Tantalus was a powerful guy at his time in ancient Greece. Powerful enough to have been granted access to the gods, nothing less. Impressive.
Ungrateful though, he had an “inappropriate behavior”, and took with him nectar and ambrosia from the gods’ banquet table, and thus, “disclosed confidential information” to mortal humans.
That violation of the gods’ Standards of Business Conduct could not go through without punishment, and Tantalus was sent to Hades (the Greek version of Hell at that time; please note we carefully typed and initial “H” for Hell as confusion with “Dell” could have easily happen to our dear readers).
But not only was the guy sent there, where he might have eventually found a decent living by writing his memories and giving conferences and TV shows with forgettable American Presidents, the gods’ wrath went further. Instead of enrolling him in endless PowerPoint presentations about Standards of Business Conduct, which seems to be the classic punishment for normal mortals, they decided to teach him a lesson about ambrosia and nectar he would never ever forget: They placed him in a water pond beneath the most wonderful fruit tree in a way that when he wanted to calm his thirst off, water would withdraw from him, and when he wanted to reach for the low hanging fruit from the tree to fill his stomach, the tree branches would raise enough to remain always out of reach.
Thirst and starvation for eternity did not really seem a good plan. but we’d guess that is what happens when you fall short of expectations in such an exclusive club as Mount Olympus.
Microsoft is a really impressive company. Rich, knowledgeable, talented… a winning combination certainly. No wonder it is one of the best known brands, and much present in many people’s daily life, either as individuals or as professionals. Becoming the CEO there certainly gives you big green US presidents portraits, and, subsequently, a hell lot of power. You become a member of the super-exclusive elitist club of the people that appear regularly in Fortune magazine, and even the US President may ask for some of your time. Furthermore, if you wanted you could even have a yacht to win America’s Cup, or build spaceships to ascend to Heaven like a “Virgin”. You could say you reached the Mount Olympus of the 21st Century, you could say you are like a god on earth, couldn’t you?
When you imagine, dear reader, the banquets and conversations they enjoy in Mount Olympus, you expect at least fantastic goods and services, outstanding super cool products coming out from the companies they lead, from the companies that have put them in those jobs, would you not? “Product etiquette”, which, should it not be observed, creates an actual situation of “not living up to standards” that should end up in sending the non compliant guy to 21st Century Hades… (again, not suggesting a promotion within Dell at all).
Generally speaking, we think those super-exclusive people do well up there… but, being as human as people can be, there are always exceptions to the rule.
Enter Steve Ballmer, 50% Ape, 50% Man, 100% pure transpiration…
No wonder his sense of etiquette falls a bit short to expectations… but as well do his company products and services do, especially compared to other peers of his.
And, as in ancient Greece, somehow the market gods are delivering him slowly to the 21st Century Hades of the IT Market (again, not really suggesting he should be hired by Hell-Dell). He’s been placed in a pond of operating systems, beneath a tree of wonderful fruit in the form of smartphones…
Whenever he finds himself thirsty of operating system technology, the pond withdraws its androids, symbians, blackberries, iOS4s and even WebOSs, and whenever he wants to reach a piece of fruit, revenue raises, but not for him to “touch”, while a subtle breeze sounds in his ears like “not yet, kid…”
In very many versions of the mythological story of Tantalus, by the way, as much as in many artistic representations of the story, the fruit in the tree are red, shaped like a heart, fresh, juicy… Apples!