This month’s Think Like Spotlight covers the entrepreneurial basics of one of the greatest tech entrepreneurs of our time: Steve Jobs. The California native successfully leveraged relationships, technology, and business to create an empire that is a relevant part of the modern world to this day.
Claim To Fame: Apple Inc., Pixar
Many recognize Steve Jobs as co-founder of Apple Inc., but few actually realize how long the company has been in business. Prior to iPhones and modern MacBooks, Jobs and co-founder Steve Wozniak joined forces to sell the first Apple I computer. The year was 1976.
Unlike many of the entrepreneurial success stories featured in Think Like, Steve Jobs did not begin his career as an entrepreneur very early on. In fact, he spent most of his earlier years traveling the globe and experimenting with various cultural beliefs and practices. It wasn’t until 1974, when Steve Jobs returned from his travels, that he began to leverage his friendship with Wozniak for employable reasons.
The two intellects worked together behind-the-scenes while Jobs maintained a position at Atari, utilizing Wozniak’s expertise in exchange for compensation when necessary. When Wozniak invented the Apple I computer in 1976, it was Jobs’ idea to sell it— his first real entrepreneurial pursuit at the age of 21. With innovation, technology, and a lot of investment solicitation on Jobs’ part, the entrepreneur was worth roughly $1 million dollars by the time he was 23. Apple would continue to grow and expand, as would the entrepreneurial ventures of Steve Jobs.
In 1985, Steve set out to establish NeXT Inc., a technology-based computer/software company. NeXT would struggle on and off for several years before the release of NeXTSTEP/Intel in 1993. Eventually, the software company would create enough innovative waves to solicit the attention of none other than Apple Inc. Apple acquired NeXT in 1997, a move that returned Jobs to Apple Inc. where he would remain until 2011.
During his time at NeXT, Steve also spent a good deal of time nurturing the artistic side he had developed during his early years. He provided a computer graphics division of Lucasfilm $10 million in funding to initiate a “spinout” in 1986— half for capital and half for technology rights. The group would eventually partner with Disney to create their very first film. The film was released in 1995. It credited Steve Jobs as the executive producer and became an instant classic in the industry. The film’s name? Toy Story.
Steve Jobs would continue to nurture the relationship with Disney over the next decade until a contract expiration served as the catalyst for a falling-out in 2004. Jobs took Pixar elsewhere for a brief span of time but rekindled the partnership when the Disney chief executive was replaced. In 2006, Jobs struck a deal that would give him control of 7% of Disney shares in an “all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion.” The transaction would result in Disney’s purchase of Pixar.