First and foremost, Steve Jobs is an entrepreneur. And that is how history will long remember him. Not primarily as a fiduciary or an institution builder or an administrator (though he has worn all those hats), but rather as an individual who relentlessly pursued new opportunities.
From the first Apple computers to the breakthrough innovations of the past eight years — the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, and his Apple stores — he has chased new possibilities without being deterred by whatever obstacles he encountered.
Over and over again he has turned his eye and his energy — and at times, it has seemed, his entire being — to what might be gained by creating a new offering or taking an unorthodox strategic path.
That puts him in the company of other great entrepreneurs of the past two centuries, men and women such as Josiah Wedgwood, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Estée Lauder.
Each of these people — and especially Steve Jobs — has been defined by the intense drive, unflagging curiosity, and keen commercial imagination that have allowed them to see products and industries and possibilities that might be. Each of these individuals has also been extremely hardworking, demanding of themselves and others. All have been compelled more by the significance of their own vision than by their doubts.
If you’ve been around through the length of the Information Revolution, if you have wandered through the challenging halls of national and international commerce – and can see beyond the petty hurts and huzzahs of fanboize and anti-fanboize – you should find this article one of the most readable of the dozens being cranked out to greet the award.