As far as his vaguely titled and impossibly broad book topic goes, normally I'd laugh at anyone trying to write anything that covered so much territory. Then again, Google owns most of it anyway and is trying to suck up the rest like a giant Dyson. I suppose his ghostwriter is in a good position.
Nadella's assimilation is proceeding as planned
Last, there's Satya Nadella, who seems to be working overtime to become the grand wizard of feeble statements. He's either going to be great for me in coming years or devolve into a completely useless PR golem with quotes like this one:
In the post-Snowden world, you need to enable others to build their own cloud and have mobility of applications. That's both because of the physicality of computing -- where the speed of light still matters -- and because of geopolitics.
You can spend hours trying to dissect such quotes, slowly losing mind and hair, before you realize he didn't actually say anything. That's a random string of buzzwords probably generated by an app that will crash on the next Windows 8.1 update, after which I suspect you won't be hearing much from Nadella until it's fixed. I'm now positive he's a CGI ghost controlled by a secret Microsoft AI for press events and keynote speeches, with quotes coming after every Patch Tuesday.
Steve Jobs' stamp of approval
The only strong achievement made by a technology CEO in recent days comes from Steve Jobs, and he's dead. In his competitive race with Bill Gates, he's had the last laugh from beyond the grave by managing to become the first technology CEO to get himself on a U.S. postage stamp, which would be really great for him if people still used those. Still, I bet Gates is eating his heart out now because he didn't think to die first.
Some folks are complaining that a business leader who exploited Chinese workers and left his family in the lurch shouldn't receive an honor like this, but seriously, what CEO hasn't trampled over a few folks on his way to the top? That's small potatoes compared to the contributions he made to the science of American business, teaching future generations of revenue-ravenous corporate reamers how to terrorize information workers to greater levels of productivity or showing off how companies can develop communities of rabidly fanatical, virgin-sacrificing fanboys with nothing but product branding.
I know we folk in the fourth estate love hammering on CEOs who forget about political correctness, but this is pitiful. C'mon guys, give us some hint of how you really feel. You're ruining the glorious tradition of American capitalists as corporate kings who don't give a crap-chisel for public opinion. After all, you're too rich to prosecute and too isolated to care. Reach back and feel around until you find your spine and straighten up.
This post is dedicated to an idol and icon, Harold Ramis.
This article, "Like it or not, the era of the wimpy CEO has arrived," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.