I’m not a big television watcher. My father wasn’t one of those dads said things like “TV rots your brain!”, but we all know it does. When I do watch television, it’s often CNN, The Discovery Channel, or The History Channel. But there’s something coming up this weekend on TNT that I’m looking forward to. It’s a film called “Pirates of Silicon Valley”, basically the story of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. I’m sure a lot of liberties were taken in creating the film, but the subject matter is of great interest to me. In fact, it seems “Pirates of Silicon Valley” is Pick Up Ax with a different name.
Microsoft stole from Apple. Apple stole from Xerox. Xerox stole from someone too, even if it was only a dead guy named Vannevar Bush. It’s like flying. If you ask an American who performed the first heavier-than-air powered flight, he would say the Wright brothers. If ask a Frenchman in the know, he’d probably say Clément Ader (who was French) flew a steam-powered flying machine called “Eole” on October 9, 1890, more than a decade before the Wright brothers.
It doesn’t matter who was “first”. It matters who did something with it. The guys who do significant things with new inventions are the ones that change the world. For whatever reason, Americans have done more than anyone else to bring new technology into everyday life. Television, radio, film, electricity, automobiles, airplanes, submarines, computers, the microprocessor. The list is endless.
The most fascinating of these inventions, to me, is the personal computer. Xerox could have been the world’s biggest computer powerhouse. Instead, they gave away all their secrets to Steve Jobs in exchange for the right to buy a million dollars worth of Apple stock at $10 a share. They had the future in their hands, but they didn’t do anything with it. Apple did. And so I’m looking forward to seeing this film about the personalities who had the vision to foresee a computer on every desktop.