Fortune’s John A. Byrne has placed Steve Jobs at the top of his list of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. Byrne spent years as a senior writer and editor at Business Week and Fast Company, and has also been working on a new book titled World Changers: 25 Entrepreneurs Who Changed Business as We Knew It.
In his article for Fortune, Byrne narrowed his list down to the top 12, with Jobs named as the Number 1 – ahead of other major contenders like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, the co-founders of Google, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Byrne notes how abusive Jobs could be to those who worked with him, but goes on to describe him as “our generation’s quintessential entrepreneur. Visionary. Inspiring. Brilliant. Mercurial”.
He also highlights Jobs’ uncanny abilities to identify and nurture game-changing product ideas:
Perhaps the most astonishing fact about Jobs was his view that market research and focus groups only limited your ability to innovate. Asked how much research was done to guide Apple when he introduced the iPad, Jobs famously quipped, “None. It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want. It’s hard for [consumers] to tell you what they want when they’ve never seen anything remotely like it.”
Instead, it was Jobs’ own intuition, his radar-like feel for emerging technologies and how they could be brought together to create, in his words, “insanely great” products, that ultimately made the difference. For Jobs, who died last year at 56, intuition was no mere gut call. It was, as he put it in his often-quoted commencement speech at Stanford, about “connecting the dots,” glimpsing the relationships among wildly disparate life experiences and changes in technology.
Some of those who are on the list below Jobs are still very much alive and active in their businesses. I wonder how the list will look in ten years time, or 25 – and whether Jobs will still be at the top of it. It will take some doing to surpass him, that’s for sure.
Check out Byrne’s article and his full list here: