Survival of the Hippest

SAN FRANCISCO (08/29/2000) - Few TV shows have captured the imagination of viewers as much as Survivor, the hit show that pits 16 contestants against nature -- and each other -- on a tropical isle. The show divides the contestants into tribes, which compete in contests of skill. Each week the losing tribe votes to expel a member from the island, until only one remains -- the hearty individual who has bested personal politicking, petty bickering, and the occasional meal of grilled rat to reign as sole survivor. But why not populate the island with computer-industry heavyweights? After all, who's more familiar with personal politicking, petty bickering, and vermin than the titans of Silicon Valley? -- Philip MichaelsAPPLE TRIBEJohn Sculley, Apple Computer Inc. CEO 1983-93 Assets: Brings an almost limitless supply of Pepsi.

Liabilities: Obsession with crafting a crude handheld device out of a hollowed-out coconut.

Gil Amelio, Apple CEO 1996-97

Assets: Helped turn around the last island he was marooned on.

Liabilities: First thing he does is lay off 25 percent of the cabana boys and cut back on everyone's rice rations.

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO

Assets: So resilient that even if he's voted off, he'll return later in the role of interim tribe member.

Liabilities: Stubbornly refuses to stay in tribe's hut until it's translucent and candy colored.

Steve Wozniak, Apple cofounder

Assets: Uses technical know-how to build bamboo-encased Macs for each team member -- out of his parents' cave.

Liabilities: Keeps falling for Jobs's "I won't vote you off the island if you don't vote me off the island" ploy.

SILICON TRIBE

Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp. founder

Assets: In exchange for support from other tribe members, he offers to buy them their own island.

Liabilities: Builds haphazardly erected huts that mimic Apple tribe's design but periodically tip over.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Assets: Harnesses motivational tools of screaming and derision to drive his teammates to excel.

Liabilities: You've all read Lord of the Flies, right?

Larry Ellison, Oracle Corp. CEO

Assets: Uses cunning private investigators to dig up dirt on rivals and teammates.

Liabilities: Inexplicable fear of wicker.

Steve Case, America Online Inc. CEO

Assets: Has the financial resources to buy the island and turn it into an AOL subsidiary.

Liabilities: Justice Department blocks his attempt to merge competing tribes into a single entity.

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