Dan Pallotta must be channelling Jeffrey Tucker because his HBR editorial “Steve Jobs, World’s Greatest Philanthropist” makes a very similar point. He does miss the next logical leap made by Jeff – what is true of Steve Jobs is true for all entrepreneurs. Still, it’s a brilliant and much-needed antidote to those who measure the value of a human live solely in terms of how much we sacrifice our values for others.
What’s important is how we use our time on this earth, not how conspicuously we give our money away. What’s important is the energy and courage we are willing to expend reversing entropy, battling cynicism, suffering and challenging mediocre minds, staring down those who would trample our dreams, taking a stand for magic, and advancing the potential of the human race.
On these scores, the world has no greater philanthropist than Steve Jobs. If ever a man contributed to humanity, here he is. And he has done it while battling cancer.
While the authorized tell-all biography of Steve Jobs is yet to be published, I don’t think anyone would argue that Steve Jobs is motivated by either money or the desire to “help” humanity as such. The product is an end in itself. It is not designed with the goal of making the biggest profit or giving the consumer exactly what he wants. Rather, his goal is to create something that fulfills his own values – and then leave it to the consumer to recognize the value proposition of his creation. That may not be a popular business philosophy, but it’s hard to argue with its success.