Steve Jobs: A Profile in Failure and Courage

It is my pleasure to introduce you to this week’s 8pm Warrior of the Week.  He is a college dropout.  He was fired from a company he started in his garage and now he’s fighting the worst kind of cancer.

We’ve all heard of Steve Jobs.  Like him or not, there’s very few people who would disagree that he’s inspiring, creative, and brilliant.

He is also a true 8pm Warrior.

In 2004 he was successfully running both Apple and Pixar (now he sits on Disney’s board) while fighting for his life against Pancreatic Cancer, a disease that claims 95% of victims within 5 years.

That was 7 years ago.

Now Apple is the #2 most valuable company in the world and Barron’s recently declared that Steve Jobs was “without a doubt” the most valuable CEO in the world.  Fortune magazine named him the Smartest CEO in the world.

Success!

However, I think many people (primarily young Warriors) forget about what always preceded his success:  failure.

1) He couldn’t find success in college, so he started a company.

2) He was fired from that company, so he started two more.

3) Some of his products were disasters, so developed new ones such as Macs, Computer Animation, iPods, iPhones, and iPads.

4) Now, his ventures and products are wildly successful, but he has one battle he may not win, Pancreatic Cancer.

Yet, he will no doubt fight on.

Before one of the brightest business stars in history passes from this earth, I wanted to personally recognize him, his struggles, and the 8pm Warrior story we can all learn from.  In some of my darkest moments in business, his story has reminded me of what is possible when you don’t give up doing the work you love.  His story reminds us to press on.

Here’s a timeline:

  • Born & Adopted (1955)
  • Drops out of Reed College after one semester (1972)
  • Jobs, Wozniak, and Wayne start Apple (1976)
  • Power struggle leads to his forced exit from Apple (1984), so he starts NeXT (competitor)
  • Creates Pixar Animation Studios (1986)
  • Serves as executive producer of the first computer animated movie “Toy Story” (1995)
  • Apple buys NeXT, Steve returns as CEO of Apple after 13 years (1997)
  • Pancreatic Cancer attempts a hostile takeover (2004)
  • Steve remains as CEO of Pixar until merger with the Walt Disney Company (2006)
  • Jobs undergoes a Liver transplant (2009)
  • Apple becomes the world #2 most valuable company and Barron’s declares that Steve Jobs is “without a doubt” the most valuable CEO in the world. (2011)

Thanks for the inspiration Steve.

Aaron@Biebert

More good reading about Steve Jobs:

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