As Steve Jobs's former boss, John Sculley, who ran Apple from 1983 to 1993, is in a unique position to pinpoint what made the now-iconic tech entrepreneur such a tour de force.
"The thing that I remember most about Steve Jobs was how incredibly passionate he was about what he did. He was willing to sacrifice so many things in his life in order to, as he would say, put a dent in the universe," Sculley remembers. While Jobs "was not easy to get along with" he was consistently "inspirational, always charismatic" and a "true genius."
What made him that way? Jobs's real gift lay not in his ability to create new things, argues Sculley, but in his remarkable talent for connecting the dots. "Innovation happens on the edges of an industry first," he says. "And then as another domain collides in with the existing domain, that's where the opportunity to really be what I call an adaptive innovator takes place."
Jobs was less of an outright inventor than he was a visionary who combined what he saw in disparate fields to produce gorgeous, seamless, user-first products. To create digital photography for the iPhone, Jobs drew on existing categories, namely "his experience with consumer electronic domains, his experience with mobile wireless, and his experience with building really great user interfaces for computer devices" to produce what, when all the parts were combined, added up to be a device that was so much larger than the sum of its parts, Sculley says.
Watch the above video to hear Sculley speak about other adaptive innovators, including Alibaba founder Jack Ma.