Pirates of Silicon Valley

Most entrepreneurial activity is context-specific. But if there is one entrepreneurship movie that students from all across the world can find interesting it is Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999). This movie is a fictionalized account of the early professional lives of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, two men who made the technology world what it is today. The movie presents their struggles during college, the humble beginnings of their companies (Microsoft and Apple respectively) and the ingenuity that took them from where they were to where they are now. 

Both Gates and Jobs started their companies with very little investment, but tons of passion for what they were interested in- Computers. The movie is a good watch for many different types of audience- entrepreneurship, information technology, innovation, engineering, computers, new product development etc. What is even more remarkable is that because of the global stature of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, this movie can be used in classrooms around the world. I used it when I taught at Institute of Management Technology (India), and the students loved it. I regularly use it in my teaching in the U.S. where, of course, students know these two men, their businesses, and the context in which the movie is set in much more than people in other parts of the world.  


83 responses to “Pirates of Silicon Valley

  1. Nick German

    Pirates of Silicon Valley really touched on the human element of both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Throughout the movie, Steve Jobs had anger management issues. He often lashed out at employees and acted very unprofessionally. Bill Gates was socially awkward. He looked visibly nervous and often talked too quickly. I was also surprised to learn that both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs stole ideas directly from others. Steve Jobs took advantage of Xerox’s ideas for a mouse and a graphic interface in its operating system. Bill Gates licensed an operating system to IBM before he had developed one. In any case, both entrepreneurs were far from perfect and it was good to see them portrayed as they really were.

  2. Matt Chrisman

    When I watched the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, I was reminded of the principal that you can start a business without a lot of money. We discussed this principle in Entrepreneurial Foundations. The principal that you don’t need a lot of money is self-explanatory, but many people don’t believe this to be true. The concept is that if you have a good idea, the first hurdle to overcome is just to take action. This gets the idea to take a tangible form, to actually start the business. Money can be found from a variety of sources including family or a willing bank.
    The principal that you don’t need a lot of money to start a business is demonstrated in the movie when Steve Wozniak built the first Apple computer out of old computer parts and wood. It cost him a little money at first, but it wasn’t cost prohibitive. As a college student he didn’t have a lot of extra cash to spare. Although they would need to secure capital to expand and grow their business, they were able to start building computers out of a garage.
    In the movie, I was interested by the fact that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs decided to start building computers out of a garage. Instead of giving up or deciding that it couldn’t be done because they didn’t have the money, they took action given the limited financial resources they had. It shows that if you believe in something or truly are passionate about a business, you shouldn’t let the resources get in the way. Later on their business attracted the attention of some pretty large investors who helped turn their business into a large scale operation, but they didn’t start out that way.

  3. Bobbie Adams

    I was really surprised by this movie. If that is how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates really were, I would have never have imagined. I think of those two very successful people as being more professional than that, their actions they displayed in the movie just seemed ruthless. They did whatever they could to be ahead. Their motto was “good artists copies, great artists steal.” This movie really gave me insight to who the real revolutionaries were, not the people that got credit for it. Like I never knew Xerox came up with the mouse and graphic interface. Steve Jobs stole it from them, and then Bill Gates stole it from Steve. For how awkward this movie made Bill Gates seem, I am really surprised he was so able to talk people into doing things and believing him. This movie made the other computer companies seem really stupid. Like when the one executive said what would ordinary people do with computers? Or when IBM said the profits are in the computers themselves, not the operating systems. If they only knew then what they know now.

  4. Nick Hammer

    It was funny how Xerox shrugged off the idea of personal computers and IBM shrugged off operating systems. Steve Jobs ends up taking advantage of Xerox to steal the mouse and graphic interface. Bill Gates was able to get profits from Windows because IBM thought the profits were in the computer. Another good part, of the movie was where Gates said he had an operating system ready for IBM. This wasn’t true, and he had to go buy one. The guy that was offered $50,000 happily took the offer. Of course, he had no idea IBM were the ones that wanted the operating system.

  5. Mike Stoltenberg

    This movie was by far the most interesting movie amoung the few we watched. It was very exciting to see a piece of interesting history unfold. I did not know anything about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, besides the obvious, before this movie. I also thought it was interesting to see Xerox and HP (two very successful modern day companies) both turn away what proved to be the biggest inventions in computer technology history. One other interesting part of the movie was the determination shown by these two computer giants. If it weren’t for their drive to succeed, they would not be in the postition they are in today. They both knew their ideas were good ones, despite what others told them, and kept pushing until they were selling personal computers and software to many different people.

  6. When I watched the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley I was reminded of Greiner’s model of organizational growth from my production organizational theory class. Greiner’s Model states that organizations have to overcome several different crises in their growth process. The first stage of Greiner’s model states that initial organizational growth is based on entrepreneur’s creativity. The entrepreneur who founded the company may be unable to control the organization as it expands because of missing management skills. This results in a crisis of leadership. This crisis of leadership could only be solved by implementing direction in the second stage of the model. Competing managers with different authority within the organization cause a crisis of autonomy in stage three which can be overcome by using delegation. Furthermore, the model states that an organization needs to increase its coordination abilities to end the problems facing control in the next stage of growth. In the last stage, the organization has to tackle the problems of high bureaucracy, crisis of red-tape, which follows from an organizations attempt to get control over its operations.
    Greiner’s model of organizational growth was demonstrated in the movie by showing the story of apple. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created the first apple computer basically from scratch during their college time at Berkley. They were running the business out of a garage until an angel invested in their company. Pretty soon apple became very successful and Jobs and Wozniak were not able to handle to the expansion of apple. Therefore, they hired a top management team to control the company and solve the crisis of leadership. By introducing the Macintosh division, differences of doing business between Jobs and apple’s managers arose. This crisis of authority resulted in many lay-off in the organization. Furthermore, an internal power struggle with CEO John Sculley cost his position as head of the apple’s Macintosh division. Sculley used his position as CEO to bring the organization back on track and to overcome the crisis.
    “Pirates of Silicon Valley” is a great movie about young students who changed the life of generations of organizations and people with their business ideas. It was very interesting to see how Microsoft and Apple operated in their early days. Especially, how both copied the software architecture from Xerox to use it as basis for their own operating system. I would recommend this movie to entrepreneurial students because it tells the evolutionary history of our daily used computer operating systems.

  7. abusinessprofessor

    Students find the portrayal of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in the movie interesting. Silicon Valley is full of stories where succesful entrepreneurs are accused of ‘stealing’ or ‘copying’ ideas from others. An example is Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

    According to the NYT (April 8, 2008) Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is being accused “by three former Harvard students who contend that the original idea for the social networking site belonged to them”.

    The three students, brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, later started ConnectU, a social networking site. They asserted that they had hired Mr. Zuckerberg, then a sophomore, to help create a campuswide dating site called Harvard Connection.They say that he stalled on the project while nurturing his own related idea, which ultimately became a site called Thefacebook.com.

    Yet another Harvard student, Aaron J. Greenspan, who was a Harvard student at the same time as Mr. Zuckerberg, asserts that he created an earlier social networking system called houseSYSTEM. Six months before Facebook went online, and eight months before ConnectU opened, Mr. Greenspan sent a note to Harvard students describing a new feature of houseSYSTEM called “The Face Book.”

    Those interested in reading the complete article can find it at the NYT website (Facebook Reportedly Near Accord Over Origin).

  8. When I watched the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, I was reminded of the principle of business ethics from my Business Laws class. Business ethics pertains to the notion that we conduct all business ventures in a just, morally, acceptable, and lawful way. It means conducting fair business by not cheating, lying to, or stealing from anyone or any company. As of late, business ethics has gotten a lot of attention from the big Enron and WorldCom scandals that rocked the economy.
    The principle of business ethics was poorly demonstrated throughout the movie and reminded me a lot of the movie Purpose. Steve Jobs is a brilliant man who invented the personal computer and arguably changed the world. However, as a human being, he was a miserable mess of a man. He not only refused to admit he had a daughter and not lend child support to his ex girlfriend, but tore down all those around him. He treated his employees with contempt and many of them grew to hate Steve. He tore his company apart by letting competition over come his company, and eventually even had his best friend quit on him. In the end, Steve lost so much control and respect that he was fired from his own company.
    Bill Gates basically stole his Windows operating system from Apple. He lied to Steve Jobs and IBM, and made it seem like he had a product, DOS, which never really existed. Stealing people’s ideas and intellectual property is widely frowned upon, and it surprises me he got away with it.
    Both Steve, Bill, and their fellow companions worked very hard to get where they are today. They were very skilled, lucky, knowledgeable, and had a passion for bringing about the computer age. These are all traits an entrepreneur needs in order to hopefully succeed in starting up a business. However, given the fact that Bill and Steve both treated people not very nicely, were cocky, selfish, and ultimately ended up being liars and stealers, I’d say the application to our class was not very good.

  9. Edward T Habermeyer

    I was also reminded of the pribciple of business ethics. However I do not see Bill and Steve as harshly as many of the rest of you, at least as far as the business ethics were concerned. No one ever said that you have to be nice in business. When Bill bought out the seattle Computer Companies operating system, both sides aggreed on the deal. Seattle Computers were too dumb to capitolize so Bill did it for them. Just as Steve capitolized on Xerox being too dumb to capitolize on their ideas. This is how the real world works and the old business people knew nothing about computers so it is their own fault they let it slip through their hands. Ethics on other thinks was a littler different though. Steve was a coward and couldn’t even acknowledge his own kid. He showed to be pretty yellow for sure. And Bill was pretty decietful in how he got his user interface capability but the computer business was very cut throat and everyone was stealing from everyone so who is to say that he is any more guilty than steve. Either way they both acted like computer nerds do and showed they weren’t very “strong” people.

  10. When I watched the movie, “Pirates of Silicon Valley” I was reminded of the concept of Porter’s five forces analysis from my Management course. This concept looks at the industry as a whole and then analyzes the forces within the industry. Those forces are the threat of substitute products, the threat of new market entrants, the bargaining power of suppliers and the bargaining power of customers. Those forces combine to establish the competitive rivalry within an industry.
    The concept of Porter’s five forces analysis was demonstrated in the movie when Apple and Microsoft were competing in the rapidly growing technology industry. The two forces that stood out the most were the threat of substitute products and the threat of new market entrants. Apple and Microsoft were both small startup companies when the technology industry was booming. At the time, large established companies such as IBM, Hewlett Packard and Xerox controlled the industry. Barriers to entry were very low into the industry and Bill Gates and Steve Jobs showed this by starting their own companies. They were both young college students that had little money and resources. What they did have though were ideas, passion and will to succeed.
    Apple and Microsoft were direct competitors in the technology industry, so they have similar products between them that can be substituted. The scene that sticks out in my mind is at the end of the movie when Jobs confronts Gates about stealing Apple’s ideas and then tweaking them and selling them as a Microsoft product. They were both trying to create the same product. This was competitive advantage to Microsoft because they had a similar product that was better than Apple’s.
    This movie related very well to entrepreneurship. It showed how Microsoft and Apple grew from small companies that were started by college students into two technology giants of today. I learned that in order to be successful a person must be passionate about their product or idea. I also learned that when managing a business you must treat everyone with respect. I enjoyed this movie the most out of the five I watched this semester.

  11. When I watched the movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” I was reminded of the theory of survival of the fittest from my Anthropology class. Although Anthropology is a drastically different course than Entrepreneurial Foundations, this concept certainly applies to this movie. Survival of the fittest can be related to business competition as well in the sense that when two or more businesses compete for business, the better equipped business will outlast the other. This drives prices down and improves quality of many products or services in hopes of gaining more business than the next guy.

    The theory of survival of the fittest was demonstrated throughout the entire movie as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs struggle to make the personal computer practical to the general public. They are similar in that they both left a promising career path or future in order to reach their own goals. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak both worked for HP and left the company while Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard. Of course there are some ethical issues in the movie with the Steves taking ideas from Xerox and applying them and then again with Bill Gates taking ideas form Apple. This is all relevant to survival of the fittest since surviving does not always mean ethical. Sometimes in order to survive, whether an animal or an entrepreneur, you have to use any means necessary. Obviously this isn’t the right way to do things but it was clearly displayed in the movie.

    This was a good movie as it was entertaining and gave us a look at the story behind Apple and Microsoft, companies who make numerous products that we all use today. The entrepreneurial application was definitely there as Bill and Steve were both doing what many entrepreneurs do today; leave their jobs to fulfill their own dreams. I think it seems like there is more to the story than what the movie depicted however. For a learning tool it was alright though.

  12. Trevor Luchsinger

    i really learned a lot from this movie. i know you have always talked about how it is possible to start a company or get an idea going from practically nothing, but this movie explains how that can happen. it actually gives someone like me a little more hope, even though i might not be as smart or creative as them. but you never know, if i put enough time and effort into it anything can happen.

  13. While watching this movie, I was reminded of the concept of professionalism. Professionalism gives business people a good first impression with other important people such as bankers, potential clients, and potential business partners. Being and looking professional is an important factor to whoever is looking to start up a business. It gives people around you the feeling that you are serious about your business and how you go about it. More people are likely to put their money and time into your business if you look, sound, and act professionally.

    Two specific examples are when Steve goes to the banker dressed more as a hippie than as a business person. You can tell by the look in the banker’s eyes that he can’t believe this guy is dressed that way and asking for money. The other example I thought I was interesting and funny is when Bill bought a tie from a guy in the bathroom. He was complimented on it right away as soon as he walked into the meeting.

  14. Frank Hebert

    I watched Pirates of Silicon Valley not too long ago, and found it to be a pretty decent movie. It was kind of cool to find out some things about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates that many people don’t know.

  15. adrienne losee

    business ethics plays a huge role in this movie, i think. microsoft intentionally stole Apple’s design by gates pretending to be a friend of job’s. I think something like that would never be able to happen today without major repercussions

  16. Kurt (Jun Guo)

    Having a lot of passion is essential at the beginning of any business. Steve and Bill were both visionaries who saw the future with their creativity. The people from HP and Xerox were so shortsighted that they let away the epic making invention of personal computers and mouse. Thinking ahead of people, seizing any chance you get and persistence make any business stay ahead of their competitors. And it made me wonder, in the vicious business world, even though you are doing a good business, you can never let yourself assume that your competitors are giving up on you. The more successful you become, the more enemies you will have, which leads to even greater responsibilities and having to have better strategies.

  17. I thought the film “Pirates of the Silicon Valley” very interesting. By the end of the film I found myself questioning the integrity of mankind, and whether or not pure innovation can exist in a corporate setting.

    At the beginning of the film Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were just nerdy guys who worked hard at something which they were passionate about, but somewhere along the line money and power got in the way. They both became overwhelmed with this vision of the personal computer and enacted an almost “space race” like competition to be the first to corner the market.
    Initially Jobs was preoccupied with keeping his operations fun and anti-suit, but when Apple began to take off he became drunk with power and enamored with his own philosophy. He quickly lost his initial purist vision.

    I was especially shocked by his angry behavior. Every time something did not go his way he lashed out irrationally at innocent people. He managed to alienate those closest to him with his tirades. By the time it came to toast him at his party no one wanted to say a kind word about him. He went from being this fun loving guy who enjoyed spending time with his friends to a dictator. I think what disappointed me most about him was his inability to take responsibility for his actions. If something went awry it could not possibly be his fault and he would take it out on someone else. This weakness also extending into his personal life, after taking a paternity test he still refused to acknowledge his daughter or pay child support. Naming a computer after her was in no capacity being a father or taking responsibility.

    However, Steve Jobs was not the only person in the film who disappointed me. I was also surprised at how cut throat and manipulative Bill Gates became over the course of the movie. Before he made it big in the computer industry he did not have the guts to speak to a woman, or the business sense to dress up and prepare for clients. As his wardrobe improved and confidence grew his ethics disintegrated. He had no qualms about tricking Steve Jobs into thinking they were “family” and all on the same team.

    I think the most profound statement in the movie that really sums up how far these men strayed from their original visions is summed up when Jobs confronts Gates for stealing his software. Jobs tells Gates that his software is better, and Gates realizes that Apple does indeed have a better system but simply says “it doesn’t matter”

    After watching this movie, I no longer want to buy products from either of these two men.
    Unfortunately that is not an option because they have both succeeded in implementing Bill Gates’s strategy of making it impossible for the general public to live without them.

  18. Shailendu Shroff

    The movie raises some concerns about business ethics and integrity which are compromised to achieve business gains. However, this is to be seen as anti competitiveness on someone part which is taken advantage of by someone else. Steve Jobs is more ambitious to make it big in the computer world. His strategy of giving more indulgence to the Macintosh team might be a downside to his aides and other employees. This can be treated as impartial treatment in today’s business world.

    Personally, I liked the vision that Apple has had thanks to its founders, as compared to Microsoft. Microsoft compels people to use its products and makes them so used to it that they feel handicapped without them. Apple tries to reach out to people, however it does not compel them to use its products nor does it make them dependent on them.

    Surprising, is the apathy that Xerox has shown to innovation and change. Steve was quick to seize this opportunity. In other words, in business never consider competitors as outsiders, because you never know when they may become a part of your family. And never remain ignorant of what might be happening with other businesses, since even a small stroke of creation (though stolen or bought) can put your company in a strategically strong position.

  19. This movie best exemplifies the expression “the marketplace is a battlefield” by Sun Tzu. The vicious competitions really felt like a life-and-death warfare.

    Standing on the shoulders of giants: we all develop our future intellectual pursuits by understanding the research and works created by notable thinkers of the past. It was funny to me that, although neither Apple nor Microsoft invented the mouse or operating systems on their own, they, afterwards, claim that they did, and Steve Jobs was even furious when he found out that the thing he “stole” from others has now been “stolen” by Bill Gates. In a computer-dominated world, ideas and technologies are crucial to a business. Back in the days, when people weren’t familiar with personal computers, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were such intuitive visionaries that they both felt of the coming of a new generation and they were both so passionate about their ideas that, even though they didn’t have much money to invest, they were doing everything they could to make it happen. I strongly believe that there is a will, there is a way. And when you have the best ideas and technologies, having passion and persistence is pretty much all you need for the start of your own entrepreneurship.

  20. This movie is about two giant computer companies’ competition in the market and their managers’ passion of dominating the computer industry. Steve Jobs, co-founder and chairman of Apple Inc., is very determined in developing his Apple computers and extremely successful in terms of adopting Xerox cutting edge technology and making use of them into his PC inventions. Once he decides a plan, he is able to follow it up and make it happen. Top managers of an organization should be coherent and enthusiastic about their product development just like Stets Jobs. However, Steve might have pushed the limit too hard. For example, he requires his employees to work day and night for him; he devoted his entire attention to expansion of Apple Computers rather than his pregnant wife and new baby; and finally he was dissatisfied and fired by his executive board. Perhaps he should consider balancing his work and personal life a bit, and changing his attitude of pushing the limit from a common employee’s perspective. Top management is not dictatorship of doing whatever he or she wants, but to care about his or her people and build a solid foundation upon which to explore.

    On the other hand, his rival Bill Gates, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft Corporation, represents a top management style that is also diligent, passionate, and yet more aggressive. Bill also devotes most of his time in researching and developing his PCs, and he is able to adopt and decorate existing technology to apply to his products just like Steve. Under the circumstances that Microsoft’s major competitor Apple is having an increasing share of the PC market, Bill doesn’t give up but to grasp any opportunity and grow his own computer operating system. In the end, he is able to stand at the same level with his rival Apple Inc and compete in the market. Top management should have this driving force to determinedly follow and fulfill its ideas and dreams. A manager should also have a work in progress strategy to win a competitive advantage over its rivals all the time. There is no win-win situation between competitors, one must be alert and careful in developing its strategies and altering them whenever necessary.

  21. Kuo-Shen Huang

    This Pirates of Silicon Valley is a very interesting and impressive type of movie. This movie accounts for how these two kinds of genius win the contract and successfully make their career life better. I appreciate these two leaders who make use of totally distinct management to lead their team toward success. Bill Gates and his team who bluff their system and Steve, imitates other graphic interfaces, all make their computer innovative. What is more they both think that “Good artists copy. Great artists steal” is their objective and even result in their business better.
    From this movie, we also learn how to be a top manager. Bill Gates, who is very intelligent, knows how to make him “survival” even though he is in an inferior situation compared to Steve. On the contrary, Steve makes great efforts to setting up his own team and make diverse of technological talents to work for him. However, What he wants his employees to do is constantly working day and night for him but ignores other aspects such as not respectful to them so that this behavior makes his employees mad. He finally got fired because of his violent characteristics after having a pregnant girlfriend. His arrogant as well as conceited personality makes him toward worse condition. .
    Actually, I definitely take lessons from this movie. I think no one of these two make the absolute right or wrong decision because they all make some mistakes but also lead their own careers well. As a result, intelligent persons must also have top management to lead them successful.

  22. After watching this movie, I realized that Apple and Microsoft almost established in the same time. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, they are two totally different person. Steve Jobs is arrogant, narcissism and talent. He put emphasize on perfectionism and elitism. Besides all this, he felt most people are stupid. However, all these vivid characteristics allow Steve Jobs to led Apple to a unique brand and an unusual company. Bill Gates is ambiguous, smart and eloquent. He focuses on making money. What impressed me most is his astonishing ability to execute. In the end of the film, he became the richest man in the world.

    I think the movie wants to convey that people who are similar to Bill Gates equip better managerial skill. Especially in the last part of the movie, there is a giant Gates behind Jobs. Microsoft owned part of Apple and Steve Jobs was kicked out by Apple. It is true that Gates had higher achievements than Jobs at that time. However, if you take a look at current situation, you might have a different answer. Both Gates and Jobs are extremely successful now. In my view point, Gates and Jobs, they are top managers with different charisma. Nevertheless, their success should be contributed some parts to their partners and associates. Top management is not easy to achieve. Once you success, do not forget that you do not accomplish all this alone.

  23. Chris Bellinzoni

    The events that took place between Xerox, Apple, and Microsoft in the early stages of the computer industry lead me to think of two very important traits of any top management team: vision and business acumen. I realize that business acumen may seem to many like an obvious necessity and not even worth mentioning, however I believe that the lack of it lead to the most crucial events in this story. This story has clearly portrayed that there is a big difference between being good at a task and being able to run a business around that task. For example, Steve Jobs created a revolutionary computer, yet struggled at leading the company that was built around that success; his trusting nature was his downfall in this regard. I can’t help but think that if Jobs had put into place people in his top management structure with strong business backgrounds earlier, they could have been there to stop him from allowing Microsoft to become the 800 pound gorilla in the computer industry.

    Another key to top management that is illustrated here is the need for vision. Large companies that build themselves on one competency should never settle to for sticking with what they have and ignoring all new comers. This is exactly what Xerox and HP did by so quickly brushing aside the new ideas brought to them. Both of them gave up millions upon millions of possible future revenues with their close-minded mentality towards new innovations.

  24. Lauren Spielberg

    After watching the Pirates of Silicon Valley I learned many different things about top management that one might not necessarily think about or believe. Both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had a vision and passion for what they were doing. They believed in their ideas and were able to sell these ideas to other companies in order to gain success. Top management tends to think differently from others in order to grow to be at the top.

    Once at the top people may change due to an increase in power and money. Steve Jobs started to change his ideals and himself once Apple became more famous and successful. Personally, I would never want to work for Steve Jobs. He treated people like they were robots and didn’t care that his employees were working over 90 hours per week. Steve Jobs may have been a top manager, but he wasn’t a very good leader, and didn’t respect his employees.

    Another aspect of top management is that they will stop at nothing until their company is at the top. Steve Jobs took the mouse and graphic ideas from Xerox. Bill Gates stole Apple’s processing system. Both top managers didn’t care what they did, just as long as their companies were at the top and the best.

  25. Anson (Tzu-Chuan Chiu)

    This unofficial movie depicts two famous technology entrepreneurs’ success stories, and also compared these two entrepreneurs’ management styles as well as their personal characteristic. The movie clearly showed that a person’s ambition, passion, and the attitudes of never giving up, play a major role in achieving his or her further successes. In addition, the movie also pointed out that both Apple and Microsoft were founded on an unethical basis, pirating other’s intellectual property. But the issue I most interested in is whether different management styles between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates determined the winner of the business competition at that time. In my opinion, Steve Jobs is the representative of the autocratic management. He didn’t really trust his employees, he tried to create competition between Macintosh and Apple II, and he was so proud of pushing his employees to work 90 hours a week. Even his friend, and also the co-founder, Steve Wozniak, found difficulties to communicate and work with him, and eventually chose to leave Apple, Inc. On the contrary, although in this movie Bill Gates was autocratic in some manners and sometimes yelled to his employees, but his friends were always allowed to make a joke on him. I don’t know whether this slight difference between two geniuses can determine who will eventually win the competition, but I am really on the side of Bill Gates if the movie’s content is true.

  26. This movie shows a lot of key characteristics of top management. Both Steve and Bill have a number of traits required for senior management; a passion for what they do, a visionary stance, the ability to imagine the future, and an inquisitive nature. These talents and skills are what top managers need to create a strong organization with a solid mission and vision.

    However there are significant differences with their personal style that were also important in creating their respective organizations.

    Bill Gates was able to build his organization by not only being driven and smart but also being extremely competitive (beginning of the movie says he would get angry if he ever lost) and was a risk taker and gambler. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, had a much higher energy level and was more creative and inquisitive.

    This movie also brings up a variety of ethical issues with both of these top managers. Even though both envisioned the future neither was willing to take the initiative to actually create their operating systems but “stole” the work of others to build their corporations. Jobs also didn’t understand how to interact with people and alienated individuals in both his personal and professional life.

  27. Anthony Olenik

    Entrepreneurs have a vision and enthusiasm for their ideas. Before watching Pirates of Silicon Valley, Steve Jobbs and Bill Gates had inspirational entrepreneurial stories. The movie put a very different spin on their rise to fame and fortune as top management though.

    Steve Jobbs had an easier path in starting his company. He went from a garage operation to an initial venture capitalist investment of $250,000. As a top level manager he gave his company a clear path to follow for Apple computers. He was not very skilled though at dealing with employees or at keeping his information proprietary. Steve Jobbs repeatedly verbally abused his employees and was not an exemplary top manager. He discussed much with Bill Gates, jeopardizing his company.

    Bill Gates struggled for a while with Microsoft, knowing he could be eliminated unless everyone needed his product. He had business savvy and was able to take Steve Jobbs’ ideas for the Mac operating system, turning them into his own version of Windows. This product turned Microsoft into a cornerstone in computers. Gates top level management skills were excellent at achieving goals. He did use questionable ethics though in his dealings with Jobbs and creating Windows.

  28. The Pirates of Silicon Valley shows the rise to top management of Bill Gates and Steve Jobbs. They both go from a small operation and expand into something much larger. Steve Jobbs business expands exponentially quicker than Bill Gates. However, we get to see more of Jobbs as a top level manager in a larger setting, while Bill Gates is technically the CEO of Microsoft, but has very few employees.
    One of the most notable things from the movie is that Steve Jobbs is able to grow Apple quickly because initially IBM is not worried about them because they are so small and is also able to steal the graphic user interface from XEROX. However, he is unable to recognize that Bill Gates is employing a similar strategy at Microsoft and even allows Gates to convince him that this is not the case.
    Another contrasting note in this movie is in the leadership styles of Gates in comparison to Jobbs. Jobbs shows a lack of personal skills and creates an overly competitive workplace. Also, Jobbs’ employees were unhappy with his performance; however from this movie it is difficult to say how great of a leader Gates will be since he doesn’t have to manage a large number of people. Obviously, since this movie was released, the growth of Microsoft shows that Gates was able to translate to a larger scale.

  29. Two strong and different type of management were illustrated in this film. Not only unveiled the starts of Microsoft and Apple in details, but also showed dissimilar types of leadership and management. First of all, I would like to address their personalities which attribute to their diverse method of management, in common. Both of them have strong ambition and aggressive attitude of pursuing their goals. As long as they saw the opportunities, they grabbed immediately and carried out, no matter how hard it is. I’m most impressive that Bill Gates negotiated with IBM’s management and Steve Jobbs, which both were his main competitors, for asking a chance to cooperate with IBM and Apple, when he actually schemed taking advantage of them. Unlike Gates, people normally wouldn’t consider to collaborate with their enemies. Moreover, Gates and Jobbs both have vision. They all could image how the world would be like. Secondly, when we take a look at their approaches to successes, we could observe several different measures and results. Gates struggled to achieve his goal by spying and stealing the ideas of his competitors. He knew he couldn’t compete with his rivals, so he shifted his strategy to complete his mission with his co-workers. Jobbs only cared about the outcomes of projects execution, no matter what it took. He treated his company as an army and his employees as soldiers. He rather divided the company into two parties to achieve his purpose of creating competitive environment. In the end of the movie, his was resigned by his colleagues, although he was back to Apple couple years later. He should more concern with his employees, instead of pushing them. In spite of different methods, both of these two leaders knew their goals and stuck on it. So the leader’s capability of management takes great parts of whether a company can survive or not.

  30. Pirates of Silicon Valley gives me a brand new perspective of the two founder of the most famous technology company, Microsoft and Apple. This movie brings up the dark side (sort of) of these two people, which I could understand because they are doing their business and we all know that business is a battlefield which people will do whatever it takes to win the competition.
    Take a look at these two leaders and managers, Gates is smart and calm and good at psywar; on the other hand, Jobs is also smart and arrogant but he is irritabe which is a big problem. Both of them have passion for making history and they do reach their goals by using such different leadership styles. Till now they still use their own way to manage their company; Gates still looks humble and Jobs still looks arrogant and they are still the leaders in this industry.

  31. One theme presented in the movie I found particularly useful in business are the ideas of passion and vision. It was Gates and Jobbs’ passion for what they were doing they paved the way for their success. While it wasn’t always easy for them, by having a clear vision of what they wanted in a company and the internal motivation to achieve it, two tech giants grew out of bedrooms and garages and ultimately changed the way the world works.

  32. “Pirates of Silicon Valley” is a great movie to present the phenomena happening every day in Silicon Valley. We are used to the sue cases from various chip providers or software companies. It seems the pirates in Silicon Valley are not seriously related to ethics problems because the rapid technology development and people can easily acquire the knowledge of newly developing technologies. As that, it’s hard to judge whether Steve Jobs or Bill Gates was the first one to create the software for early computers.

    With regard to the alliance, sometimes it is just hard to reach the cooperation whenever they are also the competitors in the same industry. Each of them intends to gain the benefits from the other. However, the alliance needs the mutual trusts to make things happen. And the thing is how much you will give your partner and what you want to keep for yourself. In the movie, obviously Steve Jobs paid a lot when he chose to trust Bill Gates to show him his new computer before into the market. However, in my own point of view, Steve Jobs still is a brilliant top management. We can see his competence in partnership with other companies to boost the sales of iPod, itune music stores, itune movies, and iPohne. Steve Jobs exploits the partnership and trust to extend Apple business territory.

    As for Bill Gates, his management and execution are remarkably different from Steven Jobs’. It seems he makes better use of strategies to achieve the targets he wants no matter what strategies are ethical or not. And he is good at convincing people about his ideas and management.

    When I watched this movie, it reminded me of one of Sun Tzu’s strategic thinkings; that is, never underestimate your competitors. The minors today can become the majors tomorrow.

  33. Michael Warren

    This movie shows how Bill Gates and Steve Jobbs rose from small businesses to top management of a bigger company. Steve Jobbs started off working out of a garage. However he easily started to expand his company when he got the graphic user interface from Xerox. IBM did not consider Jobbs’ company, Apple, a threat since they were such a small business at the time, which lead to the rise of Apple. Jobbs was not a great top manager because he constantly abused his employees. He gave his employees long hours and constantly yelled at them. Jobbs also let Bill Gates know a lot of information about Apple, putting Apple at risk. On the other hand, Gates struggled when starting Microsoft. However he had good top management skills and used them to develop Microsoft. Gates was also able to learn about the graphic use interface that Apple was using and used this information to create Windows. Gates top management skills lead to the huge growth of Microsoft over the years.

  34. The movie took a biographical look at two men who founded Apple and Microsoft: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The movie described how they struggled to get success. I am really impressed by their struggle to success.

    The sentence Steve quoted from Picasso said good artists copy while great artists steal, which really impressed me a lot. Some of their activities were named “Pirates” as the name of this movie indicates. Steve Jobs got the mouse and graphic stuff from Xerox and Bill Gates went to Apple’s headquarter and then stole from Apple. Why Picasso said that? I guess maybe it’s because copy is just copy, you totally use others’ without making any changes. However, stealing is different. Picasso is not meaning that stealing is a good thing, what he means is that one can use others’ idea as a base and then make changes to push it to a higher level. You have to work even harder after you steal something since you want to create something new. But again, I am not saying stealing is a good thing.

    Anyway, Steve and Bill are genius guys. They have changed the way we communicate and the way we think. The film gives us an inside look at the management style of both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. When Steve became top people, he made his people work 90 hours a week, which seems crazy to me. In addition, Steve did not know how to control his temper; he always showed his anger to his subordinates. What impressed me a lot was the interview he made with “IBM-like” guy. He acted so wired there. The situation seemed much better when Bill Gates became top people. He looked passionate, creative but not so aggressive. Another thing I learned from them is that top management not only deals with the technology stuff but also have to care about the company’s vision and future.

    After watching this movie, I really have no idea whether my next notebook would use Windows Operating System or it would be an Apple product since I do not into either of them now.

  35. Matthew Passero

    This movie portrayed the lives of two of the most successful people in the computer/electronics industry, namely Bill Gates and Steve Jobbs. The movie starts out with their early years back in college and basically shows how they got to where they are today. Steve Jobbs is shown several times with anger issues and poor treatment of employees/others. Whereas Bill Gates is shown as being clumsy, akward, and not the most socially fit type of person.

    Overall, I really enjoyed the movie and I thought that it provided a great example of how these two men went from a similar situation for many college students, but ultimately did everything and anything to reach their goals, which people originally laughed at for how outrageous they seemed at the time. It’s amazing how passionate both of them were and how that drove them the entire way to success.

  36. This movie displays a number of themes that may pertain to management, and certainly top management, as there are not many people today who can be considered on top more than Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The film is about the rise of the two power computer companies of today, Microsoft and Apple. The film gives a glimpse of the meager beginnings and shady dealings that sparked the two corporations to start. The ethical issues alone are worthy of a separate comment, but we will focus on top management.
    Gates and Jobs can both be seen as very driven to achieve, and especially competitive with each other, the technology at the time, and the market. Jobs exemplified the degree to which a top manager can immerse himself into work, and often forgets aspects of his personal life all together. Gates too proves the drive of a top manager; both displaying this in the fact that they stole the initial technology to get their start. The quote about the neighbor, Xerox, who leaves their door open, was very interesting, because it showed that both were willing to “break and enter” and bend ethics to advance their company and industry. Further illustration of the drive held by Jobs was when he is referred to as employee #2 and he takes offense, and says that no one is in front of him around here and that he is employee zero. Simply the rational of this doesn’t make sense to an ordinary person, but then again, ordinary people aren’t top management.

  37. This movie is more like documentary, but some are not true. But who cares some parts of a movie were made up if we do have a good time watching it. I am not going to talk about ethic thing which will confuse me when I admire Bill Gates.
    I enjoyed the movie which made me think much about the strong personality a successful people and top managers should have, which is willpower. Actually, most people easily come out with a great plan or a dream, but few of them will really carry it out; most people seem to talk too much and pay less effort. Bill Gates (in the movie) impressed me a lot with his willpower. Like in the trade show, He wanted to introduce his software to Steve, but Steve ignored him on purpose. If I were him, I would anger because my pride was cut. And I was thinking Bill would just leave and give up when I saw the very SAD sight of his back, but he didn’t. Moreover, in the movie Steve yelled at him, said something impolite and showed no respect to him. However, he ignored all the difficulties and only looked at his goal. I think Bill is a very wise person with very steady head because he knows how to control people and situation. He also knew how to deal with the weakness of Steve’s character by building trust in order to achieve his goal.

  38. Pirates of Silicon Valley tells the story of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the two mega companies they founded. During the seventies the brilliant young students began pursuing computers and computer software. They let their technical skills guide the paths of their fledgling companies. Both companies began with a few close friends and everyone had to work on technical problems to get the companies on their feet. However, as time progressed both founders had to broaden their fields of expertise into non-technical areas. They were required to formulate business plans, deliver sales pitches to top executives, and develop the people skills necessary to guide their organizations.

    Steve and Bill did whatever it took to bring their companies to the top of the business world. Steve Jobs ran Apple with an iron fist. He was able to squeeze the most out of his employees by creating a culture of loyalty, discipline, and creativity driven from fear. Employees responded by working 90-hour weeks, but they also had numerous internal conflicts. Both executives used other company’s ideas to further their business pursuits. Apple and Microsoft both bluffed companies with what technology they possessed and did whatever it took to become successful companies. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates made incredible sacrifices to push their companies to the top. The passion and willingness to do whatever it took made two of the most influential corporations in the world today.

  39. The film introduces the successful histories of the two top computers in the world: Apple and Microsoft. The film also shows two different types of management. It especially stresses the leader’s style and the organizational type of the Apple when Steve runs the business.

    From the movie, we can see that it is key element that a leader should have visions. From the time today we regard everything for granted, however what they do indeed is such a big risk and gamble to pour the credits and money into uncertain vital decisions. Steve and Bill are absolutely genius at their professional field, but what make them succeed finally are mainly the vision, the courage and determination.

    The film also proves that “information is power”. The words below also explain the long success of the Microsoft today. “You know how you survive? You make people need you. You survive, because you make them need what you have, then they will have no where to go.”

  40. In my opinion, I think this movie really gives us a lesson of business pilfering. There is no friends and enemies forever in the business world. Therefore, when we are doing business, sometimes we should open our mind to accept our enemies sometimes we should take care of our friends even partners. For example, in the movie Bill Gates tried to use Steve Jobs. He steals Apple’s idea about Graphic operating system and pretends that he is helping Jobs.
    In addition, we can learn an emotional management from Steve Jobs. He is easy to reveal his emotion into his employees. Sometimes employees may be think he is really a good guy when Jobs is happy, however, sometimes when he was angry with something, he will vent to his employees even if there is nothing wrong about you. Therefore, the emotional intelligence is really important for everyone who has managing positions.
    Also, the positive effect in the movies is that I saw their passion about pursuing innovative technology even if they just had small capital. Once you have this kind of passion, then you can have chance to create your own business.

  41. The movie portrayed two successful people in the computer industry. Both of them had good top management skills to build their own companies. They start from small companies and expanded to large. They show what a top manager should have to lead the company to success.

    Passion, vision, and execution are three essential factors for leaders. Latitude is decided by attitude. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, two most famous persons in the information age, have the characters which need for success. They were born on the right time and right place. They have talents for the computer. They worked hard and faced challenges. They experienced a lot of things. They built two most famous enterprises in the world. They tell world that what is the top management.

  42. In Pirates of Silicon Valley, director Martyn Burke gives us an intriguing character study of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, two of the most extraordinary individuals of our modern technological era. Despite being very different managers, Jobs and Gates did share a number of similarities. In first looking at their differences, it was apparent from the start of the film that Jobs was more of an “artist” than Gates. That is, Jobs was a more visionary thinker who when looking at his inventions (e.g. Macintosh computer) saw artistic beauty as opposed to merely circuit boards and computer code. A memorable scene was when Jobs walked into the private room where Mike Markkula was conducting an interview with a potential candidate (i.e., the one who looks like an IBM employee) and essentially tells the interviewee that he has no place at Apple. Jobs wanted nothing to do with IBM or its “black and white” image, whereas Gates chose to first present his operating system to IBM in the 1980s. Jobs, an extrovert, was a vocal manager who sought to inspire his employees through rousing speeches. Gates, on the other hand, had less people skills and relied heavily on his technical abilities.

    While Jobs and Gates did have their differences, they both possessed an internal drive to innovate. In addition, they both expected a lot from their employees and were never shy about critiquing their employees’ performance. The title of this film is interesting because in a sense both Jobs and Gates were hardware and software pirates. A very powerful scene was when Jobs accused Gates of stealing his designs and then Gates reminded Jobs that he was once guilty of the same crime (i.e., Xerox). During that climactic scene, the two technology masterminds were basically looking into a mirror. Lastly, Jobs and Gates are similar in that they will forever go down in history as being two of the most brilliant innovators and technology leaders of the twentieth century.

  43. Steve Jobs’ quick rise to success and dramatic fall to “failure” can best be described by a SWOT Analysis. Jobs’ vision for innovation, willingness to take risks, influential public presence, and ability to capitalize on other’s weaknesses laid the foundation to Apple’s success. He recognized his weakness of not knowing how to build a lot of the technology, such as a GUI, but he was able to capitalize on his strengths of being able to recognize opportunities. He knew how to turn others’ ideas into his own and knew how to obtain a strong team to support him. He minimized his threats by being carefully selective about who he hired and striving to have the first-mover advantage in all his technologies.

    Interestingly enough, his own strengths were also a source of threat to him, which were the only threats that he was not aware of. First, his arrogance, which was heightened by his popularity amongst the public, caused him to lose the faith and support of key players, such as Wozniak. Second, Jobs’ determination and strive to be # 1 led him to hire Bill Gates, who inevitably “borrowed” ideas from Apple, such as Jobs “borrowed” ideas from Xerox; this led to the creation of Microsoft’s Windows.

    So what or who was Jobs’ biggest threat? Was it himself or Bill Gates? What would you say was the root of the problem? I believe that Jobs was his own worst enemy.

  44. The pirates of the Silicon Valley exposes the rise of the home personal computer through the rivalry between Apple Computer and Microsoft. It depicts the Top Management scenario well wherein top management is explained by two powerful people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. It made me wonder how different the two successful individuals are though both are hungry for success but both have their own styles Steve is a visionary but with bad temper whereas Bill is someone who knows when to bow down to get your work done. The way they evolved shows that one just needs to have the will and the guts to find ways to reach the top. I somehow kind of do not completely agree with the way Steve handled his Macintosh team and the rest of the company maybe he tried to create healthy competition within firm but I personally feel it was too much and the way he never cared about his employees was not pleasant and this movie definitely makes you wonder what is ethical and what is not. I wonder do people really remember the ethical point after the huge success like people will remember the great products Apple and Microsoft came up with but will not go to the detail to whether they stole the idea from someone or not.

  45. I really enjoyed watching the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley. I am very much into computers and knowing how it all began really puts things into perspective for me. I do not know if what is depicted in this movie is actually what happened, as there may have been some influence from Hollywood writers as this is after all a movie above all else, but from the “story” portrayed it becomes more apparent to me that one must be aggressive in the business world and go after what they want in order to succeed. One must also not forget that this movie was released in 1999 at a time when computing was still developing, and as a point of comparison, in 1999 laptops were scarce, monitors weren’t big or flat, and the Pentium number was 2 rather than dual core. In my opinion based on recent years of marketing strategy from Apple, Steve Jobs has learned his lesson as Apple is now extremely secretive about their upcoming product lines which I used to believe was to create hype, and I still do, but I now believe to be also as protection against a repeat of what happened with the Macintosh and its graphical user interface and Microsoft. For their most current Operating System, Apple’s Leopard, betas of this O/S before release were scarce if existent at all; contrast this to Microsoft where there were numerous wide spread public beta releases of Vista in attempts to perfect its latest Operating System. The same can be shown for Apple’s line of products. Take for example their iPod/iPhone line, unlike most electronic devices, Apple designs their products such that only their specialists can open them up to gain access to the hardware inside; one extreme case of this is with the release of their unbelievably thin Mac Book Air. This laptop has no removable battery, which besides defeating the purpose of owning a laptop, makes gaining access to the internal hardware, difficult at best. The same is shown with their iPod’s and iPhone’s which also do not have user removable batteries. Despite or perhaps in light of their secretiveness, and thanks to breakthrough designs and products, Apples, success is huge dominating the MP3 market, and a large portion of both the cell phone and computing industry; second unfortunately to Microsoft and as Bill Gates said, “you need to make them not be able to live without you” as can be seen with Apple computers running Microsoft office, which is a feature they boast in one of their Microsoft bashing commercials.

  46. The movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley” shows that it’s not only the money that is requied to start the business but also the passion. It also shows organizational management to be one of the critical elements to run the business. Steve Jobs was a good business man but not a good leader. This movie also shows how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were successful in their business but were failures in the personal life. I find nothing wrong in the startegy of both the leaders of stealing the products and then pirating it as everything is fair in war. After all it’s a business and only the fittest can survive.

  47. Pirates of Silicon Valley is about the evolution of two mega PC companies Apple and Microsoft, established by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates respectively. Before I even watched this movie, I always imagined the success of both Bill and Steve lied in their true intelligence accompanied with integrity and innovation within their own respective platforms. But ironically as it’s said, the business world is not about what one possesses but about what one can achieve to be as good as or better than your competition. Taking this forward the movie gives us an insider view of the characteristics of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and how it helped shape their companies.

    Steven Jobs always believed in creating a dent in the Universe, he believed in creating new consciousness among people and that for him `information’ was power. He was passionate about computers from his early age and with the help of his friend Steven Wozniak he created the first blue box, later called a computer. Things started to roll out fast for Apple Computers when Mike offered them a quarter million dollars for their venture. At a very early stage Steve was determined to outweigh IBM from the market. His focus was to be on top of all, be it the number 1 employee or the number 1 company. He seized opportunities and made them into a great success, such as incorporating the technology of mouse from Xerox. Apple was growing fast and after the launch of Lisa and Apple II they had created a much superior product called Macintosh which Steve believed that no one could ever beat them in the market. But the main downfall for Steve was his blindfoldness towards small players and his growing ego and sarcasm towards employees all of which created an unhealthy working environment. While he is a genius in true sense, there is much to learn about how just one focus of being the number 1 can get you down in no time. He never realized the strength of small players which got Microsoft to launch Windows before Macintosh. His behavior and rudeness in the company ultimately back fired him and finally he was sacked by John Scully. Afcourse later recruited back in 1997.

    On the other hand the man behind Microsoft, Bill Gates too was a computer freak. His passion got him to quit Harvard and pursue it on a full scale base. His focus was always on creating a need in the market for his offering and in a sense to create a monopoly in the segment. Bill too seized opportunities and never let any of them turn down, even if he had to give false promises. He believed in `willpower’ and had the desire to be on top of all things. Especially his break through with IBM for offering an operating system which was not under his belt at the time of contract was a daunting task. He understood his competition well and acted accordingly. As seen when Apple came up with Macintosh he realized that this is a big threat, as this would completely wipe out Microsoft. So he took upon the task of getting Steve Jobs on his side, as he knew exactly that the one thing that would sell was anything against IBM. Though a genius as Steve, what sets him apart is his diligence, perseverance, willpower, temperament, understanding of his strength and weakness against his competition and timeliness, which led Microsoft reach a platform soon enough to own a part of Apple Computers.

    It is interesting to know how the two big PC companies actually evolved and there are great learning areas from both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to implement in other businesses.

  48. Edward Centofante

    Pirates of Silicon Valley was an interesting look at the emerging technology industry while at the same time a depressing story of individuals. That’s not to say Bill Gate’s story was depressing. The emotional fatigue came from watching Steve Job’s train wreck of a life story.
    The subject of the assignment for this blog entry was “Top Management”. The first half of the movie really had very little to do with management. It did however, set the stage for the personalities that would later become the top managers of Microsoft and Apple. In the latter half of the movie we see Bill Gates and Steve Jobs emerge as heads of their companies and their different management styles become apparent.
    Bill Gates of Microsoft can be summed up as calculating. He treated his employees good (with the exception of stupid lapses of judgment like bulldozing a car) and always kept his temper. He got frustrated with certain aspects of work, but he didn’t take it out on his employees. He treated his friends with respect, and he did the same to his enemies. At least, he treated his enemies with respect until he backstabbed them (legally).
    Steve Jobs, on the other hand, was a self centered a** hole. The guy was a train wreck from beginning to end. I had a real hard time pinning down what his problem was until I realized he was a psychopath. Nothing else could explain his delusions of grandeur, the personality cults, the complete lack of respect for his employees and partners, or his screwed up relationship with the mother of his child.
    In the end, while this was a passable movie, it was by no means a good educational tool for teaching management techniques. It was entertainment first, a story of personalities second, a story of industry growth third, and a story of management a far distant fourth.

  49. The movie very well justifies the fact that the most important thing to be a successful business man is to have a vision to see the future and encash on it .Steve jobs believes in seeing engineers as artist and sets high standards for his co workers and expects them to live up to it but doesn’t realize that his passion for work and success makes his co workers feel highly undervalued in the organization. He screws up his personal life but makes sure that his work is not at all being effected by it.

    On the other hand Bill Gates is someone who knows that it is more important to be a part of the emerging business rather than being its creator. He manages to come up with windows OS which is inspired from Apple to ensure that his product is not overshadowed by Apple Inc.

    Overall, two very different but equally successful ways of managing at the top and living your dream.

  50. I think this movie explained what mistakes can be made by top management. There were also lots of ethical dilemmas, mentioned in the movie, as both companies did what they had to do in order to succeed.

    Watching Steve Job’s experience made me realize the importance of communication and respect between the top management and the employees. After succeeding, he became a greedy monster, who would put lots of pressure on his employees and would treat his employees unrespectfully. He did not want to listen to them, he did not care about how much pressure he puts on them. As a result of miscommunication, treating employees without respect, and giving them alot of pressure than they can take, his friend Steve Wozniak turned his back at him, his employees attacked him, and he got fired from a company, which he is the founder.

    I can not say much about Bill Gates’ top management skills, as i couldn’t gather much about it from the movie. But it was very interesting to know how the former wealthiest man of the world, climbed the ladder.

  51. I watched Silicon Valley and tried to think about all of the business themes that were touched upon. There are certainly issues of differing styles of leadership, questionable ethics, entrepreneurialism and countless more. However, one aspect that I really thought interesting was the purpose of a business. It appeared to me that both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were not just about building successful companies and making money. They were about shaping the future of society. I think this pertains more particularly to Steve Jobs, although that is not to discredit Bill Gates’ sense of imagination. Steve Jobs appeared to have a vision for what the future should bring. He wanted to leave a mark on society and change it somehow in a fundamental way. This is later reiterated in the film when he discusses how he is “shaping and molding” the Apple employees.

    For him, I think the business is simply a means to achieve his vision and that his success is a result of that passion. In this way, the core function of his business is not to make profits and please stockholders, but to change the way people think about the future.

    It’s also my opinion that Bill Gates also had a vision, but that his was filled by an opportunity to build a company based on a revolutionary technology. From the very beginning where he was at Harvard to when they moved to Albuquerque, it was always about the signing bonus and the royalties they were receiving rather than the prospect of how they could change the world. Later in the film, when Microsoft releases Windows and Steve Jobs realizes it is almost the same, Bill Gates remarks that his software doesn’t have to be better than Apple’s, which says to me that he is more concerned with the success of Microsoft than he is with the innovation of his product.

    I suppose the point is that while both men were leaders of their companies, they seemed to be motivated by two different underlying concepts. It certainly raises a question as to what the core functions and purposes of a business are and how that can affect the foundations upon which that business is built.

  52. The movie was very interesting in the fact that it showed the idiosyncrasies and the journey of life of the founders of the two biggest companies in the present world. Steve Jobs is a spiritual minded person whereas Bill Gates thinks with a calculated mind. However we can see the passion that they have for what they love and the determination to get what they want is very similar. Both of them can see opportunities when other big companies fail to do so and have capitalized on that. Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had very good friends and I feel that they couldn’t have been what they are right now without their help. They had people who really believed in them. Steve Jobs however treated his employees badly and ended up alienating his employees and friends. He ended up getting fired from his own company. I feel the movie shows a true example of how success in business can be achieved, by taking risks on what others think is not going to work and of course using others weaknesses to your advantage. However there are ethical situations which lead you to think what Steve or Bill did was right or not. This totally depends on one’s perceptions. I feel Steve saw the future when Xerox could not which was Xerox’s loss. Bill saw the need of the software when Steve was focused on perfection. The most fascinating thing about Bill Gates was the he was never angry and thought with a cool mind which has led him to be the richest man in the world. Steve’s emotional imbalance led him to turmoil of events in his life.
    The movie shows what qualities you need to have to be at the top management and be successful in business.

  53. The movie, Pirates of Silicon Valley throw light on the history of two successful companies: Apple and Microsoft. The movie shows that Steven Jobs and Bill Gates both were good businessman and also shows that Steven Jobs was short tempered besides being a good businessman and Bill Gates along being a good businessman was really smart in what he was doing. The thing I really didn’t like about Jobs is that he only cared about the MACINTOSH team and really didn’t care about his other employees.

    I would say both have them had the caliber to reach the top of the world and so they did. They had the passion and vision which is required to be a top businessman. Last but not the least, there are no friends in business. After seeing the way Bill Gates stole the graphic design from Steven Jobs by saying he is helping him, I would say business information should be kept confidential.

  54. Chin-Hsiang Lin

    “Pirates of Silicon Valley” is a good film to encourage young generation to start their own enterprise. Being passion for their works, an aggressive attitude toward their lives and complacence of their performance, these are vivid characters of being an entrepreneur. Most parts of the film do inspire people rather than the ethics’ parts. Although I do not like the both behaviors of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates based on stealing the ideas from others, which are no ethics, I do not criticize them because the issue could be happened in the real world or in the business war sometimes. It also reminds me the words “There can never be too much deception in war” from Sun-Tzu. Thinking too much ethics makes no profits. Maybe the issue is wrong but it really happens in our world every day.
    Besides the dark side in the film, let’s take a look on the ability of Bill Gates and Steven Jobs for management. In my opinion, I wound like to say that nobody wants to be hired by an arrogant employer such as Steven Jobs. Compared with Steven Jobs, Bill Gates has outstanding performance of management. Today it is not enough to own excellent knowledge if you want to create your own enterprise. Only excellent knowledge with effective management can uphold the successful firm and furthermore, make profits lasted for a long time. And I think this is also the reason why Bill Gates became the richest person in the end of the movie.

  55. Venkata S Mudunuru

    This movie is about Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computers and Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft. This film historically traces the development of these two computer companies from the time these two gentlemen are in college to approximately 3 months before Steve Jobs was fired by John Sculley, then CEO of Apple Computer. The very interesting aspect of the movie is the individual character development of both Jobs and Gates. Steve sees himself as a visionary, an artist, one who “can change history”, and yet is hesitant to take responsibility for the illegitimate child he brings into the world. On the other hand, Bill Gates is depicted as the typical computer nerd, who leaves a Harvard education to start Microsoft with his friend Paul Allen. He is shown as driven, an opportunist who will stop at nothing to get the idea out there “first”.

    Interestingly, this movie points out that nearly all of the incredible ideas that went into popularizing personal computers were bought, appropriated or stolen from others, often from giant corporations which had no idea of the value of their research. Two scenes also reflect the short sightedness of the top management of giant corporations in regard to emerging technology and competition. When Gates and his people swagger into IBM and offer to license, not sell, the giant corporation their “DOS” operating system, we can’t help but smile when one of the executive smirks, “Fine, the profits are in the computers themselves, not the software.” The same thing happens when Jobs’ partner, Steve Wozniak—who worked at Hewlett-Packard and was under contractual obligation to give them first shot at anything he helped invent—plunks down a rough-looking personal computer framed in plywood, and the HP executive derisively pass.

    Scene after scene probes business strategy and management style of these two Computer companies, Apple and Microsoft. The former plot recounts how Jobs and Wozniak “borrowed” key concepts from Xerox, eked out their success as countercultural businessmen, and finally fell out with one another over the pressure of success. The later part focuses on the way Gates learned from, then surpassed the brains behind Apple and turned his company into the global powerhouse that it is today. On the whole, it was an interesting movie to watch and learn a few tricks of business.

  56. Chiao-Yin Chang

    The film successful describes two men who made a whole new technology innovation what it is today. We could see the college life of Steve and Bill, their creative thoughts of computer, and their strategies to start their empires of Apple Computer Corporation and Microsoft Inc. There are bunch of geniuses who develop personal computers plus a super genius with eloquence (Steve) of Apple. On the other side, Microsoft is lead by Bill gates with bunch of Harvard elites. Steve and Bill all have the attribute that they could foresee the chance and then do anything to achieve their goal. I was impressed with the words that Bill said” You know how you survive? You make people need you. You survive, because you make them need what you have, then they will have no where to go.” Indeed, if you could create the value which can not be substituted, you could win the world and nobody could compete with you.

    Moreover, Steve and Bill also have the talent to persuade people. For example, Bill dares convince IBM to make a contract with him without any existing product. He did not have DOS, but he knows how to get it. He point out the need which IBM needs then tell them he could solve their problem. That’s why IBM would like to cowork with him. He hit the point in the right time. What he did just like the investors do short sales on stock market. He has not to pay any money, he just borrow somebodyelse’s work to make fortune. I would say he is a genius at negotiation and dealing with business contract. As for Steve, he has tremendous leadership appeal. He just like a superstar could easily attract people. I really appreciate what he said at the beginning” I don’t want you to think of this as just a film……. We are here to make a dent in the universe. …….We are creating a completely new consciousness. Like a artist or a poet. That’s how you have to think of this. We are rewriting the history of human thought with what we are doing.” Because he could see what others could not see, he would like to do others would not to do, he got huge success due to the apple PCs. However, he finally lost his job due to his arrogant and bad temper. He don’t have the sense of management, his employees all hate him. So, besides leadership character, a leader should have the great sense of EQ to manage people as well.

  57. Michael Buxbaum

    “Pirates of Silicon Valley” is definitely a riveting film that portrays the incredible ascension of both Apple and Microsoft, from men working in garages to the pinnacle of success. Superior management skills were obviously required to engineer the unprecedented rise of these companies and are exemplified for these two corporations by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, respectively. Both leaders shared similar goals, as well as had the exceptional vision and passion for the booming computer industry. However, Steve Jobs is an almost enigmatic leader, who, while lacking people skills still managed his company effectively through grand strategic initiatives. While Bill Gates is the less boisterous and outwardly competitive of the two figures, he non the less proves to be the more devious, using sneaky tactics to achieve his end goal. It is unbelievable the extent to which Gates and Jobs “borrowed” key concepts from Xerox, and how much it played a role in first Apple’s success and then ultimately Microsoft’s ascension to the industry dominating force that it is today.

  58. Chang, Ting-Chia

    After I watched “Pirates of Silicon Valley”, I was reminded of the concept that a good idea can make a fortune even this idea is stolen from others. I was surprised that Bill and Steven both did that kind of thing. But it may be one of the factors making their companies so sucessful . In a real business word, informations and new products kick out old one everyday. People who want to succeed should have precise insight and be a pioneer of this industry. It was by far interesting that HP saw this new technology as garbage and missed a lot of fortune.

  59. Before I watched the movie, Pirates of Silicon Valley, I imagined Steve Jobs to be completely different than how he was portrayed. In recent years, he has presented himself as a laid-back businessman. I did not see him as the type of manager who put so much pressure on an employee that it resulted in physical assault. The movie might have exaggerated the personalities of both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in some instances, but accuracy is important in a film like this.

    As for their management skills, the main difference I saw between the two was the deviation from their original personalities and business plans. In the beginning, Jobs was more of a spiritual, “family-oriented” manager that could see the “meaning of the universe.” He also had great people skills and could influence people without losing his cool. At the end, he became the type of manager he viewed as the enemy. He literally split his company dividing the “family” into Apple II vs. Macintosh. Also, Jobs couldn’t deal with people like he used to. He resorted to yelling and high pressure methods to motivate his employees.

    Bill Gates on the other hand, never strayed from his business plan. He had a lot less personal issues to deal with and they rarely showed him interacting with individual employees other that weren’t his buddies. The lack of distractions allowed Gates to focus on the bigger picture and treat the situation like a game of poker. He did not have to win every hand to get the most winnings.

    The last thing I noticed was how Jobs interrupted the interview and drilled the candidate. After that, he talked about opening the “wrong door” and the consequences of doing so. If he stuck to this idea and spent as much time drilling business partners like Bill Gates as he did with individual employees, he would not have let Gates near the business. This lack of focus resulted in very bad top management.

  60. Jeff Wolniewicz

    Pirates of Silicon Valley was an entertaining look at the evolution and growth and two men who would become leaders in the computer industry, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Steve Jobs would become the founder of Apple while Bill Gates was the founder of Microsoft and would later become the richest man in the world. The movie gave me an interesting perspective on just how different the management styles of the two men were.

    Steve Jobs was ill tempered to put it lightly. He treated his employees with contempt in the movie and they did not respect him for it. He was a raging perfectionist and he would not tolerate any less than perfection from his employees. When Jobs did not receive that perfection, he lashed out. His temper led him to be fired from his own company. His unfavorable personality likely lent a hand in the up and down nature of his career. However, despite all of that, Jobs was a visionary. He looked to the future at all times and stressed innovation. It is no surprise that Steve Jobs would go on to head Apple, a company that prides itself in innovation and being at the forefront.

    Bill Gates is in many ways the opposite of Steve Jobs. His demeanor was much calmer. He treated his employees with respect. He was much more calculated than Jobs was. Despite some ethical questions, he operated his business in a very solid overall fashion. Gates clearly wasn’t the innovator that Jobs was and it showed in their different styles. Gates was not concerned about being the most creative, just simply being the best and the most profitable. It was a strategy that made him the richest man in the world.

    The best thing that I took away from the movie was the impact that management can have on a company. It is important to understand yourself and your personality so that you can be a successful manager and shape your company in a direction toward the type of success you desire.

  61. It was really interesting to see in this movie how it is fairly easy to let a great idea slip right through your fingers.

    First, HP completely passes on the concept of a PC by telling Steve Wozniak “Why would a normal person use a computer?” and then Xerox scoffs at the idea of a graphical user interface and having part of a product called a “mouse.”

    I know no one has the gift of foresight but I just can’t imagine how a room full of people (executives) did not see the simplicity and promise of this new interface and operation. It just shows that one must keep an open mind and that new ideas must be approached carefully and thought out to the fullest extent because you may just pass up millions or even billions of dollars.

    In addition to the aforementioned concepts, I was fascinated how the movie portrayed Gates and Jobs as greedy, power hungry men. I wasn’t really conscious at this point in history nor did I know the men personally but if this is how they actually acted its just amazing how much power or the want of it can warp a mind. I just really thought that these men were/are lunatics.

  62. Daniel Pokidaylo

    “Pirates of Silicon Valley” gave us an illustration of how two successful business men were able to use ideas created by other companies to construct one of the greatest designs in history. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had very different management styles in creating their respective companies, but both styles were implemented successfully.

    Steve Jobs used his communication skills to market his product to the world. He was not a great people person, and often yelled at his employees when they would not deliver him “brilliance,” but was able to launch the largest computer company of the time. He was smart enough to steal a graphic user interface when Xerox passed on it, and instilled a new culture to the business world. His office did not require suites, just hard working people. Steve’s biggest downfall was that he could not get his company to work as one, rather he would laugh at fights between the Macintosh vs Apple 2 teams. This characteristic eventually got him fired from his own company.

    Bill Gates was also a hard working person devoted to becoming successful by any means necessary. He even went as far as faking to place a virus on an entire airlines computer system just so a plane would be turned around. An interesting perspective on Bill Gates in this film was his ability to manipulate Steve Jobs so that windows would be on all the apple computers. He got Steve’s trust to work with apple, and then used their prototypes to create windows. Although deceptive, Bill Gates became the world’s wealthiest man because of it, which in my opinion, is a great management move.

  63. Zeta (Jiaxi Chen)

    When I just finished watching this movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, I understood more deeply about “the market place is the battlefield”. I felt that I adored the top management style that Bill Gates took, but started to think about the lessons I could learn from top management style that Steven Jobs used during his first days at Apple Inc.
    At the beginning of their business, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were just nerdy guys who worked hard at something which they were passionate about, but they didn’t have money to invest their product .They both became overwhelmed by the advantage of Xerox. However, they used different management method to take advantage of Xerox and expanded their business.
    Steve Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak created the first apple computer during their college time at Berkley. They were running the business out of a garage until someone invested in their company. Steve Jobs stole the mouse and graphic interface to create Apple Macinton. Then it turns out that Apple Inc. is operated very successfully, but Jobs and Wozniak were not able to handle well with fast-developing Apple. He put his policies ahead of people, every time something did not go his way he lashed out irrationally at innocent people. He continually focused on the negatives, without recognizing positive achievements or employee accomplishments, end up with employees who are not motivated and often have one foot out the door looking for a more positive work environment. Even his partner couldn’t take it anymore and quit the job. Finally, Steven Jobs also got himself fired by his own company. This weakness also extending into his personal life, after taking a paternity test he still refused to acknowledge his daughter or pay child support. Naming a computer after her didn’t mean he took the responsibility of being father.
    On the other hand, Bill Gates represents a top management style that is also diligent, passionate, and yet more aggressive. At first, he spent a lot of time to adopt and decorate existing technology to apply to his products just like Steve. At the point when Apple had an increasing shares of the PC market, Bill didn’t give up but to find any opportunity and grow his own computer operating system. At last, Bill Gates took advantage of Apple’s Macintosh and created Windows to win the most market share of PC and Software.
    There are a lot of people think this movie is concerned about business ethics. They say both Steven Jobs and Bill Gate used piracy to copy other’s product is unethical. But I partly disagree with this opinion. Because technology itself is evolved by copying but modifying the past technology of products, whoever finds the opportunity to enlarge their business and takes the advantage of old product to create new product will be the final winner. Business is cruel. This is how the real world works.
    At the end, as we all know that now Apple and Microsoft they worked together and Microsoft have part of Apple computer. This phenomenon is applicable to Sun Tzu’s strategies of leadership—A good leader should try to align with the competitors without violence to get a win-win situation, which should be recommended and learned by us.

  64. Pirates of Silicon Valley is a prime example of how the wrong management can take down even the best of ideas. The bottom line of the story is that Steve Jobs and Apple Computers came up with the idea for the first mass-produced computer with a visual operating system. Because of the many mistakes that he made Steve Jobs ruined the advantage that Apple had. Throughout the movie Apple Computers was always way ahead of Microsoft as far as innovation goes. With good management Apple would have become the richest company in the world, but because of Steve Jobs and the Will of Bill Gates, Microsoft moved ahead of Apple in the computer business.

  65. George DeVardo

    Pirates of Silicon Valley portrays Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in a different way than people are used to thinking about them. When you think of Microsoft or Apple and their respective leaders, you wouldn’t place either two of them at the helm of their company. I found this to be very refreshing about the two founders, because it shows that the reason they were successful is not because they followed the norms of the business world at the time, but beacuse they thought outside the box.

    Between the two founders I think Bill was the better and most forward thinking of the two. He said, “The way to survive is to make people think they need you,” and this motto is the better of the two in the business world because it is very true. In an ever changing world the only way to stay on top is to keep changing with it and in their situation, to make people think you have the next big thing that will help take the other guy to the top with you. Also, the quote, “a good artist copies, a great artist steals,” works well in this movie, because even though it is a good strategy regardless of the ethical problems, Steve Jobs fell victim to it in the end. It was a good idea in the beggining, but the problem is that if you play that game, you have to get ready for someone to do the same to you and Steve Jobs didn’t watch his back.

  66. Philip St. Clair

    Today Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are two of the wealthiest, most powerful people in the world. How exactly they got there makes me wonder as a future business professional what this “business” thing is all about. We continually hear lectures and rumblings about business ethics and how a business man with solid ethics and moral is the one who will truly shine but this movie and the actions of these two men can easily make one think otherwise.

    Acting as top management means not only do they get fancy cars and women but have the responsibility of making important decisions that affect many people other than themselves. I feel that this is an area that both Jobs and Gates neglected when making their various business decisions, the ramifications on other members of their team. It is clear that both men held a passion for an idea of something different. It is also clear that both men simply wanted to be rebels. The movie portrays this by showing the Vietnam riot at Berkeley in the beginning, and also Gates late night card games at Cambridge. These two men wanted to break the mode of conventional thinking, not necessarily become billionaires. True, the money was an important issue concerning them but the very gray ethical area of piracy is how they accomplished it. Gates bought DOS for $50,000 taking advantage of someone who didn’t know any better. It this just business, or semi-unethical conduct? Jobs copied Xerox’s GUI. It is this just business, or unethical conduct? The line is unclear because of the booming demand for computers and I am not saying what they did was wrong; only that it now confuses my way of thinking abut business.

    It is like a game that they play. Top management that is; a game they play to see who can get lucky and who won’t, who can “do things that must be done” and who can’t, who can be a top manager and who shouldn’t. These visionary men blurred the lines and it is my feeling that it was society that allowed them to do this and it was society that drove them to do this.

  67. Many of the comments pertain to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as top managers, so to start I will opt to discuss other portrayals of TMT. We see IBM, Xerox, HP, and the producer of the Altaire all make cameos in addition to Microsoft and Apple. In all of these examples, the companies make at least one critical error in judgment. IBM does not contractually bind Microsoft to bundle their new operating system with only IBM computers. “There isn’t any money in this software stuff” demonstrates the ignorance of the IBM execs in regards to the value of operating systems. This results in Microsoft’s ability to sell DOS and Windows to any hardware manufacturer of their choosing, which resulted in MS’s wealth. Xerox allowed Steve Jobs to waltz into research and development, with only a basic level employee that truly understands the magnitude of what he is taking in. HP totally writes off the initial design on a computer with a monitor, saying what could a normal person possibly want with such a product.

    This helped me to see that shrewd businessmen like Bill Gates and Jobs with a real future strategy outlook can take advantage of many other executives’ strategic flaws. It isn’t always a matter of the best idea in a company wins, it depends on who is willing to take the idea to fruition that succeeds.

  68. Philip Pellegrino

    This movie seemed to be more about questionable ethics than top management. Before watching this movie, I was not aware that Steve Jobs stole ideas from Xerox and that Bill Gates stole ideas from Steve Jobs and Apple. Both Gates and Jobs were terrific salesmen though. Jobs convinced Xerox to show and tell him about the mouse and graphical interface ideas. Gates convinced IBM to not only buy his OS, but to allow him to sell it to other companies as well. Gates also convinced Jobs to go into business with him so he could steal Apple’s ideas.
    Top management did play a significant role in this story. IBM top management allowed Gates and Microsoft to sell to anyone, did not bind them in a contract. HP top management rejected the idea of the personal computer all together. Xerox top management allowed Jobs to convince lower level employees to tell him all about their ideas. Apple’s top management (Jobs) allowed Gates access to prototypes which allowed him to create an OS of his own.
    Another top management issue was Jobs’ management style. He often brought his personal problems to the office with him and took it out on his employees. His employees were working endless hours for him and he still would lash out at them. Jobs also created competition within his own company, but it wasn’t healthy competition. The competition seemed to divide and almost tear the company apart from within. They had enough problems with Microsoft stealing ideas, they didn’t need the kind of internal turmoil Jobs was creating.

  69. Larysa Karasev

    This is a great movie! I like the idea of showing a history of advent and further life span of two computer giants in such an interesting way. The main idea is that in order to succeed the entrepreneur has to do many things and among them unpleasant and (maybe) unethical actions like stealing ideas and concepts. Something deeply inside me protests from this way of doing things, but the reality is such that someone invents something astonishing but someone else profits from it and it’s absolutely normal. Remember how Bill Gates sold to IBM software that he even did not have at that time and the guy who really created this software has got only $50000 for it – almost nothing compared to tons of money that Microsoft gained from this operation! There is also one more aspect that deserves to be brought to discussion – two different leadership stiles. We observe Bill Gates who is trying to be cute and creates a cherishing atmosphere inside his company and, on the other hand, Steve Jobs whose anger tears people apart. He did not care about people and this greatest mistake led him to firing from his own company! How would anybody fill if he was expected to work 90 hours a week? There is no time left even to take a shower! I strongly believe that only leader who considers his people as the most valuable asset will ultimately survive.
    There is one more thing that I found worthy of mentioning. We observed how big and successful companies missed the greatest breakthrough inventions in computer industry. Old managers were so closed to new ideas! Remember the question – And you think our company will consider something called “mouse”? There is always a chance out there! Good manager should constantly keep his eye widely opened to initiatives and be wise enough to distinguish golden ideas from trash.

  70. Steve Job and Bill Gates, Apple co-founder and chief executive and the founder and chairman of Microsoft, are iconic technologists, entrepreneurs and business leaders of the generations. Many people are curious about why they can build such empires in a very short time and what kind of traits they hold.
    Foresight and execution are two important top management characteristics. In the film, it shows clearly that both Steve Job and Bill Gates have them. When IBM believed that there was no reason for an individual to buy a computer, Steve Job and his co-managers had seen the trend of PC. When Bill Gates knew that Apple drew the graphical user interface from Xerox, he made up his mind to get it by hook or by crook.
    Being top managers, Steve job and Bill Gates have not only foresight and execution but also other features such as determination, courage and the ability to deal with crisis. This explains a lot about their success.

  71. Shih-Ching Wang

    Steve Jobs is a very dramatic person. He established Apple, but also ruined it, and finally he came back to Apple to create the new peak. He is talented, arrogant, aggressive, and a little crazy. All of these characters affect his management. Jobs created a competitive atmosphere in the company. This is a very adventurous method to use. If you can control it well, the company will grow in an incredible speed. If not, the company will separate into two or several parties. In order to avoid it happened, Jobs was fired. Although he is a controversial person, Jobs really does some good examples for Apple. He creates a company culture that is totally different from IBM and only belongs to Apple. It attracts people who love the culture to join the company. Moreover, the company culture becomes a unique character for a firm nowadays.

    Bill Gates, another important role in the movie, is really an outstanding businessman. His excellent skill of negotiation and the way he treated his enemies make him become so successful today. “Keep your family close, put your enemies closer.” and Gates does it very well, so he can win IBM and Apple in the few years. Both of them, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, are genius guys and know the demand of the computer market very well. However, Gates has more business skills than Jobs, so Microsoft becomes the leader in this field. And this is what we have to learn when being a top manager in the company.

  72. This is a quite an insightful movie. It is different from most usual Hollywood “business movies”, opposing a bad guy to a good guy, and showing what unacceptable and how others should act.
    Here we see two real life figures staying at the head of companies that dominate the world, MS and Apple. Today’s image of these companies is unbeatable. They are strong in business and their founders participate in goodwill actions: Bill Gates runs a world known charitable foundation, and Apple distributes used computers to developing nations.
    However, if we look back, the reputation of these two great persons can be questionable. At a time, Gates copied the idea of operating system from Apple, and rewarded the person who actually wrote the code for Windows with ridiculous $50,000 check, compare with his subsequent multibillion profits. Steven Jobs, on his turn, plaid a dirty game with Xerox, using ideas of its employees for profits of his own company. The big question here is to what extend entrepreneurial people can be creative and open minded looking for business opportunities.
    Another important question raised in the movie is management stiles. Steven Jobs literally abused his people with work overload and extremely critical attitude. He allowed himself shout at even the most dedicated people. Such a behavior is inacceptable because a manager can loose his credibility regardless his cleverness as a businessman. As a result, Jobs appears out of his company at some point, rejected by employees.
    Finally, the last issue reflected in the movie is management flexibility or more precisely, opposition of extreme flexibility of Gates and Job, staying at the borderline with abuse and intellectual property theft, and stagnant old-style managers. These managerial flows are depicted in IBM’s decision about rejection of new soft- and hardware because they didn’t seem making ay sense to people at the helm of IBM. Later, the reality proved that IBM almost went out of business because of such unpardonable myopia.
    The movie gives a lot of thoughts for everyone, business people as well as general audience. It gives ground for deep reflections about ethics at and out of workplace, and people’s flexibility and openness.

  73. Ariana Axelrod

    This movie was interesting because it put a human face behind two of the biggest corporate giants in America. The movie showed the struggles both Gates and Jobs endured in the beginning of their business ventures, and makes it seem possible for someone like us to be as successful. It also illustrated the concept that one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. Both Xerox and HP turned away what inevitably became two of the most successful endeavors today. If these companies were more open minded and willing to try out these new concepts they would have reaped tremendous benefits.

    Lastly, this movie also illustrated the importance of having a good leader in place. Although Jobs was extremely intelligent and created his company, he had alot of trouble with interacting with the people below him. His lack of personal skills caused him many problems and led to his downfall. Gates was much more level headed and less outwardly competitive. He also worked to do almost anything to make his company successful, including taking ideas from Jobs. Gates’ obvious strength in leadership helped his company surpass Jobs to the top.

  74. I must agree with many of the above posters that it was quite refreshing to see the human side of two industry giants who essentially created the market for the Personal Computer. I brought a basic level of knowledge about the Apple-Microsoft war with me when I viewed this film, and I believe that this knowledge was useful to me for understanding some of the early portions of the work. I also think that the movie brings to light a number of managerial issues that effect top-level executives. In the movie and in history, it can be argued that Steve Jobs performed very poorly as a manager during the early years of the Apple Corporation. This can be chiefly attributed to his perfectionism and his overemphasis on creativity in physical design. Although his mindset would have been perfectly suited for a technician or computer engineer, Jobs simply lacked the business sense and general managerial knowledge that a person in his position required. Ultimately, this lack of business knowledge and his inflexible attitude led him to be dismissed from the company that he helped to establish. On the other hand, Bill Gates was able to adapt to his surroundings and teach himself what he needed to know about business. Although he was rather socially awkward in the beginning of the film, Gates’s willingness to learn the necessities for success in the computer industry allowed him to realize opportunities that Jobs ignored. Although Microsoft is compared with industry giant IBM towards the end of the movie, I do believe that there is an even stronger connection to be made between Apple and Xerox. Just as Xerox (and IBM) failed to fully realize and appreciate the business opportunities that the home computer market created, Apple failed to leverage the opening that they created for themselves by being the first dedicated entrant into the Personal Computer industry. The lesson to be learned here is that top-level managers must have a sweeping breadth of knowledge about the industry conditions that surround their companies. If a manager lacks this knowledge or an effective leadership skill set, he or she must surround him or herself with effective persons who do possess these necessary traits and abilities.

  75. “Pirates of Silicon Valley” is a story about the complicated world of computers and how this environment came to be. The stars of the movie, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, deal with extreme lows and extreme highs. Both are starting with nothing and trying to prove to the world that what they have is needed. In the end they of course succeed in becoming hugely successful, but both show questionable leadership practices. The entire framework of the movie is based off of the concept of piracy and computers. Part of being a good business leader is knowing the environment you’re working in, and using it to your advantage. While Bill Gates certainly grasped this idea, Jobs was too arrogant to consider someone might be better at pirating than he was. Each used information from others to the best of their ability in order to form a superior product for the masses.

    Looking purely at the leadership aspects of this movie, both Jobs and Gates seemed a little bit too eccentric to become great leaders. Each had odd ways of handling situations as well as people, but somehow harnessed their technical and social abilities to become successful. Leadership is not always about being the most extraverted; it is a mixture of many qualities that will dictate how positively one can influence and bring people forward. Although in the beginning it was impossible to believe either could handle influential positions, by the end they proved they were both major players in the world of computers.

  76. Lindsay Burleson

    I agree and echo a lot of what was said in previos blogs. Both Gates and Jobs were very committed businessmen who knew how to leverage information from their employees, competitors, and the outside environment.
    In the beginning, Gates used Paul Allen as a source of information and as a business ally. Jobs did the same with Wozniak. I truly believe that neither would have been successful without the help of these two men. On the contrary, it seems that even though they knew who the right people were, they didn’t know how to treat and organize their employees. The brilliant entrepreneurial minds of Gates and Jobs were only focused on success and innovation. This is a major reason why Apple and Microsoft are the companies they are today.

  77. Some posters have drawn on the contrasts between Jobs and Gates, but to me they were very similar. Both were driven leaders, type-A personalities. Their relentlessness was shown in their dealings with employees and industry competitors. These are the type of people that propel a small, no-name company to the top; those with the talent and aggression to lay weaklings to waste.

    Top management also needs to set high standards. My favorite seen in the mmovie was when Jobs reemed out his employees for goofing off and not writing code. This is the type of demanding standard setting leaders need to have to take a small business to the height of an industry.

  78. This is a movie about what they did to “change the way the world works, lives and communicates”. This is also a movie which indicates some key characters of top management.

    In this movie, both Steve and Bill use Picasso’s words — “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Both of them have ideas about how to do the business. Just as Bill stated in the end, since they were both trying to steal the television, it is actually a matter of speed, neither a matter of fairness, nor a matter of justice or something else. To put it in another way, the success or failure resulted from the speed and method. As the top management, Steven had more recourses and power than Bill had. But he did not maximize it in a proper way since he was too confident to hear from others and to be awarded of what would happen.

    Steven is talented but he is overconfident and paid little attention to others advices. That made his co-worker left the company and increased the unsatisfactory of his employee. If the top-management did not keep eyes close to what is going on outside, the company is in danger. Because you are not the single one in the market and your rivals are working hard, if not say harder, to beat you. “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” If you are not interested in what is going on with any possible rivals, you would be overpassed by them.

    In company, the top management, just as Steven and Gates, take responsibility to make some decisions which others can not make. That means, the vision of top management is the vision of the company, the way the top management wants to cover is also the way the company choose to follow. So the top management would rather be more sensitive to the future and changes of environment. Steven was too confident in what he was doing and therefore neglects the power of other possible rivals. Gates deeply believed in their products and sense the trend of future, therefore he won this round.

    As we know, the fortune top 100 list are changed every single year. It may indicate that if you are just trying to keep your position, you will lose it. Fortune goes from one to another and always be attracted by the innovative mind.

    The top management also has personal characters such as durable and learn from experience. Steven lost the game and was fired but was not beat. He tried hard to rebuild the career and enrich the band of apple with excellent design and other innovative steps. Since you can never expect top manage to make excellent decision only, you may still consider Steven a good top management since he learned from what he lost and raised.

    Gates also summarized one classical business idea, which is “You know how you survive? You make people need you. You survive, because you make them need what you have, then they will have no where to go.” He carried it for his entire career and became the richest man in the world for years. Bill Gates is far more than a genius in computer science; he is also successful in management and strategy making. The top management needs to have some big ideas which guide the strategy making and corporation operation.

  79. By the way, I like Larysa’s comments.
    The person who failed was also very close to success. The top management will ultimately be responsible for the decision and they have to ” be wise enough to distinguish the golden ideas from the trash”

  80. Rachael Schwartz

    I was shocked by the notion that almost every important breakthrough in both Microsoft and Apple were stolen from other people. It scares me to think that everyone in top management must be a thief with questionable ethics in order to get ahead. Bill Gates was willing to blatantly lie to Steve Jobs, and Jobs had no trouble phasing out his partner and friend Steve Wozniak. It seemed that everyone with decent ethics in the end left top management. Is it even possible to become so successful without doing such questionable things?
    Concerning top management it was very interesting to see how these ruthless entrepreneurs ran their companies. I couldn’t believe how horribly Steve Jobs treated his employees. People treated him as if he was a god, and he developed an incredible ego. I was surprised his employees were willing to work as hard as they did considering the conditions. His employees seemed to be motivated by fear over anything else. The movie portrayed just how persuasive top management can be when they use fear as a motivator. Watching Steve Jobs almost turned me off from purchasing Apple products.

  81. “The Pirates of Silicon Valley” is such an interesting film. It not only historically traces the development of the two computer companies, Apply and Microsoft, but also portrays the rivalry between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. It is intriguing to see how the two characters developed differently in the film. Jobs and Gates have very different personalities. Jobs sees himself as a visionary and an artist, who can change history. Gates is a very typical computer nerd who is very crazy about computer and quits Harvard and founds his own company with a friend. Regardless of the difference between them, these two men do have something in common: they are both passionate for what they do and both have the ability to foresight the future. I believe those traits are what required for being a successful business leader.

  82. In relation to top management, Pirates of Silicon Valley gave much more insight in to the mindset of Steve Jobs than it did to that of Bill Gates. I had always heard that Apple was a one-man show where Jobs basically dictated every little detail about each product, but I had no idea he was as freakish a leader as he was in the movie. (Remember the scene he drives one of his designers off the edge because he’s not working hard enough at 3AM).

    Jobs’ success was more related to his ambition than his vision. Steve Wozniak mentions several times that Jobs always took everything in life as some sort of spiritual experience and became engulfed in it. Apple was and still is his obsession turned into success and the success factor is probably the reason he is not able to let it go. It’s also probably the only reason his employees are willing to put up with such micromanagement.

    In contrast, we don’t see much from Bill Gates in terms of how his management skills. He does not seem to wield much authority at all (remember the rollerskating scene), yet he is always able to identify opportunities and set the direction in which to go. Without a doubt, he is also deceiving – especially to Steve Jobs – but no more than Steve Jobs was to Xerox. Not to mention the GUI (graphical user interface) was something that Xerox was not at all interested in so I don’t feel that their implementation of the idea of a GUI was outright theft. One man’s trash just happened to be others’ treasure.

    Also, one final point I would like to note is that neither of these men had graduated from college at the time. They were simply doing what they loved and following their gut-feeling. There is a lesson to be learned in that instinctive nature of theirs these days where we try to do a lot of things “by the book” and that is also something to keep in mind as a manager.

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