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Though there have been many noteworthy, leaders who have built empires and been responsible for revolutionizing industry throughout time, recently there are only a few that stick out. One in particular is Steve Jobs. Partially accredited for the creation of Apple computers, and former CEO of Apple Inc., Jobs was a unique man, who defied what we usually call “ normal” in order to follow is own path and effectively revolutionize the technology and computer industries as we knew them then, as well as how we know them today. Throughout his career, he allowed his forthright leadership skills to guide him as he carried his company to the edge of imagination, proving naysayers wrong with every new invention. He was, essentially, one of the greatest leaders of his time.
Albeit slightly sociopathic, according to, “ Narrative, Drama, and Charismatic Leadership: The Case of Apple’s Steve Jobs,” Jobs always seemed to know that conventionality was not for him. He attended Homestead High School, where he met Bill Fernandez and Steve Wozniak, the future co-conspirators to Apple’s success. It began in 1969 with the “ Cream Soda” computer and showed no signs of stopping as the young men began designing video games such as pong, which Jobs later introduced to Atari . Jobs enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon for a semester but his frugal parents found paying the tuition difficult; they has spent most of their lifesaving helping their son attain a higher education. Eventually he dropped out and, instead, continued working in small workspaces and attending creative workshops such as calligraphy classes. He credits many calligraphy classes as the reason Apple computers eventually came to have so many different fonts and type faces .
While many paint Jobs to be a type of socio-maniac, he was a relative pillar of ethics. For example, Jobs admits in his autobiography, “ I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words,” that in 1978 his partner at the time, Chrisann Brennan, had a daughter whom she claimed was Jobs’ child . For two years, however, Jobs thought he was sterile and denied the child’s paternity, insisting Brennan must have had an affair. Eventually he heard her please, had a test completed, and accepted the child as his own. Many other individuals would have continued to deny a child, rather than simply have a test done and accept the child. His more charitable efforts include donating $55, 000 to the Democratic party, $900 to an unspecified Republican candidate, and $75, 000 to special interests concerning electronics and technology, as stated in, “ The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership For A New Generation .”
Jobs is given partial credit, along with Wozniak and Fernandez, for putting a personal computer in nearly every home in America . Some homes have more than one personal computer. Today, the iPhone and many other smartphones are technically considered computers, and this is because of Apple Inc., and Steve Jobs. He is a man, and a leader, that worked to make the world smaller, bringing all information into a source that literally fits into our pockets . Jobs’ innovations with Apple led to more than just personal computers. With such easy access to the internet, people all over the globe have found it easier to reach out and connect with one another. Information is being shared more quickly than it ever has before. Entire social networking sites are able to livestream revolutionary moments as they happen; it is a time that people only once dreams about. We can share our lives, moment by moment, with people 2, 000 miles away with a simple click of a button or swipe of our thumb. While Jobs and Apple were not the all-consuming cause of these innovations, Jobs’ leadership was one of the catalysts. His innovations paved the way for many people to share their thoughts, ideas, opinions, and information more swiftly than ever.
Many things make Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. stand out, though they are likely best remembered as a black turtleneck and an emblem of an apple, or an iPod . However, many forget that Jobs built his empire without a formal college education. He only completed one semester of college, having fostered a love for fixing electronics with his father in their garage at the tender age of ten . He had a natural inclination toward fixing and creating, but was also very business oriented. When Steve Wozniak, also very gifted in computer programming, created his own version of “ Pong,” Jobs took the game to Atari Inc., wowing management with his presentation skills despite his relatively young age . Perhaps it was Jobs’ flare for drama that allowed him to keep experienced individuals at Atari Inc. interested. Apple Inc. was also different and exciting because they always appeared to be releasing new and innovative gadgets. The designs were unique and fun, allowing the user to feel as if they were living in a futuristic world and the programs that came with each device were typically innovative, worthy of the business-oriented, or the creative-oriented.
In sum, Jobs was an untraditional, but cutting-edge leader who broke boundaries and changed the world. If I were in the place of Steve Jobs, I would hope to have his creativity and fearlessness when it came to business and technology. I would also hope to have his intelligence, and be able to program a computer as if it were no big deal. I would definitely try to make the same choices he did because, while the public did not always immediately accept them, Apple Inc. is an easily recognizable company that continues to help bring people together. Even now, after his death, it continues to make the world a smaller, more accessible place, while somehow still making everything more colorful, musical, and exciting. Perhaps these were Jobs’ goals all along; I would hope they would be mine, as well, if I were in his position.
Elliot, J., & Simon, W. (2011). The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation. New York: Vanguard Press.
Jobs, S. (2011). I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words. Evanston: Agate Publishing.
Sharma, A., & Grant, D. (2011). Narrative, drama and charismatic leadership: The case of Apple’s Steve Jobs. Leadership, 3-26.
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