This report will discuss the main determinant for the success of Steve Jobs. It
will then explain corporate entrepreneurship followed by the impact of
entrepreneurship on the economy and quality of life. The report will draw upon
the course material, the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and
additional relevant literature.
Main Determinant for Success
The key to
success is to realise that there are more than one keys. Similarly, success of
an entrepreneur may depend on more than one factor, however, I strongly believe
that Steve Jobs’ success was a result of his inherent traits and motivations. “Jobs
stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness, imagination and sustained
innovation” (Isaacson, 2011, p. xix). What made Steve Jobs so successful was
Steve Jobs, it was a combination of his intelligence and personality traits and
According to Paul Burns (2001) there are six distinctive
traits of entrepreneurs which make them successful.
Figure 1: Traits of High-Growth
Innovation and Creativity: “Intelligence is highly relevant for
creativity” (Jauk et al, 2013). Studies have confirmed that there exists a
strong correlation between intelligence and creativity which allows
entrepreneurs to be innovative. Steve Jobs was highly intelligent, in fourth
grade Mrs. Hill got him tested and “I scored at the high school sophomore
level” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 13) and according to Wai (2011) Steve Jobs had an IQ
of 160. Due to high intelligence levels Steve Jobs understood that “the best
way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with
technology” (Isaacson, 2011, p. xix).
Self-Motivation: “Patience is certainly not a virtue many entrepreneurs
possess” (Burns, 2011, p. 40). Steve Jobs was highly proactive, Steve Wozniak
told Isaacson that “he was awed by Jobs’ business drive…Steve could call up
people he didn’t know and make them do things” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 64). For
example, before the launch of any product Steve Jobs would call publishers and demand
that the Apple be put on their covers and sure enough “every major launch Steve
Jobs was involved in- at NeXT, at Pixar, and years later when he returned to
Apple- would end up on the cover of either Times, Newsweek, or Business Week”
(Isaacson, 2011, p. 166 ).
Self-motivation is another trait that is extremely important. Speaking from
personal experience, entrepreneurship involves doing the same mundane
activities day in and day out without giving up and focusing on the big picture.
Elon Musk is an entrepreneur who is extremely motivated. In 2008 his venture
came close to failing, however, the self-motivation to persevere and success
was evident. “He has the ability to work harder and endure more stress than
anyone I’ve ever met…What he went through in 2008 would have broken anyone
else” (Vance, 2015, p. 211). Steve Jobs was motivated by the bigger picture as
Atkinson recalled “Steve had a way of motivating by looking at the big picture”
(Isaacson, 2011, p. 123). The big picture for Steve Jobs was to “create a
company that was so imbued with creativity that it would outlive them”
(Isaacson, 2011, p. xvii )
Self-Confidence: Steve Jobs was dangerously confident. Steve
Jobs’ confidence resulted in a reality distortion field. Holmes stated that “if
he’s (Jobs) decided that something should happen, then he’s just going to make
it happen” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 52). For example, it was impossible to design
the Breakout game in few days but Steve Jobs was confident that it could be
done and ultimately it got done. Steve Wozniak stated that “you realize that it
can’t be true, but he somehow makes it true” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 118).
Willingness to Live with
Risks and Uncertainty1: A study found that “entrepreneurs are more
likely to take risks than managers, in turn, are significantly more likely to
take risks in general than employees” 2 (Koudstall, M et al., 2014, p. 12). While growing up Jobs’
heroes “tended to be creative people who had taken risks, defied failure, and
bet their career on doing things in a different way” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 330).
Steve Jobs was great at taking risks and living with uncertainty as “One of
Jobs’ management philosophies was that it is crucial, every now and then, to
roll the dice and bet the company on some new idea or technology” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 234).
According to Paul Burns (2011), there are eight
motivational factors for entrepreneurs which make them successful.
Motivations of High-Growth Entrepreneurs
Family, education and national culture played a key role
for Steve Jobs’ success. Lindquist et al (2015) conducted a research which
proved that having entrepreneurial parents can increase an individual’s chances
of becoming an entrepreneur by 60%. However, neither Jobs original or adoptive
parents were entrepreneurs. Jobs adoptive parents helped him become a
successful entrepreneur in a different way. They made him feel special. “I’ve
always felt special. My parents made me feel special” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 5).
“Jobs grew up with a sense that he was special. In his own mind, that was more
important in the formation of his personality” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 12).
“Educated entrepreneurs are more likely to establish fast-growing firms”
(Burns, 2011, p. 34). According to (Torren 2011) this is likely because college
provides the exposure to academic information as well as social contacts which
help entrepreneurs establish high-growth firms. However, Jobs dropped out of
college. He only went to modules that interested him, one being calligraphy.
College gave Jobs the opportunity to position himself “at the intersection of
arts and technology” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 41). Jobs states that the Macintosh
might not have been a success if not for this one module. Furthermore, college
also helped Wozniak meet Jobs.
Without a doubt, the national culture played the most
important role in Steve Jobs’ success. “Many would consider the culture in the
USA to be the most entrepreneurial in the world” (Burns, 2001, p. 40). Report
published by the GEM states that “innovation driven economies show the highest
proportion of opportunity-motivated entrepreneurs” (GEM, 2017, p. 23).3
Steve Jobs grew up in the Silicon
Valley which is views as the most entrepreneurial friendly place in the world.
Jobs stated that his neighbourhood was different than any other neighbourhood
because “even the ne’er-do-wells tended to be engineers” (Isaacson, 2011, p.
Section 2: Corporate Entrepreneurship
“Corporate entrepreneurship is the term used to describe
entrepreneurial behaviour in an established, larger organization. The objective
of this is simple- to gain competitive advantage by encouraging innovation at
all levels in the organization- corporate, divisions, business unit, functional
or project team” (Burns, 2008, p. 12). Despite the benefits “the big companies
that have launched paradigm-shifting innovations in recent decades. There’s
Apple-and well, Apple” (Anthony, 2012).
There are two different views on corporate entrepreneurship, we have intrapreneurship
and corporate venturing. Intrapreneurship was popularized by Gifford
Pinchot (1985), intrapreneurs are also known as ‘skunks’.
Intrapreneurship concerns itself with “individual employees and how they might
be encouraged to act in an entrepreneurial way within a larger organization”
(Burns, 2008, p. 13). Whereas corporate venturing concerns itself with “larger
businesses needing to manage new, entrepreneurial businesses separately from
the mainstream activity. It is concerned with investment by larger firms in
strategically important smaller firms and different forms of corporate
venturing units” (Burns, 2008, p. 13).
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor measures corporate entrepreneurship using the Entrepreneurial Employee Activity
Indicator, EEA “includes the development of new activities for an
individual’s main employer, such as developing ort launching new goods or
services, or setting up a new business unit, a new establishment or subsidiary”
(GEM, 2017, p. 25).
The EEA indicator reveals something interesting. In factor-driven economies and
efficiency-driven economies EEA is negligible. However, in innovation-driven
economies EEA is substantially high. It can be argued that firms in
innovation-driven economies are better suited for corporate entrepreneurship. The
table below provides two reasons why EEA might be higher in innovation-driven
“Higher total domestic spending on R&D as a
percentage of GDP and higher employment in knowledge-intensive services (as a %
of workforce)” (Niesten, 2017) result in higher EEA activity.
Steve Jobs helped popularize the term with his Macintosh
project. Steve chose 20 Apple engineers and they worked separately on the
Macintosh without any interference from anyone at Apple. Jobs said, “the
Macintosh team was what is commonly known as intrapreneurship-a group of people
going in essence back to the garage, but in a large company” (Lubenow, 1985).
Firms with dynamic capabilities are able to
promote and reap the benefits of corporate entrepreneurship. Dynamic
capabilities can be defined as “the firm’s ability to integrate, build, and
reconfigure internal and external competences to address rapidly changing
environments” (Teece et al., 1997, p. 516). Firms with such dynamic
capabilities are known as ambidextrous firms. Ambidextrous firms have “the
ability to exploit existing assets and positions in a profit producing way and
simultaneously explore new technologies and markets” (O’Reilly and Tushman,
2007). Ambidextrous firms strive to create a balance between explorative and
exploitative activities. Exploitative activities involve incremental innovation
and reducing production costs of existing products, whereas, explorative
activities involve experimentation and radical innovation.
After reading the Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, it is clear that Apple is an
ambidextrous firm, it has a traditional hierarchical structure with senior
board members like John Scully and now Tim Cook making business strategy
decisions which are linked with Steve Jobs’ leadership and innovation
Impact of Entrepreneurship on the
Economy and Quality of Life
According to Wennekers et al., (2010) economic
productivity and high-growth entrepreneurial activity are positively related. High-growth
entrepreneurs increase economic productivity by creating jobs and new innovations.
In the graph below it can be seen that medium-to-high growth entrepreneurs in
innovation driven economies are likely to create more jobs than factor or
efficiency driven economies. Surprisingly, entrepreneurs who are not likely to
create any jobs in the next five years are quite similar across all the economies.
GEM (2017) states that this might be due to new sophisticated technologies
which allow entrepreneurs to operate on their own, furthermore, unfavourable
labour regulations and legal environment can also have an impact.
When people think of Steve Jobs and what he has
contributed they all think of his innovations. However, those innovations weren’t
built by Jobs, they were built by his team, people like Andy Hertzfeld and
other helped Jobs. People overlook the fact that Jobs created a lot of jobs. According
to Michalowicz (2011), since Apple started and when Jobs left he created 7000
jobs and once he was back he increased the number to 46,500 full-time employees.
“Jobs kept a tight rein on the hiring process. The goal was to get people who
were creative, wickedly smart, and slightly rebellious” (Isaacson, 2011, p. 129).
Report by GEM (2017) states that innovation
increases as economic development increase and innovation levels are much higher
in innovation-driven economies than in factor-driven economies. “Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of
inventiveness, imagination and sustained innovation” (Isaacson, 2011, p. xix).
Jobs “revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies,
music, phones, table computing, and digital publishing” (Isaacson, 2011, p. xiv).
Naudé et al., (2014)
state that entrepreneurship increase the happiness of a nation because entrepreneurs
are happy themselves with higher job satisfaction, furthermore, they increase
the happiness of other by providing employment and consumption goods. Jobs is a
controversial subject when it comes to happiness. Sure, he increased our levels
of happiness on a macro level with iPhones and MacBook’s as they make us more
productive and he created a lot of jobs. However, on a micro level it can be
said that Jobs made some people very happy while making others miserable. Isaacson
found that “people had strong positive and negative emotions about Jobs”
(Isaacson, 2011, p. xiv). Jobs treated
1 The level of risk and
uncertainty an individual is willing to endure may depend upon his environment.
According to BBC students in the UK are going to graduate with debts of up to
£50,800 and logically if you have such a high debt you are not likely to start
2 See Appendix A.
See Appendix B.