Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs: Who’s the Better Public Speaker?

I suppose I expect a lot from the CEO’s of large corporations (especially successful and innovative ones). I expect them to be very intelligent, great evangelists for their products and along with that great public speakers. Just for fun I thought I would examine the public speaking skills of two of the most well known tech CEOs, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates  (however Gates is no longer the CEO of Microsoft).

To be fair, I have uploaded product launches that each CEO has done in the past. This should be them putting on their best show since they’re unveiling important new products for sale. A new product needs to create buzz in the media and general public for it to be successful. Have a look at each short video and tell me what you think and see in their style and effectiveness. I have some comments below each video, but please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom and also vote in the poll.


  • He starts well by speaking in a paced way using action words
  • For some ridiculous reason the lights go dim over him so you can’t see him at (0.38). Maybe not his fault but he should have coordinated this with the lighting people.
  • Ruined the whole presentation for me at (0.54 ) when he started his demo and said “MAKES ME WORRIED”. What the heck? If he’s not confident about the product (and maybe with good reason) then why should I be??? That was a big let down.
  • His hand is in his pocket a lot. Not good.
  • He stands in front of the screen blocking what people SHOULD be seeing. He reminds me of a bad Prof I had that would lean over the projector when giving notes so you could only see parts of what he wrote. It’s awful and not exciting at all.
  • Overall I would say it seems like he tried hard so I will give him a 6.5/10.

Steve Jobs has become synonymous with great presentations. In fact there have been books written about his presentation style, like “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs“. I will let his style speak for itself. This is a small piece from the launch of the first iPad. My comments are below the video.


  • He starts by setting up the dilemma: many people have either a smart phone and/or laptop. What’s next that’s better?
  • He goes on to explain, why you need an iPad, before even mentioning iPad.
  • The presentation has great visuals and a split screen so you can see both him and the presentation. One thing they realize is that while there may be 1000 people watching in the auditorium, there will be MILLIONS watching on video and replays (like us) so they set it up to optimize for video.
  • He uses power words throughout without sounding like a cheap salesman. “Phenomenal”, “Works like a dream” etc.
  • The presentation matches his words and flows from one experience to another. You want to find things using Google Maps, type your emails, go through photos etc. These are all common things which people will do everyday so he shows them how cool it is to do it on the iPad.
  • Overall I think this is 10/10 and it’s no wonder they’ve sold millions of iPads.

Public speaking is a skill that is developed through practice. Steve Jobs was not always this good. If you look at early Apple videos he was geeky and aloof. Practice makes perfect and watching great speakers is very helpful. This is one of the many reasons I like to watch TED videos whenever I can.

Did I miss anything? Any thoughts? To vote in the poll and check out my blog click here -

Views: 2813

Tags: bill, gates, jobs, launch, powerpoint, presentation, product, public, skills, speaking, More…steve

Comment by Sal P on March 30, 2011 at 11:07am
True. In this case I think Apple has the better speaker, better technology and better products. Just my opinion though.
Comment by Sal P on March 30, 2011 at 1:19pm

Good points. You are right. I suppose I am referring to the quality of what the company produce versus head to head comparisons. I think Apple produces products which are esthetically pleasing and work smoothly. Microsoft does not. They are known for producing buggy, ugly and cumbersome products (Windows and Sharepoint are good examples of that). I have no experience with some of the products you mentioned so I can't comment on every product line.

Bill Gates' presentation is to a group of influencers and should have been the best he can do. It shouldn't really matter that one is a product launch. They're both displaying their products to the masses. They should have their 'A' game on.I could have used almost any Gates video and the result would have been the same. His style is consistently poor while Jobs is consistently strong.

Comment by Sal P on March 31, 2011 at 10:59am

So true, thanks for posting. I want to be clear that I wasn't saying that Apple is a better company because Jobs is better speaker. All I'm saying is Jobs is a great presenter and I wanted to outline reasons why.

Things were certainly different as you point out. Jobs was also fired from his own company at one point. My blog post is more about trying to emulate the characteristics of Jobs and be aware of the shortcomings of Gates.

Comment by Sal P on March 31, 2011 at 11:30am

Yes! I read the book by Steve Wozniak called "iWoz" about the development of the company (great book btw). It seems that he was pushed out gradually by the business-man Jobs, which is disgusting.

Although in the new book by Paul Allen he says explicitly that Gates pushed him out of the company and tried to find ways to dilute his ownership. This is similar to what Zuckerberg did to his first partner. It's awful.


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