Get All Access for $5/mo

Why Entrepreneurs Love Steve Jobs Apple's products didn't make Steve Jobs great. Instead, it was his uncommon affection for rebels and misfits that inspired legions.

By Simon Sinek Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Why Entrepreneurs Love Steve Jobs"Did you see the news?" said the text from my friend. "It's so sad," he continued.

It is both rare and special to witness such a spontaneous outpouring of love and admiration for the passing of a CEO. The last time we saw similarly spontaneous vigils was when Princess Diana died. But the love we're expressing for Steve Jobs is not due solely to his genius or his vision. It is not just because he defined a digital generation. Steve Jobs is much more special than that.

Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL, and Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle, are also geniuses. They also built companies that changed the way we live our lives. They were visionary and innovative, but will we light a candle and shed a tear when their time to comes?

What made Steve Jobs so special is that he existed on a level above his company and its products. Though we respect what he built, we love what he stood for.

Related: 10 Things to Thank Steve Jobs For

Jobs was a rebel and a misfit and he imparted a sense of purpose and belonging for all the other rebels and misfits out there. Instead of brushing them aside or pointing at them for being weird, he celebrated them. He reminded us that the ones who see the world differently are the ones who change the world. In an instant, all those individual rebels and misfits had a leader. Someone who preached what they believed.

Over time, Apple and its products became symbols for a set of values and beliefs. Like a pirate flag hoisted above a ship to tell everyone who they were about to do battle with and what they could expect, Apple served as a symbol for the outcasts and nonconformists the world over.

Related: Remembering Apple's Steve Jobs

They popped their laptops open in airports to show people who they are. They stuck Apple stickers on their car bumpers to let everyone know what they believed. The defended Apple's products as if defending their own family. And in a sense, that is exactly what the Apple community became -- a family of likeminded individuals who wake up every day to challenge the status quo.

For any entrepreneur who dreams of leading like Steve Jobs, here are three must-have characteristics:

  1. Clarity of why you do what you do. To have this, you need a purpose, cause or belief that exists above and beyond the products or services you sell.
  2. Discipline of how you do it. You must hold yourself and your people accountable to a defined set of guiding principles or values.
  3. Consistency of what you do. Everything you say and do must prove what you believe. Every product that Apple made, all their marketing always communicated the same message: Think Different.


How did Steve Jobs influence you or your business? Let us know in the comments section?

-Simon Sinek is a frequent lecturer on leadership and author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Act (Penguin Group, 2009). His TEDx Talk on leadership is one of the top 20 most viewed talks on TED.com.

Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is the author of TOGETHER IS BETTER: A Little Book of Inspiration (Portfolio, 9/13/2016). With a bold goal to help build a world in which the vast majority of people go home every day feeling fulfilled by their work, Sinek is leading a movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them. For more information go to startwithwhy.com

Simon Sinek is the author of Together Is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration(Portfolio, 9/13/2016). With a bold goal to help build a world in which the vast majority of people go home every day feeling fulfilled by their work, Sinek is leading a movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them. For more information go to startwithwhy.com.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

Apple Is Working on Making Its $3,499 Vision Pro More Affordable — and Mainstream. Here's How.

Apple's product is at least three times more expensive than Meta's version.

Business News

Some Car Dealerships Are Selling Cars the Old Fashioned Way Following Massive Cyberattack

CDK software services an estimated 15,000 dealerships in the U.S.

Business News

50 Cent Once Sued Taco Bell for $4 Million. Here's How the Fast-Food Giant Got on the Rapper's Bad Side.

The brand suggested that 50 Cent change his name to match its "Why Pay More?" value menu promotion prices. The rapper was not amused.

Thought Leaders

The 8 Taylor Swift Strategies Every Tech Leader Should Apply in 2024

From more progressive intellectual property management to breakthrough community engagement, here's what tech entrepreneurs can learn from Taylor Swift.

Business News

Jack Dorsey Says It Will Soon Be 'Impossible to Tell' if Deepfakes Are Real: 'Like You're in a Simulation'

Dorsey said we will "not know what is real and what is fake" in the next five to 10 years.

Business News

Controversial Clothing Company Shein Quietly Files IPO in London

Shein is headquartered in Singapore, where it's been since 2021, though most of its operations, including factories, are in China.