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September 12, 2011

Steve Jobs an Ultimate Lesson for Entrepreneurs:Forbes

Steve Job

May I add my voice to the chorus in praise of Steve Jobs?
Beyond brilliant, beyond insightful, beyond courageous, the man is a mass of contradictions, the combination of which, I believe, begins to explain his genius.
And, this genius provides a lesson of incredible power to every entrepreneur, or aspiring entrepreneur, on the planet.

Artist and engineer; Buddhist and hard-nosed businessman; visionary entrepreneur who has built large and resilient companies; optimist and pessimist; rugged individualist who appeals to the masses; prickly, difficult leader who inspires enormous loyalty among his troops; the ultimate opaque manager who has guarded his privacy and secrecy, even while providing the world with the tools of transparency.
It is this ability of Steve Jobs to hold completely disparate ideas and values in his mind at the same time, synthesize and then act upon them, that is one of the keys to his genius.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald is quoted as saying: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
And, Steve Jobs has not just functioned…his satori leaps of genius have redefined the technology landscape forever.
Of course, it is also Mr. Jobs’ ability to embrace such conflicting priorities that has bedeviled the competition. He has NOT been consistent, nor humble, nor predictable. One never knows what drummer he’ll be listening to at any given time, and this has made him a fearsome and successful competitor.
He has listened to his gut, and gone against conventional wisdom not as a habit, but when he felt it was right. His sensibilities and individual take on issues are all that was important.

They say, in brain research, that while the right and left sides of the brain hold different kinds of important skills and intelligence, it is the cerebral CORTEX — that which integrates both sides – that defines true intelligence.
If that is so then I believe Steve Jobs’ entire being is a cortex: he regularly integrates disparate knowledge, opinions, methods and actions to arrive at quantum leaps of genius.
It is the corporate manager who must be consistent, meet projections, squeeze out independent thought and innovation in the service of meeting company priorities.  The entrepreneur can go with his or her gut, can assimilate new ideas quickly and act on them, can bounce between conflicting priorities to come up with a new reality – thesis, antithesis, synthesis.
Now of course, one’s gut must be right.  Many have followed their independent certainty straight into oblivion.  But, that is a chance that entrepreneurs have accepted with their job… Steve Jobs epitomizes that entrepreneur’s genius. And, perhaps it is in understanding it, following his lead, yet at the same time rejecting it and doing the exact opposite, that just might lead us all to success
Topping my pile of books to read this weekend is one recommended to me called “The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking” by Roger Martin.  I am hoping that it will begin to explain Mr. Jobs’ sequential entrepreneurial successes…and may provide a road map for we more minor players, who still have the will to achieve breakthrough innovation and success.
In the meantime, hats off to Steve Jobs: his entire career has been one marked by courage, independence, and brilliance.  May his last act embody the same qualities, and may he continue to lead the way for us all.

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