Steve Jobs, Andy Grove & Surgery
The news today about Steve job's decision to delay surgery for cancer and instead use alternative therapies fits his view of the world perfectly. Steve was famously one of the ultimate control freaks in technology. And Apple products have always reflected that--they tend to be closed boxes, rather hostile to user interventions. How many companies could, at this late date, still get away with selling a mobile phone in which you're not even supposed to change the battery yourself?
And so it makes sense that when Steve confronted the idea of surgery, it seemed a lot like letting someone else open the box. It was a process outside his control, and so he opted for alternative therapies--diet, acupuncture--that were both external and controllable.
Contrast that to Andy Grove of Intel who, when diagnosed with prostate cancer in the mid-Nineties, went on an incredible scientifically rigorous search for the very best treatment, and even documented the process in an article for Fortune.
Grove took an engineer's approach to his disease. Steve's was more of an artist's approach. And of course, Grove just turned 75 last month and, while now battling Parkinson's disease, remains deeply involved in funding and writing about medical research.