A recent Bloomberg Technology interview with Bill Gates helped end a standard comparison you often hear involving Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. People see both men as very similar in the sense that they led very successful organisations and that both were innovators. Despite that, Bill Gates said anyone that knew the latter and knows the former would never confuse them.
The conversation was about climate change and the efforts to stop it. Gates recently warned that COVID-19 might be a piece of cake compared to how nasty climate change can be if we do nothing to stop it.
Gates also mentioned that adopting electric mobility is probably the easiest part of getting the world carbon neutral. In that sense, Bloomberg Technology asked if the Microsoft founder saw that as a sign that Tesla and Nikola just had exaggerated market caps.
He answered that Musk helped stop climate change with Tesla, even if the cars were initially premium-priced. That said, he clarified was not trivializing the need to increase EV market share, but that buying an EV is the easy part of the deal. Carbon emissions from other sources are more critical and more challenging to mitigate or suppress. China's effort to be carbon neutral by 2060 will have to take that into consideration.
At this point, Bloomberg Technology asks Gates about the similarities between Musk and Jobs. To be more precise, the question was if Musk is the new Steve Jobs, as many people try to frame him.
Gates put them apart by mentioning that this sort of simplification is strange when you personally know the people it refers to. In his mind, Steve Jobs was a genius at design, picking the right people for the tasks he needed, and marketing, while Musk is more of a hands-on engineer. That said, you would not confuse them with each other.
Source: Bloomberg Technology