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Former Apple CEO John Sculley: For Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Money Wasn't No. 1

Guest Writer
4 min read
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Money can be a great motivator, but if you're just in it for the cash, good luck building a billion-dollar business, says John Sculley.

In addition to running two powerful companies, the former Apple and Pepsi CEO had a front-row seat to the heated philosophical discussions that often raged between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

While the two visionaries would often "scream and yell at each other" – Gates was adamant that "the future is software," whereas Jobs insisted the secret was creating uncompromised, proprietary devices – they were working towards the same end goal. "What they always talked about was a noble cause they agreed on -- to make computers personal," remembers Sculley. That they both went on to build billion-dollar businesses was simply a byproduct of their intense passion. "Never in any of those conversations did they ever talk about making money."

Related: Former Apple CEO John Sculley: The Most Valuable Lesson I Learned From Steve Jobs

Throughout his career, Sculley has always found that passion attracts passion. And so to build a billion-dollar business, he recommends first identifying a noble use that you care deeply about. "That will help you recruit the very best people who want to join you," he says. "No company is built by a single person."

Becoming an entrepreneur isn't always easy. It can be a long, difficult, lonely road that requires sweat and sacrifice. "You’re going to work really, really hard," Sculley says. "If you’re not passionate about working really, really hard, that’s a pretty unhappy life."

However, if you have a noble cause – a cause that excites you and fires you up – then the work doesn't always feel like a sacrifice. Suddenly, "you don't mind getting up early in the morning, you don't mind staying up at night," says Sculley. "That enthusiasm you have will translate to other people who want to be a part of what you do."

Related: Former Apple CEO John Sculley: Steve Jobs Sold Experiences, Not Products

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