Technological advances are often led by visionaries who have a unique ability. That ability may be to see something others don’t, to inspire and motivate a team or organization, to break through a supposed technological barrier, or to simply say something that sticks in the minds of those who hear it.
Words have different kinds of power, but staying power often matters most. Sometimes it's a distillation of wisdom. Sometimes it's a blare of braggadocio. Sometimes it's a keen observation that resets others perceptions. Sometimes it's an off-the-cuff snark. Something someone says can be even more durable than something someone does.
What follows are twenty-five succinct — and quite often well-known — quotes related to IT and technology, along with one hundred visionaries. How readily can you correctly identify the individual associated with each quote? The answers appear at the end of the questions. Good luck!
Note: Sometimes being an IT visionary means that things you never actually said are attributed to you. This can reflect well on the misattributed speaker, or reflect ill on them. Bill Gates is still widely believed to have said, in the infancy of personal computing, some version of the following: "640K of memory should be enough for anybody."
Gates himself has debunked this (urban) legendary tidbit, explaining on one occasion, "I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is enough for all time."
To the best of our knowledge, the attributions we've made here are correct. If you know (or believe that you know) differently, please get in touch: editor(at)certmag.com
1. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic."
A. Alvin Toffler
B. Arthur C. Clarke
C. Peter Thiel
D. Zhang Yiming
2. "As you start building the product, don't assume that you know all the answers. Listen to the community and adapt."
A. Chad Hurley
B. Robert Metcalfe
C. Jack Ma
D. Michael Bloomberg
3. "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."
A. Warren Buffett
B. Sundar Pichai
C. Isaac Asimov
D. Pablo Picasso
4. "Culture is so incredibly important because it is the foundation for all future innovation. People with passion can change the world."
A. Brian Chesky
B. Jean Piaget
C. Katherine Johnson
D. Yukihiro Matsumoto
5. "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
A. Steve Wozniak
B. Mike Markkula
C. Steve Jobs
D. Don Valentine
6. "Expect the unexpected. And whenever possible, be the unexpected."
A. Mark Zuckerberg
B. Thomas Edison
C. Steve Ballmer
D. Jack Dorsey
7. "Fear is the disease. Hustle is the antidote. Whatever it is that you’re afraid of, go after it."
A. Travis Kalanick
B. Richard Stallman
C. Dennis Ritchie
D. Robert Kahn
8. "I believe that whenever an overall view or theme is applied to an entire industry, bad decisions will be made."
A. Alan Kay
B. John Zimmer
C. Annie Easley
D. Thomas Kurtz
9. "If I give you a penny, then you’re a penny richer and I’m a penny poorer, but if I give you an idea, then you will have a new idea but I’ll have it too."
A. Gordon Moore
B. Nolan Bushnell
C. Michael Dell
D. Eric Schmidt
10. "If privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy."
A. Phil Zimmerman
B. Gary Kildall
C. Mark Templeton
D. Elon Musk
11. "If something is not good enough, stop doing it."
A. Meg Whitman
B. James Gosling
C. Jonathan Ive
D. Peter Norton
12. "If we have data, let's look at data. If all we have are opinions, let's go with mine."
A. Bill Gates
B. Jim Barksdale
C. Larry Ellison
D. Edward Tufte
13. "In God we trust. All others must bring data."
A. W. Edwards Deming
B. Malcolm Gladwell
C. Steve Case
D. Marc Andreessen
14. "It's a romantic notion that you're going to have one brilliant idea and then everything is going to be great ... but the execution and delivery are what's key."
A. Radia Perlman
B. Ransom Love
C. Sergey Brin
D. Stephen Bourne
15. "Life is fragile. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow, so give it everything you've got."
A. Tim Cook
B. Susan Wojcicki
C. Jimmy Wales
D. Reed Hastings
Please visit GoCertify to attempt the remaining 10 questions of this quiz.
1. B: This was said by Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey and many other well-known works of science fiction. Alvin Toffler, another writer and futurist, is known for Future Shock. Peter Thiel was the cofounder of PayPal and has been involved in numerous successful startups. Zhang Yiming was involved in the founding of TikTok, ByteDance, and Toutiao.
2. A: This was said by Chad Hurley, one of the cofounders of YouTube. Robert Metcalfe co-invented Ethernet and cofounded 3Com. Jack Ma is the cofounder and former leader of Alibaba. Michael Bloomberg cofounded the media company Bloomberg LP.
3. D: This was said by the artist Pablo Picasso. Warren Buffett is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Sundar Pichai is the CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Isaac Asimov was a prolific science fiction writer who produced more than 500 books.
4. A: This was said by Brian Chesky, a cofounder of Airbnb. Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist known for his work on child development. Katherine Johnson was a mathematician hose calculations were critical to U.S. spaceflights. Yukihiro Matsumoto (known as Matz) is a programmer best known for the Ruby language.
5. C: This quote is attributed to Steve Jobs, cofounder of Apple. Steve Wozniak was the other cofounder of Apple. Mike Markkula and Don Valentine were both early investors of Apple.
6. D: This was said by Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter and Square. Mark Zuckerberg is cofounder and CEO of Facebook. Thomas Edison was an inventor. Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft.
7. A: This was said by Travis Kalanick, the cofounder and former CEO of Uber. Richard Stallman is best known as a free software movement activist. Dennis Ritchie created the C programming language and co-created the Unix operating system. Robert Kahn was instrumental in the creation of TCP/IP (along with Vint Cerf).
8. B: This is attributed to John Zimmer, cofounder and president of Lyft. Alan Kay led the design of the windowed computer desktop at Xerox PARC. Annie Easley was a computer scientist, mathematician, and rocket scientist for NASA. Thomas Kurtz was one of early pioneers of time-sharing and a co-developer of the BASIC language.
9. D: This was said by Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and Novell. Gordon Moore is one of the cofounders of Intel. Nolan Bushnell founded Atari. Michael Dell founded Dell Technologies.
10. A: This quote is attributed to Phil Zimmermann, creator of Pretty Good Privacy. Gary Kildall created the CP/M operating system was the founder of Digital Research. Mark Templeton was the president and CEO of Citrix Systems. Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of SpaceX, CEO of Tesla, and CEO of Twitter.
11. C: This was said by Jonathan Ive, the chief design officer of Apple Inc. from 1997 until 2019. Meg Whitman was the former CEO of eBay, Hewlett Packard, and Quibi. James Gosling created Java. Peter Norton is best known for Norton Utilities.
12. B: Jim Barksdale, the former president and CEO of Netscape, is attributed with this statement. Bill Gates was the cofounder of Microsoft. Larry Ellison cofounded Oracle Corporation. Edward Tufte is a pioneer in the field of data visualization.
13. A: This was said by W. Edwards Deming, one of the “Founding Fathers” of Total Quality Management (TQM). Malcolm Gladwell is a journalist, author, and public speaker well regarded for understanding technology and his ability to make difficult topics comprehensible. Steve Case founded America Online (AOL). Marc Andreessen co-created Mosaic, and was a cofounder of Netscape.
14. C: This is attributed to Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google. Radia Perlman is best known for creating the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). Ransom Love was a cofounder and CEO of Caldera Systems. Stephen Bourne is the developer of the Bourne shell in Unix.
15. A: The sentiment is universal, but this formulation of it is attributed to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple. Susan Wojcicki is CEO of YouTube. Jimmy Wales is the cofounder of Wikipedia. Reed Hastings cofounded Netflix.