Steve Jobs: an Anomaly in Business Leadership

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Steve Jobs:
An Anomaly in Business Leadership

Introduction

Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American entrepreneur and inventor, best known as the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he was widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields, transforming one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and animated movies. Jobs also co-founded and served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, when Disney acquired Pixar.

Steve Job’s Career and Route to Success

In 1972, Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon at the age of 17. He spent several years traveling in India (dabbling in spiritual attainment and Zen) and working at Atari before founding Apple Computer with Steve Wozniak in 1976. In 1980, Apple Computer became a publicly traded corporation and in 1983, Jobs persuaded John Sculley from Pepsi-Cola to join and run Apple as the CEO.

The first commercially successful computer with a graphical user interface from Apple was called the Macintosh, and was launched in 1984. Unfortunately for Jobs, The computer industry hit a sales slump in 1984, and Apple was forced to conduct significant layoffs. The stress of the situation strained Job’s relationship with other Apple executives and in May 1985, after an internal power struggle, he was stripped of his duties by John Sculley (Apple CEO, 1983 - 1993) and ousted from Apple.

Jobs went on to found NeXT Computer later in 1985, which was also in the business of developing and commercializing computers. The company struggled to thrive when their expensive computers failed to fit mainstream wallets and needs. NeXT eventually transitioned into a software-only company.

In 1986, Jobs co-founded (with Edwin Catmull) Pixar, which became very famous and successful nearly a decade later with the breakthrough feature movie Toy Story.

In 1996, Apple bought NeXT for $402 million, bringing Jobs back to the company he founded. He became Apple’s Interim CEO in 1997, upon the departure of Gil Amelio (Apple CEO, 1996 - 1997). The “Interim” was dropped from his title in 2000 and he officially became the CEO of Apple Inc. The company subsequently branched out, with the iPod portable music player, iTunes digital music software, and the iTunes Store, bringing revolutionary changes to the consumer electronics and music distribution industry, including the iPhone in 2007.

In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. According to Job's biographer, Walter Isaacson, he initially treated with unproven alternative methods like vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, juice fasts and bowel cleansings. The alternative treatments did not work, and he was forced to announce a six-month leave of absence in 2009 to undergo a liver transplant.

Job’s health continued to deteriorate, and in 2011, Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple but remained with the company as chairman of the company's board. He continued to work for Apple until the day before his death six weeks later.

Steve Jobs died at his California home around 3pm on October 5, 2011.

Personality Profile

“Steve Jobs is a good example of a person suffering from egocentric narcissistic personality disorder” (Nadler, Relly, 2012). The positive side of productive narcissists is their charismatic and visionary leadership, and ability to give a fresh stimulus to cultural development. The negative side is their intense competitiveness, lack of respect and a strong tendency to damage the established state of affairs.

Steve Job’s personality is notable for explosive and vicious temper, obsession with aesthetics over practicality, manipulative wiles, and his famous compulsive perfectionism. Despite these outstanding flaws, the...
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