The comments, inspired by Obama’s recent claims that he doesn’t know how to work an iPod, point to Maher’s frustration with the conflation of backwardness and likability — shunning new-fangled gizmos is seen as endearing in America, he explains.
Maher’s solution? Bring in Steve Jobs to push the country forward:
“America needs to focus on getting Jobs — Steve Jobs. Because something tells me that Apple would have come up with a better idea for stopping an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico than putting a giant box on top of it.
In 2001, Apple reinvented the record player. In 2007, the phone. This year, the computer. I say, for 2011, we let them take a crack at America. Our infrastructure, our business model, our institutions. Get rid of the stuff that’s not working, replace it with something that does. For example, goodbye US Senate — Hello Genius Bar! So good luck, Steve — you’ll need it!”
The sentiments echo much of what’s being said about the two most controversial companies in the tech press right now: Facebook and Apple. While Jobs and Zuckerberg are seen as uncompromising, ruthless, even arrogant in their way of doing business, this decisiveness has also pushed tech forward in leaps and bounds.
Is Obama too concerned with being agreeable? Can he learn anything from Jobs? And can leaders be likable and revolutionary, or are these qualities mutually exclusive? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.