Steve Jobs was one of the most influential and successful businessmen of all time, and produced several innovative products that forever rocked the technology industry, hand-crafting a company that would later give birth to one of the most significant technology-related social movements ever.
Fortune Magazine has taken note of Steve Jobs’ legendary career, and has honored Jobs by declaring him the greatest entrepreneur of our time, topping out 11 other wildly successful businessmen, including Microsoft c0-founder Bill Gates.
Though he could be abusive and mean-spirited to people who threw themselves into their work on his behalf, Steve Jobs has been our generation’s quintessential entrepreneur. Visionary. Inspiring. Brilliant. Mercurial.
Perhaps the most astonishing fact about Jobs was his view that market research and focus groups only limited your ability to innovate. Asked how much research was done to guide Apple when he introduced the iPad, Jobs famously quipped, “None. It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want. It’s hard for [consumers] to tell you what they want when they’ve never seen anything remotely like it.
The profile goes on to discuss how Jobs used intuition, vision, and an almost magical understanding of emerging technologies and the sort of experience consumers really wanted in their products. Time and time again, Steve Jobs released immensely popular products that customers didn’t even know they wanted (at least until they bought one).
Jobs’ own intuition, his radar-like feel for emerging technologies and how they could be brought together to create, in his words, “insanely great” products, ultimately made the difference. For Jobs, who died last year at 56, intuition was no mere gut call. It was, as he put it in his often-quoted commencement speech at Stanford, about “connecting the dots,” glimpsing the relationships among wildly disparate life experiences and changes in technology.
But of course, Jobs’ success was about more than just intuition. It was about more than great ideas. It was also about leadership, and being able to motivate his employees (even sometimes by verbally abusive and harsh methods) to go above and beyond, and produce products that weren’t just “good enough,” but instead, products that were just right in every single detail.
It’s a safe bet to assume that none of Apple’s blockbuster products, from the Macintosh to the iPod and iTunes, from the iPhone to the iPad, would have come about if Jobs had relied heavily on consumer research.
For years businesses across the world have attempted to dissect Steve Jobs’ career to figure out what made him so incredibly brilliant and successful. Not only did he change the way we use technology, but he changed movies, music, retail shopping and more. His entrepreneur skills were some of the best the world has seen, which is why Fortune magazine declared Steve Jobs “The Greatest Entrepreneur of Our Time” in their ranking of the top 12 entrepreneurs of recent memory.
In many ways, it’s a rather obvious observation that Steve Jobs was the greatest entrepreneur of his time – and perhaps one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time. Fortune’s tribute is one that is both deserved and well stated.
The full top 12 list from Fortune’s profile is as follows:
- Steve Jobs, Apple, Pixar, NeXT
- Bill Gates, Microsoft
- Fred Smith, FedEx
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon
- Larry Page & Sergey Brin, Google
- Howard Schultz, Starbucks
- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
- John Mackey, Whole Foods
- Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines
- Narayana Murthy, Infosys
- Sam Walton, Wal-Mart
- Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank