“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,” Nancy F. Koehn, a historian at the Harvard Business School, writes for Fortune.
“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,” Koehn writes. “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.”
Koehn writes, “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.”
Koehn writes, “More than 15 years ago, before most of us e-mailed regularly or had added the word ‘playlist’ to our vocabulary, Jobs sketched out his vision of the Information Revolution’s impact to RollingStone: ‘Putting the Internet into people’s houses is going to be really what the information superhighway is all about, not digital convergence in the set-top box.’ And this development, in tandem with vast increases in computing power, meant for Jobs that the world is ‘clearly a better place. Individuals can now do things that only large groups of people with lots of money could do before. What that means is, we have much more opportunity for people to get to the marketplace — not just the marketplace of commerce but the marketplace of ideas. The marketplace of publications, the marketplace of public policy. You name it.'”
“If Jobs is right about the ways in which the Information Revolution both empowers individuals and democratizes existing power structures — and the jury is still out on this — his historical legacy may indeed be greater than his impact on business,” Koehn writes. “It may just bear some resemblance to [one of Jobs’ heroes], Mohandas Gandhi, who staged another kind of peaceful and far-reaching revolution some 70 years ago and who saw opportunity where others saw only obstacles.”
There’s much more in the full article – recommended – here.