The late Steve Paul Jobs born (1955-2011) was certainly an entrepreneur of repute. From a humble beginning with just a knack for electronics and a passion for entrepreneurship to a co-founder of three world business empires is a fete worth of note. He was born to two Wisconsin University graduates who gave him up for adoption. Jobs started as a student without a dormitory, sleeping on his friend’s dormitory floors and returning bottles for meals because his foster parents could not afford. He co-founded and owned three major companies at certain points of his life: Apple Inc.
, NeXT Inc. and Pixar Inc. He was also a member of the Board of Directors at Walt Disney Company after it acquired Pixar Inc. in 2006. He married Laurene Powell in 1991 and had four children. The journey to the limelight; however, was not a smooth one. It was marred with several corporate failures, challenges, obstacles, and doubt. Each time he was on the brink of success he faced setbacks that cost him decades of hard work and sacrifice. Before venturing in his entrepreneurial career, he showed flair for electronics as early as 1969 at an age of 14 years in High School.
Engineers from Hewlett Packard Inc. (HP) played a great role in his life, introducing him to electronics. One of his co-founders in Apple Inc. , Steve Wozniak, an expert in electronics was from HP. They started making computers with spare electronics parts at an early age. Their work was spurred by a journalist who noticed their work and interviewed them in a neighborhood garage. Jobs and Wozniak invented gadgets called “blue boxes” for hacking telephone equipment that enabled users to make free long distance calls. They sold several units before they were limited by illegality of the business.
1. 2 The founding of Apple Inc. Start-up capital was a major obstacle during the initial stages. Steve Wozniak resigned from HP and sold his HP calculator for $500 while Jobs sold his Volkswagen for $500. Another investor ,an engineer from Atari convinced by Jobs’ ingenuity bought 10% of the company while Job and Wozniak owned 45% apiece. In an interview by the New York Time Wozniak summarized what was to follow in a phrase to show the hardships they encountered, “Nothing was so great and so unexpected” The venture (then called Apple Computer Inc.
) sold 50 units at $ 500 each in its first sale of the Apple I generation of computers in 1976. Apple II project, an upgrade of Apple I was immediately launched. It turned out to be a success; selling 8000 units by end of 1978. The Company could then afford to hire a public relations agency to take care of advertising. By 1978, the company was worth $3,000,000. Mike Scott was hired as president of the company. In the following year the company sold 35,000 units and was recognized as a pioneer in computer technology. The company targeted the education sector and was the only producers of personal computers then.
Schools taught the BASIC programming language that was used by Apple Inc. This, in addition to the Visicale Spreadsheet that was exclusive to Apple II was a success until the entry of IBM (International Business Machines) in 1981. In 1985, a moment Jobs describes as the darkest period in his life, he was fired from Apple Computer Inc. Every single board member voted him out as leader of the Macintosh project. He only retained his position as chairman of the board, a position he relinquished later in the year as he embarked on his next venture. It was actually a blessing in disguise for Jobs.
The break gave him a chance to be creative enough to start something else. He was distraught for having lost an enterprise he had spent a decade building from scratch on the one hand but felt it was an opportunity to open his mind on the other. He stated; “At 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entirely adult life was gone and it was devastating. I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had left the previous generation of entrepreneurs down, that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I was a very public failure and I even thought about it.
I didn’t see it then but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have happened to me. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. I am sure none of those would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine but I guess the patient needed it. ” 1. 3 The founding of NeXT inc. The idea to start NeXT was borne when he met Nobel Laurete and Stanford University Biochemist Paul Berg. He asked him why computer scientists couldn’t use computers to simulate DNA. This spurred him to develop a product for the higher education market.
Jobs saw an opportunity in focusing on the narrow market and avoiding direct competition with Apple. He resigned from Apple as chairman of the Board and used his mansion as an office. He hired 5 ‘’low level ’’ staff from Apple for a start. Apple sued him for building a computer too close to its Macintosh project. This was a paradox since the Macintosh project was originally Jobs’ brainchild. In his speech he stated that he couldn’t understand how a $ 2 billion company with 4,300 plus employees could compete with 6 people in blue jeans. The case was overruled and NeXT proceeded with its NeXT cube prototype.
However, all was not well. Jobs and his crew faced a hard time selling their product. He married in 1991. His employees attest to how marriage changed Jobs’ character. He treated them more humanely and provided an atmosphere of independence at work away from all the bureaucracies of Apple. Employees worked as a community rather than as colleagues and there were only two levels of organization: management and the rest of the staff. NeXT ran into capital deficiency problems and once again he invited investors to inject funds. In 1985 the company had grown from a worth of $30 million to $126 million.
Jobs owned 63% of the company. The company ran on the NeXTSTEP operating system. NeXT was at the verge of collapsing due to Jobs’ ‘’high-priced but perfect product” desires that delayed rolling out new products. It was a dark period for the entrepreneur yet he was worth $1. 5 billion. 1. 4 The acquisition of Pixar Jobs was inspired by Pixar Inc. due to its technological advancement in graphics which was out of his expertise. He bought it for $ 10 million . He intended it to support NeXT’s inventions in producing a flawless operating system that could compete in the market against Apple’s Macintosh and Microsoft’s Windows.
The failures of NeXT frustrated his efforts. Pixar’s products failed in the market and he labeled the graphics development line useless. Had it not been for the skills of an animations production designer, he would have shut it down. The firm won an Oscar award for the best animated short film in early 1989. The company went on to make record sales in film-making in the coming years the most successful being from Toy Story in 1995. It turned out to redeem its career. Pixar was later acquired by Walt Disney Company where he was made a board member and issued 7% of the latter’s ownership. 1.
5 Return to Apple Inc. In 1995, Microsoft Inc. was at the top of its success with the rolling out of the Windows explorer 1995. Bill Gates was the richest man on earth with the Windows Graphic user interface. Microsoft and Apple Inc. had a multitude of suits and countersuits concerning the patent rights of the operating system technology. Bill Gates was accused of stealing technology from Apple Inc. to gain market share. At the time business was so bad for Apple that it commanded only a paltry 4% of a market it had created. Apple was so much in distress that it decided to seek the consultancy of its founder.
The condition was that Apple would purchase NeXT and allow Jobs to bring on board his technology. Apple’s losses worsened by 30% between the fourth quarters of 1995 and 1996. The Board decided to fire its then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and appointed Steve Jobs interim CEO in 1997. The company needed a serious turnaround and Jobs provided nothing less than one of the greatest comebacks in global business. On January 1998, he announced a profit of $45,000,000. Apple Inc. ’s market capitalization surpassed that of Microsoft to gain second position in 2010 at the New York Stock Exchange.
Currently it is the largest company on the planet by market value having surpassed that of second placed Exxon Mobil by a margin of $196. 55 billion. He made drastic changes at Apple including; purging the board of directors of ineffective individuals, partnering with Bill Gate’s Microsoft in software development for mutual compatibility, slashing the number of products from 50 to a dozen, effected the secrecy policy where employees worked within the premises to prevent imitation by competitors and personally supervised projects.
All this he did while earning $1 per annum as CEO; 50 cents for attending board meetings and 50 cents based on his performance. 1. 6 The successes of Apple Inc. 1. Being a pioneer in Wi-Fi wireless networking technology in July 1999 2. The invention of the Universal Serial Bus(USB) technology that has become a world standard for connectivity 3. A market leader in the digital hub technology including digital cameras, digital movies camcorders, digital music players as shown by the iPod and iPad, Mac Book revolutions and the iTunes music store.
4. Creation of the OS x operating system that is a platform of advanced computing for many industries including Microsoft’s hardware. He died worth approximately over $ 8. 3billion. To cap it all the Bloomberg Business week magazine captures the success of the company in an illustrative manner; “Apple stock is up 75 percent since Jobs’ death, driving its market capitalization past $600 billion and making it the most valuable company on the planet.
Revenue, earnings, and margins have all expanded as well, and the company continues to hit its product release dates with the precision and consistency of a metronome. Much about the company’s direction and even its products still reflects Jobs’s decisions and design preferences—the iPhone 5 was the last model to receive detailed input from Jobs, say two people familiar with the phone’s development. The company has yet to release any products Jobs didn’t personally bless. ” 3. 0 Steve Jobs’ entrepreneurial profile 4.
1 Preference for moderate risk Steve Jobs was a calculating risk taker. In several instances, he made decisions without certain knowledge of the outcome of his actions. He left school in his early life to venture into a business venture that was hardly common. He was a pioneer in personal computer who pegged his success on his ventures. He founded NeXT Inc knowing very well that he faced very established competitors in Apple and Microsoft. Jobs resigned from Apple as chairman of the board, a company that had taken him a decade to build .
He also purchased Pixar at a time it was facing financial difficulties and even sought investors at the time when every move seemed futile. He also sold his Volkswagen car to fund the start-up of the venture for $500. 4. 2 Value of achievement over money Jobs actions show that he valued achievement more than monetary gains. As Chief Executive Officer of the rejuvenated Apple Inc. he earned $1. Usually one would expect him to be the most paid employee of the company with prestigious perks and perquisites.
Instead he took pride in the success of a business that was once facing liquidation. During the rolling out of the Macintosh computer in 1980, he took his time to perfect the product and delayed to launch at the cost of losing profits to competitor in a market that was willing to buy the product. 2. 3 Future orientation Jobs was faced by failure at several instances in his journey to success. Apple I, for instance, in 1976 was a failure yet he had sold his assets to start the business. That did not deter him from moving on to the next project.
He was not motivated by immediate profits but banked on the promise of future gains for the sacrifice of current resources. At one time four out of five founders left him when NeXT Inc. was on the brink of collapse. Instead he invited investors to support his project. Pixar was also unprofitable at the time of acquisition but made record sales in subsequent years to become a business icon that redeemed his career and earned him a Board of Directors position at Walt Disney Company when NeXT was facing problems. 2. 4 Confidence in his ability to succeed
Jobs was recalled at Apple Inc. when the company showed dismal performance. He believed he could turn around the company against an enormous competitor and true to his word; he went beyond expectations to make it the largest company by market value in the world. He viewed his firing at Apple as an opportunity rather than a discouragement and decided to start over. 2. 5 High level of energy Jobs earned his position as leader of the most prolific projects at Apple Inc. He led the Apple II and Macintosh projects that were the vintages of Apple Inc.
Macintosh remained superior even after his demise at Apple Corporation. His biography states that it was 10 years ahead of any computer technology in the world. He was passionate and gave his assignments all his energy. He was also the founder of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) that is the platform for today’s programming. During his exit, Apple recognized that he was a threat and would actually compete against the technology giant despite his limited resources and shortage of experienced staff. Apple sued him for developing a prototype that rivaled their own despite being Jobs’ brainchild.
He also took it upon himself as CEO to personally supervise the work of all employees at Apple in 1997, a fact that is attributed to the success of the corporation in the following year. 2. 6 Skilled at organizing In 1997, Jobs brought reforms to Apple. He examined the distribution of roles and responsibilities at the company and noted that it needed change. He started at the top with the board of directors and fired ineffective board members. He also noticed that the workforce was inefficient, fired half the staff and reassigned tasks. 2. 7 Flexibility
Jobs was responsive to market changes and instituted prompt action to suit the business environment. With the success of the OS x operating system, Jobs had mistakenly believed that the company would cut it out in digital video editing. It turned out digital music would be the ‘in thing ’and thus quickly directed the development of the iTunes online store that sold songs at $0. 99 each and made large sales. 4. 0 Conclusion Apple was only a few quarters away from bankruptcy in 1996. Today it’s the most valuable tech company on the planet, with more than $76 billion in the bank.
This is attributable to Jobs and his team of employees’ entrepreneurial passion and resilience at several instances of his life. He was inspired by the drive to create value and was thus always visionary in his approach. His devotion to duty, risk –taking propensity, responsibility and results orientation among other entrepreneurial qualities were imminent as his roadmaps to success. The corporate giant leads on the planet even after his demise due to the strong-value creation legacy he left behind.