Jobs, Gates at the D conference in 2007 (Asa Mathat photo)

Following the death of Steve Jobs, much has been written about the Apple co-founder’s impact on the world. But a new opinion piece from the Harvard Business Review makes the case that Bill Gates is the one to “idolize,” based on the impact that the Microsoft co-founder is having beyond his company and beyond business world, largely through his work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In making the assessment, Harvard think tank member Maxwell Wessel quotes Gandhi’s famous line, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Wessel writes, “I don’t doubt that, in recent years, both Gates and Jobs did just that. Jobs made the world more beautiful and the billion of us with resources loved him for it. Gates is making the world ideal, and the billions of us with no voice will be forever impacted.”

Meanwhile, Forbes has named Gates the fifth most powerful person in the world in its annual ranking — ahead of the Pope (#7), Fed chairman Ben Bernanke (#8) and, yes, even Mark Zuckerberg (#9).

Also today, Gates issued a report to world leaders at the G20 Summit, urging them to devote more resources to the world’s poorest people and to think long-term in the face of the economic turmoil affecting many of their countries. Here’s a video of Gates talking about the report.

Why is Foreign Aid Important? from The Gates Notes on Vimeo.

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  • Anonymous

    Gates is a better role model than Jobs, says anybody with common sense. If you look at the two men overall and not just at what they did in tech world, it’s pretty obvious who should be emulated.

  • incandescent

    He is such a hero – it is great to see his evolution from the head of what was called the ‘evil empire’ to someone who really cares about the poor wherever they are. God bless you bill!

  • Leo Lam

    I agree.  I was just at Mr Gates’ talk at the UW campus the other day.  It was extremely obvious to me that he is a thoughtful, caring, selfless and passionate person. There was a lot of sincerity in what he said, and in his response to questions.

    Jobs, while a visionary, is more about himself. And what the Gates Foundation is doing is nothing short of phenomenal, taking his corporate efficiency and business savvy to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems to the benefit of others. Buffett is another good example, giving his fortune away and realizing how his fortune was gathered: through the support of infrastructures and many other people who are less fortunate than he was.

    I salute Mr. Gates. I would rather be him, than be a Steve Jobs.

  • Seattle Startup

    Hard to understand why a guy who makes pretty products and tried really hard to avoid responsibilities for his child should be revered in the way normally reserved for folks like Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the like.  Bill’s far from perfect…but Jobs even further and much more self-centered.

    • Guest

      All true, but as a CEO he basically had no equal, at least after returning to Apple. I can respect his accomplishments without respecting the individual. 

  • Guest

    Bill’s done a lot of good with his charity and a lot more will get done in the future. If he hasn’t fully redeemed his image yet in the eyes of detractors, then he’s at least well on his way.

    Now that he’s clearly moved on from MS though, I’d like to see him resign as Chairman. That would be a nice gift to the company that helped fund his generosity. The current situation of absentee chairman but CEO protector isn’t working.

  • Anonymous

    It certainly makes more sense to try to emulate Bill Gates, because emulating Jobs would be impossible. Jobs was truly unique, while Gates is just the latest in a long line of robber-barons-turned-philanthropists.

    • Anonymous

      Jobs robbed too.
      The GUI from Xerox made his legacy.

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