 5:21 pm

Brian: The FT is a business newspaper for business people. They're not exactly going to name the Mother Teresas of the world 'Person of the Year.' Of course the award will go to a businessman who's done interesting things from a commercial point of view.

And most people are missing the point of the award. As the FT's article made clear, the reason Steve Jobs got it this year was the iPad. The iPad's finally completed Job's project of turning computers into consumer goods. In the 80s and even 90s, the very idea was laughed off as impossible. Steve Jobs has shown that it can be done, and he's built an immensely successful company on the back of it. That's exactly the sort of accomplishment from a CEO you'd expect a newspaper like the FT to recognise.


December 28, 2010, 12:02 am

I remember Steve Jobs deriding the Apple Newton way back when

I bet he didnt exactly design the darn thing he's just the head of the company - so he may give it some direction still think its a strange decisioned since apple nearly botched the iphone4 and its early woes. Person of the year Pfffht


December 28, 2010, 6:36 pm

Intresting thing is both are in the IT domain. Which begs the question where are the Jobs/Zuckerberg of other sectors?


December 29, 2010, 12:50 am

@Ash: They're there, but we don't see them. By any reasonable measure, there was significantly more innovation in medical technology in 2010 than in computing technology, but that sort of stuff doesn't really make the news outside the specialist press even though it has much more of a measurable impact on our lives as does the iPad. The market (and western societies) are somewhat consumer-IT obsessed, and that's reflected in the fact that people like Jobs and Zuckerberg become celebrities, whereas their counterparts in other fields remain unknown.

If GE Healthcare and all its products were to vanish off the face of the earth, millions of us would die within weeks. If Facebook were to vanish off the face of the earth, we'd lose touch with a few old chums from school who we wouldn't really have bothered to keep in touch with anyway if it weren't for Facebook. But which company is regularly cited in the press as having transformed the world? That's how the market thinks, and that's what awards will reflect.

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