Michio Kaku, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, And Steve Jobs: Leadership And Visionary Innovation

When Michio Kaku and Elon Musk speak about the future of technology, they acknowledge the future changes by way of human will. Recent decades were driven by the visions of both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who delivered information technology to ordinary individuals. Gates and Jobs changed the world.

Michio Kaku makes it clear in the video below that the future isn’t going to unfold randomly, and neither did the past. The future is a decision according to Professor Michio Kaku, or rather a series of decisions made by all sorts of people. Michio Kaku explains in the video below.

“I’m a futurist. Futurists believe that instead of moaning and groaning and predicting the future, you create the future … I am a physicist, my friends are inventing the future.”

Elon Musk seems to be one shining contemporary example, but there are many leaders driving the future. Their decisions are the product of a clear vision of the future says Michio Kaku, using Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as examples.

“Leadership is not genius. Leadership is having a clear vision of the future and then the energy and foresight and focus necessary to push it through all the bureaucracy and all the naysayers.”

Neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs invented the internet or the computer asserts Michio Kaku. Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs encountered early forerunners of a PC or Mac at Xerox. The Xerox company, however, had no vision of what information technology could become, said Michio Kaku in the video below.

Likewise, Elon Musk didn’t invent solar energy nor was he the first to make an electric car, but Elon Musk is making solar energy and the electric car practical, accessible, and affordable to more people, just as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs made computers more accessible, affordable, and user-friendly.

Bill Gates’ vision was for a personal computer on every desk in every home, according to Michio Kaku, and although neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs invented the computer, Gates and Jobs found ways to make information technology part of daily life. If Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had not perfected and promoted information technology, life would be vastly different.

Michio Kaku points out that Bill Gates rode the wave of technology, which neither he nor Steve Jobs created.

“Like a surfer, [Bill Gates] saw the wave. He got on the wave. He rode the wave for all it was worth. That’s what leaders do. Leaders do not create waves. Waves occur independently, because of historical things, inventions and what have you.”

According to Michio Kaku, Xerox had everything they needed to pursue the manufacture of a home desktop computer, but it did not fit their vision and goals.

Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos of Microsoft
Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos by Marty Lederhandler/AP Images

Instead, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and many others drove the revolution in information technology. Had Bill Gates and Steve Jobs not pushed for widespread information technology, history might have transpired differently. History provides an example of technology lying dormant for 1,800 years, as recounted by Qualified Hardware.

The first known steam-powered device was developed about 2,000 years ago by Heron of Alexandria. Heron’s Aeolipile was used to open heavy cathedral and temple doors, yet the industrial revolution did not fully exploit the steam engine until the mid-1800s, simply because people lacked the vision to know what steam power could be used for.

As Michio Kaku explains in the video, great leaders like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs are not always geniuses, nor is it their charisma that enables them, rather it is a matter of vision and the passion vision inspires.

“Leaders are the ones who say I have a vision, and the vision is to ride, ride the wave, and change society as a consequence.”

In the past, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates changed the world as Michio Kaku said. Elon Musk has taken up that torch as the next game changer. What drives Elon Musk? Elon says in the video below it’s all about him wanting to feel good about the future.

“I want to be able to think about the future and feel good about that… To be able to look forward to what is likely to happen and to look forward to the next day.”

Elon Musk makes Michio Kaku’s point beautifully. For Elon Musk it isn’t just about making money. Likewise, according to Michio Kaku, for Bill Gates and Steve Jobs promoting information technology was about making human life better. In Elon Musk’s case, he says most of his motivation is to create a future people can look forward too.

Today, Elon Musk sees a world of interplanetary travel and space colonies. Elon Musk also sees a world of autonomous electric cars, perhaps even flying cars, and layers of underground traffic tunnels. Musk also looks forward to a day when renewable energy is the leading source of electricity.

According to Michio Kaku, it takes a powerful drive and a strong will to change the future. Professor Michio Kaku explains in the video above.

“Science is like every other human activity. A lot of naysayers, a lot of pessimism, a lot of doubt, but sometimes somebody just cuts through that and says that’s the way to go. And all of a sudden a new paradigm opens up. A whole new landscape opens up but it takes one or two people to have the nerve to say, that’s the way to go.”

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs each made contributions to the technological age. They did open up a whole new landscape. Today, Elon Musk is doing the same. Michio Kaku says this is the true mark of greatness.

“What makes somebody great? I say that what makes somebody great is the fact that they change the whole field just because they are in it.”

Bill Gates founder of Microsoft
Bill Gates founder of Microsoft by Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

That is certainly true of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk’s work. Michio Kaku says leadership takes tremendous energy. Leadership is not just the ability to see a brighter future, but “the ability to get things done.” Michio Kaku says this working scientific definition of energy explains the energy of greatness.

“Energy is the ability to do work.”

As Bill Gates and Steve Jobs transformed the word with information technology, through vision, persistence, and hard work as Michio Kaku describes, so Elon Musk is driving his vision for a brighter future. This can be hard work, and Elon Musk must adapt his vision, moment by moment, getting the details right. Elon Musk told CNBC he was on “the front lines.”

“I always move my desk to wherever — well, I don’t really have a desk, actually. I move myself to wherever the biggest problem is in Tesla. I really believe that one should lead from the front lines and that’s why I’m here.”

Michio Kaku put forth the importance of the dream, but more than that, it takes hard work and attention to detail, as well as the determination to keep believing in the dream. It’s what Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did, and it’s what Elon Musk is doing now, as Michio Kaku explains.

“Do your homework, but once you understand something then you gotta dream. Then you gotta dream not about what is but what could be. You gotta dream about worlds that do not exist. Worlds that you create because they don’t exist yet. Then you need the energy to follow it through… Believe in it. Once you believe in it, you will have the energy to carry it through.”

Elon Musk seeks to inspire the world, and especially America with the promise of space travel. Believing in a better future is important, and spreading optimism is one of the things Elon Musk does best. Elon Musk explained in the video why space travel is especially important to Americans.

“America is a nation of explorers. People came here from other parts of the world. They chose to give up the known in favor of the unknown. So I think the United States is a distillation of the human spirit of exploration, and that’s why it appeals to Americans so much.”

Michio Kaku and Elon Musk believe they can create a brighter future, using vision and hard work, just as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs developed information technology decades ago.

[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/AP Images and Ociacia/Anton Ivanov/Shutterstock]