Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs: “The Leading-Edge Guy in the World”
Personality can describe a person of prominence or notoriety. Sometimes the word is used more correctly to refer to a set of enduring character traits. Steve Jobs, the charismatic, colorful, and controversial co-founder and head of Apple Computer, fits both definitions. He's a personality who has an interesting personality. Jobs is seen as an inspiring visionary on the one hand, and on the other hand, as difficult and abrasive. His complex personality encompasses many contradictions and yet is a source of his professional success, as well as the success of his several business ventures. After one semester at Reed College, Jobs worked briefly at Hewlett-Packard, where he met fellow computer geek Steve Wozniak. Jobs had a short stint at Atari, an early video game maker, and backpacked around India. In 1976, when Jobs was 21, he convinced Wozniak to sell a personal computer Wozniak designed and built for himself. This was the first commercially available personal computer. Apple Computer's initial public offering in 1980 created many millionaires, including Jobs. As CEO of Apple, Jobs oversaw the development of the enormously successful Macintosh. Apple Computer grew tremendously, but Jobs' tenure was marred by controversy and difficulties. His idealistic vision and impossibly high standards drove the firm to ever-greater achievements. Yet after several failed designs and cost overruns, Apple hired John Sculley, former CEO of Pepsi, to run Apple. Jobs and Sculley clashed continually, and in 1985, the Apple board of directors forced Jobs to resign. Larry Tesler, then Apple's chief scientist, describes the mood at Apple. "People in the company had very mixed feelings about it. Everyone had been terrorized by Steve Jobs at some point or another, and so there was a certain relief that the terrorist would be gone," says Tesler. "And on the other hand I think there was incredible respect for Steve Jobs by the very same people, and we were all very worried what would happen to this company without the visionary, without the founder, without the charisma." Jobs protested by selling his Apple stock and starting NeXT, a high-end computer company. NeXT made the PC used by Tim BernersLee to write the software code called "WorldWideWeb 1.0," the basis for today's Internet. In 1986, Jobs purchased George Lucas's computer animation studio, Pixar. Jobs's management at Pixar was very handsoff, but he pushed NeXT constantly, resulting in many innovative products. In 1996, Apple purchased NeXT for $400 million and Jobs returned to his nowailing and almost bankrupt company. Within a year, he was named CEO of Apple. His leadership produced the iPod and launched the iTunes online music store. Meanwhile, Pixar released hit after hit, including Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo, and The lncredibles, in partnership with Disney. Disney's then-CEO Michael Eisner and Jobs fought bitterly and publicly, but in 2005, Bob Iger became CEO at Disney. Iger quickly established better relations with Jobs. In 2006, Disney purchased Pixar for $7.4 billion, making Jobs Disney's largest stockholder controlling 7 percent of stock and a board

member. Today, Jobs is a successful businessman-the 140th richest person in the world, with a net worth estimated at $4.4 billion. His personality has been instrumental in his achievements. "If Steve has a good relationship with you, there's nobody better in the world to work with. He trusts you, and he listens, and he bounces his ideas off you," says Edgar Woolard, Jr., a former Apple board member. Woolard says Jobs is "an absolute perfectionist" who is "incredibly creative with great vision." Colleagues portray Jobs as persuasive, charismatic, energetic, confident, and powerful. These traits point to success, yet the darker side of these same traits can be problematic. Jobs is seen as both an evangelist and an enfant terrible. He can be erratic, tempestuous, mercurial, obsessive, aggressive, demanding, and grandiose. According to some, he's a control freak and a micromanager. He is often outspokenly critical and sarcastic, with unrealistically high standards and a bad temper. Apple is transformed into a powerhouse. New products are blockbusters. The firm's stock has doubled in the last year and Apple ranks 11th in Fortune's list of "Most Admired Companies." Pixar, and now Disney, will undoubtedly continue to create awardwinning films. These accomplishments spring from Jobs's drive to improve and innovate. Fortune writer Fred Vogelstein admires Jobs, saying, "[He] throws the status quo into disorder and rides that chaos to the front of the pack." "He wants to be the leading-edge guy-which he is," states Woolard, who is also a fan. "He's the leading-edge guy in the world." POSTSCRIPT: WHAT IMPACT WILL JOBS’ DEATH IN FALL 2011 HAVE ON TECHNOLOGY’S FUTURE? CASE QUESTIONS 1. Describe Steve Jobs's personality using the Big Five traits and other personality traits discussed in your text.
2. How does Jobs's personality help him to be a better leader? How does his personality detract from his ability to lead? 3. How do personality traits support creativity? What personality traits allow Jobs to be creative?

Peter Burrows, ''An Insider's Take on Steve Jobs," BusinessWeek, January 30, 2006, on April 30, 2006; Peter Burrows, "iPods, Sure. But Don't Go Dissing Macs," BusinessWeek, April 3, 2006, pp. 68-69; Peter Burrows and Ronald Grover, "Steve Jobs' Magic Kingdom," Business Week, February 6,2006, pp. 63-69; Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires, dir. Robert X. Cringely, PBS, 1996; William C. Taylor and Polly Labarre, "How Pixar Adds a New School ofThought to Disney," New York Times, January 29, 2006, p. BU 3; Fred Vogelstein, "Mastering the Art of Disruption," Fortune, February 6, 2006, pp.23-24 .

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