Influence, Innovation, Inspiration

…and the power of great minds!

Two luminaries have permanently etched their name in the knowledge era. Hailing from 2 totally different backgrounds and nationalities, their phenomenal contributions through thoughts or deeds have made them a toast to humankind! Two individuals who have left their imprint in the planet in ways that make them very special to people across the globe. This is a tribute post that is aimed at recognizing the need to follow the paths they have both tread, to kindle and nurture the spirit to pursue ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and innovation – two key elements of these inspirational figures!

Two legends who have endeared themselves to a diverse population dispersed globally with their innovative thinking and visionary ideas. They have managed to sow the seeds of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking in a generation that is looking to emulate inspirational icons, wherever they may be!

Abdul Kalam and Steve Jobs Abdul Kalam was a visionary, a technologist, a scientist, a teacher and a former President. Above all, a human being loved by young and old. More than a week since he was laid to rest. But he is eternally present with those who have known him or about him. The octogenarian has left a void that will take years to fill. For, his deeds on the earth make him a special personality; an icon symbolizing aspirations and hope of a billion-plus people of a nation.

Such was his persona that his departure led to tributes pouring in from all parts of the globe. US President Barack Obama hailed him as a “scientist and statesman,”who rose from humble beginnings to become one of “India’s most accomplished leaders, earning esteem at home and abroad.” Dr Kalam’s humility and dedication to public service served as an inspiration to millions of Indians and admirers around the world, the US President had gone on to add.

Remember October 5, 2011? Who can forget this date as the world lost another icon, the co-founder of Apple – Steve Jobs. Who can deny that he was the man at the forefront of disruptive innovation! The non-conformist and the creator of products like the iPad and iPod that are an integral part of our lives.

Two heroes; their names will forever be etched in the annals of history; two outstanding personalities; two individuals, who came from two different continents. One from a developing nation and another from a developed nation; visionaries in their own ways; one charting the course of technology by creating innovative products and graduating to become an enabler of technology; another using cutting-edge technology and science to uplift people and nation. One who had access to rich learning environment as a child whereas the other hailed from a temple town that could barely support an infrastructure for learning!

Kalam and Jobs – two legends who have endeared themselves to a diverse population dispersed globally with their innovative thinking and visionary ideas. They have managed to sow the seeds of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking in a generation that is looking to emulate inspirational icons, wherever they may be! If Jobs’ ‘Stay hungry, Stay foolish’ line is immortalized equally compelling is the ‘dare to dream’ phrase of Kalam, a conformist. Both thought leaders are relevant as much now as they will be in the future.  Jobs was believed to be a Zen Buddhist philosophy practitioner while Kalam was tolerant and secular at heart and believed in a spiritual approach. Jobs was counting his last days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer whereas Kalam did not know till his last breath as he collapsed while on stage, doing what he did the best – lecturing students and sharing his experiential ‘wisdom’ in Shillong, North East part of India, where technology and other advancements have not yet progressed as in the rest of the sub-continent.

Kalam was involved in evolving policies, strategies and missions for developing applications that will have wider ramifications on a national scale – be it education, healthcare or science and technology. Among the various roles that he undertook, he was the head of Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council. He was burning midnight oil (so to say) as he was committed in his pursuit of applying technologies in ways that it never could be imagined! Who can forget his passionate recall of his happiest moment of his life when he was successful in using carbon-composites to develop calipers for polio-afflicted victims – an innovation that was possible due to his (and his team’s) knowledge of missile technology reducing the weight of calipers to a mere 400 grams from the original 4 kg footwear!

Jobs, during his stay in the hospital when nearing his end, apparently was still designing equipment that only a creative genius like him was capable of! Instinct and intuition were centric to his intelligent design work.

‘Missile Man’ Kalam used technology that won him the masses’ love and the tags of a patriot and ‘People’s president’. Jobs was a global phenomenon for using technology in ways and means that made business sense due to the varied applications of the products he created.

Both will be remembered as personalities who grew in stature due to their ability to design their destiny by arousing the curiosity of those who believe in empowerment of technology.

Some interesting sides to the two icons:

  • Kalam sported a unique hair style
  • Jobs wore a trademark turtle black tee and blue jeans
  • Kalam mostly formal wear
  • Jobs casual wear to work
  • Kalam conformist
  • Jobs non-conformist
  • Kalam Rudraveena player
  • Jobs calligraphic specialist
  • Kalam was 84 years when he left this world
  • Jobs was 56 when he met his end
  • Kalam had a human approach
  • Jobs made technology relevant to humans
  • Kalam was a government servant
  • Jobs was an entrepreneur
  • Kalam was single throughout his life
  • Jobs left behind a wife and 3 children
  • Kalam had no property in his name
  • Jobs net worth was in Billions of $
  • Kalam had a ‘Dr’ tag due to his PhD
  • Jobs, a college drop-out, went on to give the ‘historic’ Stanford commencement address

Quotable quote of Kalam: Thinking is progress. Non-thinking is stagnation of the individual, organization and the country. Thinking leads to action. Knowledge without action is useless and irrelevant. Knowledge with action, converts adversity into prosperity.

Jobs quote: The reason that Apple is able to create products like the iPad is because we’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts.

Leave a Reply