Now that the second season of “Survivor” is over, what are the shows junkies to do? What we need is a high-tech industry version of the show. All of us, in one way or another, seem to be playing a game of survival, either getting voted out by layoffs or bankruptcy or sticking around a little while longer trying to make it to the next Wall Street Tribal Council.
I propose putting the leaders of several technology companies into a harsh realm, perhaps the server room of an application service provider that has hit the skids and whose air conditioner has gone on the fritz—lets say Bill Gates, Linus Torvalds, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison make our final four. They will be armed only with their wits and shipping versions of their products.
In the final reward challenge, the four of them must watch the NASDAQ for 8 straight hours and see whose stock options gain or lose the most value. Torvalds, whos not really in the profit business, folds early, while Gates and Ellison battle down to the final gavel, with Larry edging Bill on the news that IBM just bought Informix.
For immunity, the four must see whose computer—a Windows 98 PC for Bill, a Linux workstation for Torvalds, a PowerMac G4 Cube for Jobs and a Network Computer for Ellison—runs longest without crashing.
Gates Windows machine, not unexpectedly, fails first, followed by Ellisons Network Computer, which is at the mercy of the server, which overheats without adequate air conditioning. Jobs and Torvalds go deep into the night. Just as it looks as if the game will never end, Jobs machine locks up, leaving Torvalds with immunity. That night, as the tribe votes, Gates lawyers storm in and slap an injunction on the proceedings, citing unfair manipulation by the shows producers. Gates protests he wants to run Windows XP, but show producers claim they cant find a shipping version in time.
The show ends in a stalemate, leaving viewers to ponder the fact that, in the game of survival these days, there are few winners.