The New York Times had an interesting essay yesterday by Stanford journalism teacher and writer G. Pascal Zachary exploring the character of tech entrepreneurs, including all the big names: Gates, Jobs, Woz, Page, Brin.
He describes the breed as “technological innovators who have a rebellious streak — resenting and resisting established authority and its prejudices — [that] took root in the 1960s counterculture.”
Zachary also traces the influence of science historian Thomas Kuhn, whose 1962 book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolution,” described the identification of “‘paradigm shifts’ as the key to advances in science and technology.”
“When world views were overthrown by rebels, new paradigms could be constructed, opening the way for new theories, new facts, new technologies,” Zachary writes. “… For people like Mr. Gates and Mr. Jobs, Kuhn’s attack on conformity in science and technology provided a moral and intellectual foundation that still survives.
“Echoes of the Kuhnian sensibility can be heard around any corridor in Silicon Valley, any day of the week. In fact, misfits now rule Silicon Valley and its sibling, Seattle.”
Well, on Sunday we took a look at some of Seattle’s rulers, then and now, and judging by their high school labels, there are quite a few jocks and cool kids in charge. But all in all, Zachary’s analysis seems pretty spot on.