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When I hear the word innovator my mind immediately thinks of the technology world. I understand there are innovators in all fields and professions, however, my mind always takes me to the place where computers, cell phones, televisions, etc. were born. To begin, it is important to understand what an innovator or creator is. Simply, someone who creates something new or improves upon an existing idea to improve it. Innovators are all around us, in the simple sense of your neighbor building a new storage shelf in his garage to masterminds like Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I find Apple and Steve Jobs to be extremely interesting, as his story is so interesting and shows so much resilience. Where would the world be without Steve Jobs, the innovator genius behind the multinational technology company, Apple? Truthful, it would be a much different place if we didn’t have the technological advances we have today. We can thank one genius innovator for just that, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs was born in 1955 in San Francisco, California, to parents who would soon give him up for adoption. Jobs’ adoptive parents moved to what is now best known as Silicon Valley, yet back in the 1950’s semiconductor companies populated the area which allowed Jobs the chance to toy and tinker with different electronics and devices. Jobs’ passion and love was then born. Jobs wanted to attend Reed College in Portland, Oregon, even though his parents couldn’t afford it. Once Jobs’ arrived at college he had a hard time as he lacked direction and eventually dropped out only six months after.
After dropping out, Jobs’ found a new passion of eastern philosophy and psychedelic drugs and eventually moved to a hippie commune. A few years passed and Jobs’ landed a new job at Atari, a video game maker. His new video game venture was not long lived as he moved on from the job shortly after. Steve Wozniak is another important innovator who worked alongside Jobs’ and is vital to the success of Jobs and Apple Inc. Wozniak and Jobs grew up together, although Wozniak was a few years older than Jobs’. Wozniak had a love for electronics and spent a large amount of time studying and exploring computers, software, radios, etc. The two became fast friends as they shared the same passion, work ethic and drive. Around 1975, Wozniak had the goal of creating his own personal computer, which meant he would have to build his own computer board.
Wozniak was intellectually gifted and studied enough to make his dream come true, building his own computer board. Jobs soon took notice of Wozniak’s brilliant and exceptional talents and soon realized they could capitalize on their hobby. Jobs realized that Wozniak’s invention could easily be sold for those who didn’t have the desire to assemble a computer but wanted to write software. On April 1st, 1976, Apple Computer was born with a little persuasion from Jobs’ to Wozniak. Jobs’ and Wozniak spent much of their time during the following months creating boards for their “Apple I” computers in Jobs’ garage. Even though they had just started a company and were working on their first project, Wozniak was ahead of the game already created “Apple II”, a computer that would have color graphics. The two men soon realized they were onto something special and extremely lucrative. Not long after, Jobs’ began to look for financial backers and funding options. The men received a $250,000 investment in January of 1977 that allowed the men to continue creating.
Apple sold their Apple I computer for $666.66 and sold $774,000 dollars in revenue. However, once they made improvements and created the Apple II, nearly three years later, the company earned nearly $139 million, a 700 percent increase. Later on in his career, Jobs’ created the “Lisa” computer, a device he was so sure would be a success. However, after working on it for years, the product never took off. Jobs was so focused on other projects and his own success he was actually phased out of the company and left as only a chairman in 1985. He was so upset and discouraged he sold all but one share of his stock in Apple and continued to work on other projects. In his time away from Apple, Jobs’ created a software company called NeXT. Ironically, in 1996 Apple bought NeXT for $439 million dollars. These are just a few of the many examples when Job’s faced adversity yet continued to follow his passion of innovating and creating. When one door closed for Jobs’ he was always finding a new way of doing things and was never discouraged. As mentioned, Jobs grew up in what is now the infamous Silicon Valley. As he grew up in a town where semiconductor companies were popular, he had experiences with technology and other gadgets that others may not have. Tinkering with these toys at a young age later translated into a trillion dollar career. Jobs was only twenty one years old when Apple was created, which was hindering in many ways as he was interacting and dealing with many people much older than him.
Also, compared to Wozniak, Jobs was inexperienced with computers and other technology. Wozniak had gone to school at The University of California Berkeley whereas Jobs’ didn’t attend school for longer than six months. In many ways, Jobs’ struggled with his lack of experience yet made up for with his entrepreneurial skills and innovative spirit. I choose to research Steve Jobs and his success at Apple for a multitude of reasons. As I sit here typing on my MacBook Pro, with my new Iphone XR in hand, and Apple Watch on my wrist, I realize just how important and life altering innovator Jobs was. I truly believe our society would be a much different place if Jobs’ didn’t pursue his dream back in the day in his parents garage. Jobs’ and Apple Inc jump started innovation and technological advances and really got the ball rolling for the future. Grudin created his “ethos of inspiration” which shares what an individual must do in order to find inspiration. According to Grudin inspiration is not something someone deserves but rather something they should earn. I feel as though this applies to Jobs perfectly. Jobs never stood stagnant or hoped that something would come to him. Rather, he went out and created and continued to improve upon products and ideas in order to continue innovating. Once Jobs became successful he didn’t just stop and coast through life, he continued to expand his companies, ideas and products.
Lubert said that creativity is the ability to produce work that is novel or original and is useful and fulfills a need in everyday life. Jobs created the Apple I to fill a need for the consumer, creating a product for tech users who did not want to create their own personal computer but wanted to write their own software. For each product, Jobs continued to assess a problem whether it be creating a device to hold and play music, a touch screen tablet that can connect to the internet and use different applications, etc. Jobs follows Lubert’s wisdom to a tee. Although Jobs originally began his career building computers and software, his vision expanded further than he could even imagine. Computers, cell phones, Ipads, Ipods, headphones, cell phone cases, are just a few of the products that Apple now sells. The company is currently valued at over 1 trillion dollars. To think that Apple was created in a garage with two guys, one of which had limited education, experiences and resources is unreal. I stand by my assessment that our world would be a much different place had Jobs’ not ever been an innovator. Jobs’ began this technology craze and need for constant innovation in the field. Companies like Samsung, LG, Matorola, etc, to name just a few have been attempting to keep up and compete with Apple ever since.
Jobs and Wozniak will forever go down in history as key innovators within the technology world of our time. The two men created a trillion dollar company from the ground up. Although they had help along the way, their resilience, dedication, creativity and innovation made it all possible. Unfortunately, Jobs passed away in October of 2011 of pancreatic cancer but his legacy will live on forever. Although Wozniak has not been an official employee of Apple since 1985, he often attends events and represents Apple. Wozniak currently owns and is involved in a handful of different technology and innovation companies. Despite not being as popular or well known as Jobs, he was vital to the success of Apple as well.
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