I spend a lot of time talking about innovative entrepreneurship, and Steve Jobs and Apple are the definition of that. We all know the story of how Jobs dropped out of college and with his high school friend Steve Wozniak created Apple Computer in 1976.
In 1985, Jobs was pushed out of the company he co-founded but returned in 1996. Five years later, Apple released the first iPod and the world changed, little though we knew it at the time.
Another way to look at how innovative Jobs was is to look at the 313 patents he was listed on, the industries he impacted and the other successful companies he founded showing that Apple was not just a one-time stroke of luck.
In business, and as an entrepreneur, you hope to impact one industry in some way, or have one successful company. But Jobs had a huge impact on, or created, many industries including personal computers, music, phones, digital publishing, tablet computing and animated movies.
In his time away from Apple, Jobs continued his entrepreneurial pursuits founding new companies, such as Pixar which he later sold again to Disney and NeXT. The latter was acquired by Apple. In true Jobs fashion, Pixar went on to change the world of animated movies by creating “Toy Story,” the first computer animated movie and other favorites of mine such as “Monsters Inc.” and “The Incredibles.”
You may be wondering how this can help you as a business owner, inventor, entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur. Jobs sets a standard for us to aspire to in business as creative, innovative entrepreneurs and inventors.
His story reminds us that we don’t have to be born into a wealthy entrepreneurial family to be one. Jobs was born to a young, unwed mother who gave him up for adoption.
The most important lesson he passes on to us is that he did what he loved. He loved creating Apple and when he left, he continued what he loved as an entrepreneur creating new companies. Most entrepreneurs do not start only one company, they create many because they are doing something they love to do.
The last lesson he left us is to reach for great things. Steve wanted to change the world and I think he did that. You will find yourself inspired by these lessons in his 2005 commencement address to Stanford University.
Jobs and Apple were the foundation of Silicon Valley, which we now associate with technology companies. But he wasn’t successful because of Silicon Valley, his success helped create this technology corridor.
Today we don’t have to be physically located in a Silicon Valley to have a successful technology company. Because of today’s technology we can be anywhere and run our business.
Often times this means we can locate in more rural areas like Kentucky and enjoy a wonderful quality of life while having lower cost of resources.
The world will miss Steve Jobs but we have learned that anyone from any background can come up with an idea that can make a difference, especially if you are doing what you love. You could be that person.
Do you have an idea? Are you doing what you love? Are you making a difference? Are you changing the world?
Loretta Daniel is director of the Murray State University Regional Business and Innovation Center. She can be contacted at 270-809-6071 or email@example.com.