Business Technology

The 6 world-famous tech leaders who can be found within UK workers

10 min read

06 January 2016

Former deputy editor

Britain's IT professionals have the potential to become the next globally-hailed billionaire business celebrity, according to a study, which revealed they share personality types with six world-famous tech industry leaders.

The frontrunner for Brits to mimic, perhaps unsurprisingly, is Mark Zuckerberg.

Despite the way he was perceived as a heartless narcissist in Hollywood biopic The Social Network, the Facebook founder comes across humble and down to Earth in interviews and regular blogs on the platform he created.

IT recruitment firm Randstad Technologies found that 37 per cent of workers in the sector share personality traits with the social networking billionaire, who revealed in December that he would donate his $45bn fortune to charity over his lifetime.

The qualities within Zuckerberg that UK employees hold, according to the results, are his curiosity and passion for inventing.

Zuckerberg’s inquisitive nature was showcased with his 2016 New Year’s resolution to replicate the technology found in the Iron Man movies, lacing his home with artificial intelligence that will recognise guests at the front door and more.

Other traits he is known for include risks and ruthlessness when it comes to hiring and firing. A famous Facebook hiring snub eventually cost $19bn – two Yahoo engineers were rejected from posts at the firm and went on to found WhatsApp, which the social network acquired for the hefty sum five years later.

Ruth Jacobs, MD at Randstad Technologies, said: “People have a lot of pre-conceptions about Mark Zuckerberg, something that the release of The Social Network five years ago did little to dispel. However, he has many fantastic leadership qualities, qualities that have helped him to build an outstanding management team he can delegate to.

“Being able to take a step back and allow people to work through problems themselves is an essential attribute in successful management. The fact his personality type dominates in the UK’s IT industry is great news for our booming tech sector which needs leaders who are able to combine technical brilliance and emotional intelligence to provide relevant and useful products for both industry and the consumer.

“The findings suggests people working in the UK’s core tech hubs possess the imagination, drive and leadership qualities that are required to develop disruptive new technologies.”

Microsoft founder Bill Gates secured the second place with 24 per cent. In recent years, the computer programmer has used his innovative mind and significant $78bn wealth for philanthropic purposes, all of which are promoted through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

A key development in 2014 saw Gates encourage entrepreneurs to turn waste to the advantage of emerging countries, demonstrating how the product could be transformed into drinking water while supporting sanitation.

Gates continued: “Western toilets aren’t the answer, because they require a massive infrastructure of sewer lines and treatment plants that just isn’t feasible in many poor countries.

“If we get it right, it will be a good example of how philanthropy can provide seed money that draws bright people to work on big problems, eventually creating a self-supporting industry.

Read more on tech leaders:

In at third place, one of two women on the list, is YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki who has her personality traits found in 18 per cent of the IT workforce.

She’s a known visionary and was the 16th employee at Google, having joined the company when it was based in her garage – and she was four months pregnant. She called the choice “a bit of a leap” and added “sometimes you have to do the right thing for you right now.”

Wojcicki was responsible for a number of key Google developments, including the search engine’s leadership status, but it was the acquisition of YouTube that remains her biggest achievement. She’s also family-minded and keen to interact with the YouTuber community to support their needs.

Continue reading on the next page for the three remaining tech leaders and the somewhat alarming traits your staff may exhibit.

Image: Shutterstock

Although he passed away in October 2011, Apple founder Steve Jobs lives on in 11 per cent of British workers, Randstad Technologies found.

A known disruptor and a man deemed ahead of his time, he was thrown out of the company he started at the age of 30, only to return as CEO when the company realised how much it needed him.

In addition to being responsible for the Macs we know today, as well as the iPod, iPhone and assorted goods, Jobs also founded Pixar – later acquired by Disney.

Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson described him as the “creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionised six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.”

In joint last place with five per cent each, it’s Alan Sugar and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

Of course, anyone who has seen The Apprentice will know that Sugar is famed for his aggressive and no-nonsense attitude – which may not necessarily be qualities you’d want in team members.

However, his bullish and confrontational approach resulted in his 1968-founded electronics company Amstrad going the distance to be acquired by client BSkyB in 2007.

Sugar was also the former owner and chairman of Tottenham Hotspur and helped the team through troubling finances, though he was criticised by fans and peers for being more interested in money than the success of the club.

On the topic of Sugar, former Spurs player Jurgen Klinsmann, said: “He only ever talks about money. He never talks about the game. I would say there is a big question mark over whether Sugar’s heart is in the club and in football. The big question is what he likes more, the business or the football?”

“Although he has always appeared to be more focussed on traditional selling than creating great technology and chasing a good profit rather than creating a good product, it’s difficult to argue with Lord Sugar’s success,” said Jacobs.

“He might not be a tech purist like Steve Jobs but Lord Sugar is an outstanding businessman. The fact that technology professionals are not mimicking his style might be good for all of us – as contestants on The Apprentice know only too well, a boardroom grilling by Lord Sugar is an uncomfortable experience.”

As for Mayer, she’s known for being a workaholic. New York Magazine said she “has been dismissive of people who, as she puts it, ‘want eight hours of sleep a night, three meals a day’.”

The reason for such an attitude is seemingly because the Yahoo boss expects people to follow her lead of just four hours of sleep each night. As such, she has said: “I don’t really believe in burnout. A lot of people work really hard for decades and decades, like Winston Churchill and Einstein.”

Other worrying attributes former Google executive Mayer is reported to possess including bullying team members. A former colleague said her ex-boss “doesn’t understand managing any other way than intimidation or humiliation” and suggested she only got to her post because of her work-obsessed attitude.

“No one understood why she had the power that she had, except that she will literally work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” the source said.

Summarising what a Mayer in the company could mean, Jacobs concluded: “If you’re following in Mayer’s footsteps you are probably a border line workaholic, with a no-nonsense approach to getting things done, even if it means telling some home truths. That might be good for business but it might not go down so well with colleagues.”

So with the results revealed, which tech leader resides inside of you?