All are born naked but some departs dressed in praise. In October 2011, we read the obituary reports of two middle aged Americans, Steve Jobs and Dennis Richie. Dennis Ritchie was a computer scientist. He began his career at the famous Bell Labs in the United States. By 1973 he developed the C programming language for use with the then-fledgling Unix operating system. Without Dennis Richie there would not have been any Windows, any Unix, any C, any Generic text languages and we would not have read in Binary. Steve Jobs was co-founder of Apple, who later influenced modern technology with undisputed status marks. Interestingly, Jobs was neither a computer scientist nor an engineer.
While Dennis Richie worked hard with dedication utilising all his expertise, Jobs was focusing on expertise he could mobilise from outside. Once when Jobs was working at Atari, Atari gave Jobs the task of designing a simpler circuit board for its Breakout game, offering him a bonus of $100 for every chip he could eliminate from the design. Jobs’ took the work to a long-time friend and electronics hacker Steve Wozniak, offering to split the $100-per-chip bounty with him. Woz is reported to have cut more than four dozen chips from the board. Jobs recognised opportunities, then got the best people he could find to work on them. That’s why Jobs could grow to a charismatic showman. Without Jobs’ there would not have been any iProducts.
Who among them was more important to technology? Certainly it was Dennis Richie. I don’t think that we require a long analysis to ascertain why Steve Jobs is more honoured. The difference is simple: Jobs was an organiser and a leader who democratised technology while Richie was a lone flower in Bell gardens.