How Well Do You Know Your Bad-arse Tech Execs?

Jack Bauer

For all the airy, idealistic talk about changing the world and thinking differently, the technology industry is highly competitive, and sometimes the executives there have to play rough to get ahead.

Still, it’s sometimes shocking to see just how hard-boiled these guys can be, especially when they don’t think their words will be repeated.

We’ve gathered some illuminating quotes from tech execs, mixed them in with words of wisdom from some more conventional bad-asses, and put it all together in the form of a quiz.

Who said it?

A.) A Microsoft exec
B.) An Apple exec
C.) A Google exec
D.) A Facebook exec
E.) Dick Cheney

C.) Google CEO Eric Schmidt

We'll let Eric speak for himself:

Who said it?

A.) A Microsoft exec
B.) An Apple exec
C.) A Google exec
D.) A Facebook exec
E.) Douglas MacArthur

B.) Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple

Steve said this in a 1985 interview with Playboy, just a few months before he was forced out of the company.

Steve was selling electronics in the '80s, so, he was naturally enthusiastic about a Japanese collapse. The downturn in Japan at the time of Steve's comment didn't last, but he was just a few years early with this analysis.

Who said it?

A.) A Microsoft exec
B.) An Apple exec
C.) A Google exec
D.) A Facebook exec
E.) Jack Bauer

E.) Jack Bauer

D.) Nope, no tech exec said this (that we know of).

These are competitive guys, but there are limits. Unlike in 24.

Who said it?

A.) A Microsoft exec
B.) An Apple exec
C.) A Google exec
D.) A Facebook exec
E.) Tony Soprano

D.) Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

During his Sophomore year at Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg was approached by two fellow students who wanted him to help them with an idea they had for an on-campus social network. The problem: Mark was already planning something similar himself.

Mark worried that his idea wouldn't take off if a similar product launched at the same time. So he decided to take on the project and pretend to work on it until his own site was ready.

In the ear.

Who said it?

A.) A Microsoft exec
B.) An Apple exec
C.) A Google exec
D.) A Facebook exec
E.) Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano

A. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft

When Microsoft engineer Mark Lucovsky told his boss he was moving on, Steve had this to say: 'Just tell me it's not Google.'

It was Google.

That's when Steve lost it, Mark says. He called Eric Schmidt 'a fucking pussy', threw a chair, and went into this tirade about killing Google.

(Steve says Mark's account of the exchange is an exaggeration.)

Who said it?

A.) A Microsoft exec
B.) An Apple exec
C.) A Google exec
D.) A Facebook exec
E.) Jack Bauer

C.) Jonathan Rosenberg, Google's director of business development

Kai-Fu Lee is the founding president of Google China. Before joining Google, he was a Microsoft exec. Right before.

Google's poaching of Lee ultimately became the subject of a legal battle. As a result, an email from Jonathan Rosenberg came to light showing just how strongly he felt about getting Lee to switch teams.

Principle is OK up to a certain point, but principle doesn't do any good if you lose.

Who said it?

A.) A Microsoft exec
B.) An Apple exec
C.) A Google exec
D.) A Facebook exec
E.) Dick Cheney

E.) Vice-President Dick Cheney

We've heard similar words of wisdom in the tech world, but this comes from the former Vice-President, then White House Chief of Staff, in 1976.

Who said it?

A.) A Microsoft exec
B.) An Apple exec
C.) A Google exec
D.) A Facebook exec
E.) A Phillip Morris executive

A.) Microsoft Founder and (then) CEO Bill Gates

Bill was talking about the Chinese software market in 1998.

He pointed out that lots of computers were being sold in China, but no one was purchasing any software. Some day, that would change, he argued, and he wanted them to be loyal Microsoft users already when that day came.

C.) YouTube cofounder and CTO Steven Chen

Steve wasn't a Googler yet when he wrote this.

YouTube was a very young company, and Steve felt the key was to get big and get bought as quickly as possible. It worked.

Who said it?

A.) A Microsoft exec
B.) An Apple exec
C.) A Google exec
D.) A Facebook exec
E.) Bernie Madoff

D.) Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg

In the early days of Facebook, Mark offered -- hopefully in jest -- a friend of his access to information about Harvard students, saying 'I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS.'

His incredulous friend asked how he'd managed that. This was his response.

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