Steve Jobs: Revolutionary Leader

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  1983 Words
Date:  2021-05-20

Over the past decade, the majority of modern day personalities fail to be identified and laid synonymous with the expression revolutionary leader, yet the late iconic Steven Jobs forms arguably the most stand out exception.

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He was born Steve Paul Jobs, on the 24th of February 1955.His biological parents; Joanne Simpson and Abdulfattah Jandali, would later give him up for adoption, a fact he was only exposed to at the age of 27. He grew up in the state of California in the care of his adoptive parents; Paul and Clara Jobs.

By the time he was a teenager, his inclination for electronics was already apparent, a trait that would become the embodiment of his personality. Still, in his formative teenage years, he met Steve Wozniak, a friend who shared the same fascination for electronics and was already an electronics guru.

As is the norm with many teenagers, Steve was caught up in the modern day vices of partying while indulging in drugs. In 1974, he took up a job as a video games designer with a company called Atari. Steve would later leave the job and went to India, where he went to do some spiritual soul searching.

After months in India, he returned to California and begun a business venture with his friend Wozniak. Their main product during this distinct period was the blue box which was a device which allowed long distance communication for free.

By the age of 21, Jobs decided to venture into a new business which entailed building of computers, and he named the company Apple computers. Steve identified an interest in computer circuit boards and suggested to Wozniak that they should sell them, and thus, Apple computers as a company came into being.

Initially, the mode of operation was that the circuit boards would be assembled in Steves garage and then later sold to local computer stores. However, mundane it seemed, this was the beginning of a giant technological venture that would come to be famous, the world over.

Meanwhile, they both worked on Apple 2, which was a computer that was years in advancement compared to any computer in the market as at then. Steve, therefore, decided to look for investors who would fund Apples expansion and inevitably made a deal with Mike Markkula who invested $250,000 and four years later Apple 2 became a worldwide personal computing favourite which appealed to the masses. Apple computers went public in 1980 while Steves net worth exceeded the $200 million margin.

His effervescent personality, coupled with his unwavering self-belief in whatever he pursued meant that there would be friction regarding conflict of opinions. This personality eventually culminated in a fallout with his friend Wozniak. The fallout also resulted in Apples president and board not giving him full authority. The latest version of their marquee product at the time, the Apple 3, was not a hit in the market, even though he supervised the development of the computer.

His burning desire was to build a computer that was borne out of his idea and not one developed from the idea of his then fell out friend, Wozniak. Thus, Lisa, a computer which he so named in tribute to his daughter, was born. In the course of time, he was sidelined from the Lisa project for being too harsh and temperamental.

As his personality would have it, Steve backlashed by taking the reigns over a smaller project called Macintosh and endeared to make it a cheaper graphic user interface computer that would eclipse the sales of Lisa which resulted to Wozniak parting ways with Apple and the board eventually taking the Macintosh division away from Steve.

This series of bad blooded events between Jobs and the board led him to be sacked from his company via a vote which was unanimous against him. Steve was devastated that he had been kicked out of his company and his unrelenting nature pushed him to start another company which he called NeXT.

However, his products were not a commercial success, and this led to investors losing faith in Jobs. The NeXT cube did not hold much appeal due to its obvious flaws like the lack of useful software and its pricing which was considered to be exorbitant. The business in this regard had to stop the hardware aspect and focus on the software development.

In 1986, as innovation would have it, Jobs decided to purchase The Graphics group which was the graphics department of the Lucasfilm Company and this move proved to be a stroke of genius. Under its new identity as Pixar, the company begun production of dynamic computer animations and eventually struck a deal with Disney to produce a series of box office films starting with Toy Story (1995).

The film was to be released on the Thanksgiving of 1995, and as the countdown to the day approached, Jobs perceived that Disney was a powerful popular brand. He, therefore, decided to take advantage of the excitement and speculation that surrounded the release of the film and decided that Pixar would go public in the stoke exchange after the release of the film. This strategy proved to be successful as Jobs saw his net worth rise to over $1.5 billion, more than triple the amount he had ever made during his tenure at Apple. Steve also became Walt Disneys largest shareholder as a consequence of striking a partnership with them.

Meanwhile, Apple was deteriorating having failed to find innovation and was consequently losing its market share. In 1996, Apples new C.E.O, Gil Amelio tried rectifying this situation by making an attempt to replace the old Mac OS and settled for Steves NeXTSTEP for $400 million. Steve was back at Apple.

However, after Amelio announced losses amounting to $700 million for quarter one of 1997, the board decided to sack and eventually Steve was back at the helm. Six months after he was appointed, Apple was back to profitability.

It was the beginning of Apples revival under Steves secondary tenure at the helm. The real meteoric upsurge in fortunes was further enhanced later in 1998 with the introduction of the iMac; which was a new desktop designed for consumers. Due to the iMacs success on the market, Apple was able to attract back the top software developers. Due to the iMacs stellar translucent design, it offered something that was different from the black or beige that was the norm in the market, thus propelling it to top sales once again.

After three years in charge, he was reinstated back as the companys full-time C.E.O in the year 2000 marking a unique feat in itself as it was the first time the same person was the C.E.O of two public companies simultaneously.

The dynamism and creative thinking did not stop there, as Steve embarked on the digital hub strategy which charted a way for future applications of the personal computer. The Climax of this resurgence was epitomized by the iPod, iPad and iPhone.

The iPod endeared itself to the users by the fact that it was a small music player the size of a matchbox. This device was such a success that it was made windows compatible and hence earmarking its market dominance in the consumer electronics field. The iPhone however, marked the apex of Apples success. The device was a combination of a computer and an iPhone in ones pocket.

This device had so much success that it signalled the end of Apple from the computer business to the mobile phone industry, a fact that was even reflected in their name change from Apple Computer Inc. to the now famous Apple Inc. in the year 2007.

From those above, a lot can be found as to the reason for his recurrent success. It is clear that leadership is not a position one occupies, but a feat one accomplishes. It is commanding followership through outstanding performance. An analysis of Steve Jobs life shows that successful leadership encompassed certain traits.


Steves passion for what he did propelled him to looking at solutions to the problems he wanted to fix rather than the profits that would come from any one product. This inner self-drive and love for what he did manifested from an early age when he demonstrated his acumen for electronics, by starting an electronics venture from a garage irrespective of how mundane it appeared.

Jobs passion for his work is further demonstrated when he gets fired out of his company because of a unanimous voting decision by the Apple board. He knew where his passion was, and even though he was away from Apple, he still went ahead and started a new company in the mould of NeXT and even formed the hugely successful Pixar.

This kind of affection for what one does is a trait instigated by a need for problem-solving rather than potential financial gains. When the NeXT cube was not successful in the commercial market, investors were pulling out, yet Steve never lost his drive. His eventual success even lead to his merger with Disney and eventually, the venture proved to be lucrative for him due to the passion and drive he demonstrated to see it succeed. It is this kind of passion that beds the seed for patience and perseverance, a moral trait that is quickly becoming a rare virtue in the current fast paced world of technology.

Innovation and Dynamism

Steve believed that seeing the next step in client needs was not down to the clients but innovative businessmen and women. The ability to always stay relevant in the market was down to how well his products evolved. In retrospect, finding new ways of solving the same problems or finding new solutions to new problems was a function that the innovative and dynamic businesses had to perform.

He endeavoured to develop great products as opposed to ideas because he perceived that consumers did not buy ideas but they bought products. The aspect of Steve, where he constantly invented and reinvented himself, is clearly seen in his life through: the development of the blue boxes in the early 1970s, the development of Macintosh, the conception of Pixar, and culminating to the invention of the iPhone, Ipad, and iPod which resulted in Apple moving away from the computer business to the mobile industry.

Through all these ventures and more, Steve demonstrated how innovation and dynamism will always ensure that one stays relevant in the modern day market. The opposite effect was being experienced by Apple while he was away due to stagnation and lack of innovation; they were losing their market share, a situation which he managed to turn around by innovative and dynamic stewardship and guidance.

In the 21st century, Innovation has proven to be the lifeblood of sustained and stable entrepreneurship. Steve would see opportunities where others could not, and he would develop solutions for future problems where others had not even envisaged. His creative thinking and astute personality meant that he had what it took to materialize ideas into working practicalities. The ability to perceive into all possible outcomes of any product fault was what led Steve to develop revolutionary products.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Leadership can be summed up or categorised as laissez-faire or autocratic. However, many opinions might be divided as to which leadership style is superior or inferior, one element that must not lack in either is transformational, progressive change.

Steve was an astute demonstrator of transformational leadership, albeit his controversial personality, which came off as offensive to more than a few. He also maintained a firm stance on his beliefs, a feature that saw him become relentless even in the face of adversity and opposition, in pursuit of making his ideas reality.

He defied all odds to emerge victorious even in the face of seemingly insurmountable collapses and failures. He endeavoured to learn from his mistakes and improve on his successes.

Steve Jobs was not the most friendly of persons, but his unwavering passion, keen attention to detail and abi...

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Steve Jobs: Revolutionary Leader. (2021, May 20). Retrieved from

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