The next tech leader will also have to have a Reality Distortion Field

escherby Bert Kaufmann

Steve Jobs And The Next Generation Of Silicon Valley Leaders
[Via Xeni @]

Chris O’Brien, a columnist at the San Jose Mercury News asked: Who will be Silicon Valley’s next Steve Jobs?

He picked out five possible contenders and rejected a sixth.


None of these guys will come close to filling Jobs’ shoes because of the Reality Distortion Field. In all the discussion about Jobs, little has been made of his RDF.

It is called charisma in other places but Jobs had the ability to not only hold your attention but also to make you BELIEVE – in whatever he happened to be talking about.

I mean, he made Ping sound like the most exciting thing ever. Or MobileMe.

The RDF was first named by Bud Tribble in 1981, when Apple was just a few years old. It is not just about hype.  Here is how Tribble described it:

In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything. It wears off when he’s not around, but it makes it hard to have realistic schedules.

He could make people believe they could actually accomplish things they ‘knew’ were not doable. Sure most of the time they were right but every so often, Jobs’ RDF actually got them to produce the impossible.

And it seems that a lot of people wanted to be part of the attempt to do the impossible.

Like the White Queen from Through the looking Glass, Jobs believes in as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast. And he can get others to believe them also.

No one has shown the ability to do that yet. It is the thing I’m going to miss the most. Even watching a keynote online did not completely diminish the RDF.

One thought on “The next tech leader will also have to have a Reality Distortion Field

Comments are closed.