It's hard to think of a more transformative and visionary business leader than Steve Jobs. Jobs was first and foremost a marketer and showman. While he wasn't completely clueless about technology, he surrounded himself with talented designers, technologists, and other specialists to propel himself, his company, and ultimately society forward.
Jobs had passion and an appetite for risk - he was well known for his RDF ("Reality Distortion Field"): he could convince others to take on incredible challenges and to pursue goals that others may see as crazy.
Although he's well know for being a tough and uncompromising leader, he also managed to build some of the most effective teams the tech industry had ever seen. Jobs's knack for team building would later be confirmed when, 12 years after leaving Apple, he returned and revitalized the company after many had written it off.
"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."
In 1976, Steve Jobs sold his Volkswagen bus for $750 to help cover costs associated with starting Apple. At only 21 years old, Steve Jobs was soconfident that he could change the world that he sacrificed his biggest asset - his vehicle. This confidence and "big bets" mentality would eventually become his trademark. Part of what made Jobs so successful is that he fully believed in himself and his ideas. When you're talking about a task as monumental as creating early computers, it helps to trulybelieve you can accomplish anything.
"I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."
Almost all successful businesses and individuals have one thing in common: perseverance. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, there are bound to be people who are smarter, have more money, or know more people than you — and that's okay. But you can still accomplish more than most of your peers by working hard and not giving up.
Perseverance is important in all walks of life, but especially in entrepreneurship. Many great entrepreneurs have, at some point, found themselves down on their luck with everybody doubting them - Jobs certainly did. In times like these, it's important to stay focused on the task at hand and constantly push forward.
"My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each others' negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts."
There are many traits that are often found in successful people, but the ability to build strong teams is among the most important. No matter what position you may hold at a company, you're a part of the team and you can only be successful if that team delivers. Picking just the right mix of people can make all the difference.
In the case of Jobs, many team members paved the way in bringing his vision to life. Steve Wozniak, for example, had technology skills that surpassed Jobs' and is credited with inventing the Apple 1 computer. Later, Johnathan Ive, Apple's Chief Design Officer, became an equally influential figure - he was the creative force behind many of Apple's most revolutionary products including the Macbook Air, iPod, iPhone, and others.
So much has been said and written about Steve Jobs that it's hard to separate fact from fiction. What's undeniable, however, is that he not only succeeded in business but also influenced our society in profound ways. That takes leadership.