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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/18784/jobs-on-how-great-entrepreneurship-works/

Jobs on How Great Entrepreneurship Works

October 22, 2011 by

{ 30 comments }

Joe Esty October 22, 2011 at 8:16 am

Given Jobs take on stealing ideas, I would think he would be a little more forgiving of Google.

“Isaacson wrote that Jobs was livid in January 2010 when HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the popular features of the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google’s actions amounted to “grand theft.”

‘”I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.’”

Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Jobs-questioned-authority-all-apf-1873950574.html?x=0

El Tonno October 22, 2011 at 8:39 am

Guess it was ok – while it was him doing it.

Same old.

Franklin October 22, 2011 at 9:14 am

Precisely.
“We have alway been shameless in stealing others’ ideas….”

I guess Apple’s Corporate Counsel didn’t get the memo.

nate-m October 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm

When you steal == Good
When people steal from you == Bad.

Despite all the positive things that Steve Jobs did, leading Apple down the path of using IP to prevent competition is not going to be one of them. But it’s a difficult situation when all major American tech companies regularly use IP to destroy the possibility for free market competition.

Nobody is perfect. We just have to honor the things the guy did right in order to learn from him. :)

pravin October 22, 2011 at 8:25 am

kinda ironic.i guess he doesnt think google is ‘genius’ enough to steal. if android were better than ios,i have a feeling jobs would have appreciated it.

Andras October 22, 2011 at 10:40 am

And this all under the banner of Mises!

Daniel October 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm

STFU, you cretin

Joe Esty October 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Is there anyway to remove Daniel’s “STFU, you cretin” comment? There’s always one guy whose bravado is raised and civility is lowered by distance and anonymity.

El Tonno October 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

Nah, people exploding is classic Internet.

Daniel October 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Canned replies deserve even crappier canned replies, sorry

Andras October 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

No problem, you did your best.

Daniel October 23, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Next time I might even try an argument rather than a vague appeal to authority

Oh wai

Andras October 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Are you just recruiting fellow felons? Are you just scared of being busted?
Or why do you promote that through stealing is how we should proceed ever more boldly against evil.
What authority? Ethics, have you heard that word before?

Joe Esty October 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

What’s canned? Guy doesn’t like something, and expresses his opinion. At least he was sufficiently civil not to use “SFTU, you cretin.” I wonder how often Mises used “STFU, you cretin” in his arguments?

Daniel October 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Next time you can reply to him merely with “NIMBY!”

That should be a humorous enough retort to his moral outrage followed by appeal to authority

Bartley October 22, 2011 at 11:04 am

It’s well documented that Steve Jobs “borrowed” the original concept of the PC, mouse, and Graphical User Interface from XEROX in 1979.

He was not some lone genius inventor and businessman, but rather a brilliant innovator who greatly improved & marketed good technology introduced by others.

In 1979 the 24 year old Steve Jobs made a financial deal with Xerox. Apple was already one of the hottest tech firms in the country and all in Silicon Valley wanted a piece of it. Jobs offered Xerox 100,000 shares of Apple’s eagerly anticipated IPO for $1M… if XEROX would let Jobs see some of their latest proprietary technology at the dynamic PARC center, nearby Apple HQ. Lots of haggling over what XEROX might reveal to Jobs– and many at Xerox thought it a completely ludicrous deal for their company. Finally, Jobs was given a couple of tours at PARC and saw the unique Xerox “Alto” personal computer — he was astounded at this technology, and instantly realized that XEROX had no idea of the potential & profits they were quietly sitting upon…. and the rest is history. Jobs later remarked that XEROX could have been bigger than Apple, Microsoft, and IBM combined — if they had more management vision.

Jobs had the vision… business skills to make it happen. But there were many other contributors critical to his overall success.
Bill Gates was a similar story, with IBM (like XEROX not realizing the goldmine they were sitting on with the original DOS software.

Franklin October 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

And all this time, I thought that it was “he” who “changed the world.”
Appalling to read that kind of self-subordinate drivel throughout mainstream media and, even worse, seeing it now and then in the cyber halls of mises.org.
I scratch my head watching endorsers of “I, Pencil” recognize the power of everyman and his extension/connection to flourishing knowledge, then a moment later tripping in genuflection at the casket of someone who was no less dependent upon collaborators, competitors, customers in “his” success.

Chris October 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm

You have so many things wrong about your post its hard to know where to start.

a.By the extension of “everyman” I get to thank myself for bringing a computer to market that millions of people chose to part with their hard earned money in order to better their lives? Awesome win for me. I do feel somewhat guilty though because I guess that means I also produced the drones and the bombs, darnit.

b. There is nothing self subordinate about praising another humans accomplishments and recognizing their achievements in fact it is the opposite. Recognizing another mans achievements is a recognition of reality(assuming the praise is accurate, in this case I find it indisputable that Jobs changed the world). Praise does not subordinate the self rather it raises the self up.

c. Production starts at the top. Every step down the business hiearchy represents a person who is less necessary to production. Labor is not scarce. Drive, intelligence, vision and persistence like Jobs had is scarce. Since I assume you have never been on the top I understand your lack of understanding in this area.

Peter October 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

For the record, of course labor is scarce i.e. available in a limited quantity – but the abilities of somebody like Jobs are even more scarce.

Chris October 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Peter,
I appreciate the correction.

Franklin October 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm

“Labor is not scarce” says nothing, because you fail to qualify it, nor delineate the infinite dynamics around its various incarnations. Nobody can.

The position that “Steve Jobs changed the world,” which has been touted ad nauseum, is as erroneous as the final line in your post. It’s banal. It’s incorrect. And it’s as scary as rock star worship.

Praise is different than deification, Chris. I agree that Jobs should be applauded for doing (most of the time, in spite of his and his company’s errors and foibles) an excellent job. He deserved every penny that he earned, in spite of the systemic flaws in the patent environment. But a true understanding of the nature of corporate operations, strategic evolution, product development and market positioning illustrates the colorful fabric of interdependent threads. Fun as it might seem that there is this Mario Puzo image of puppet strings, events transpire via a myriad of efforts.

“Every step down the business hierarchy represents a person who is less necessary…”
A terrible mindset. And similar to the undistilled “Labor is not scarce” comment, represents a generalization that fails on close inspection and analysis. Generalizations tend to do that.

Finally, you undermine your position by making incorrect assumptions. Nearly a thousand professionals did not work for me, although that is how many of them would have characterized it. It was more appropriate to say, which I often reminded them, that they worked *with* me, no matter what our respective corporate titles were. Every success the company achieved were our, not my, successes.

El Tonno October 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Well put, Chris.

While Jobs must have been an appalling human being (basically, he started off by swindling the “Other Steve How Knows About Tech And Stuff”, i.e. Steve Woszniak, out of USD 500 by taking his own private cut on a project behind his back), he indeed was driven.

When he started NeXT (which unglamorously tanked — I remember that I was just waiting for the machine to be given a faster processor to shell out for it), it is said that he put all his money into the Logo Design of the company. Then went from there. I can’t imagine how though. Well, that’s driven!

Artisan October 22, 2011 at 11:35 am

There’s another nuance obviously in Picasso’s mind. What the great painter refers to, is the following :

Copying means “just doing the same”, ie – no improvement – decadence. That’s what conservatives call “good!”, meaning “good enough”.

What you’ll see geniuses do, is to take something and turn it inside out before they use it (a careless radical act, just as “theft” is in a way): they appropriate it thoroughly in its essence thus, not just superficially.

…. simple people – and legislators – may take Picasso’s remark for a (strange) link of causality in one or another sense : do not copy / steal some ideas, and you will become a genius, but the artist’s conception of greatness was not so trivial.

Picasso himself did some brilliant plagiarism of Modigliani as a young man. So he knew what he was talking about: an internal moral conflict…

Ohhh Henry October 22, 2011 at 11:37 am

From a bunch of anecdotes I’ve heard recently including the one above about suing Google, it’s clear that Jobs was an average to somewhat bigger-than-average a-hole.

The important lesson is that when you are working in private industry, the harmful effects that you can cause by being an a-hole are extremely limited. If you tell lies about other people they can tell lies about you. If you rip off other people they will rip you off, or quit, or organize a boycott against you. For the most part, if you are a greedy, self-serving a-hole in the private sector, your personality can only find a major outlet in serving people, not by annoying them or stealing from them. If you rip off your partner or scream at your underlings, you will only get away with it if you also make them rich.

If you have government power, being an a-hole means you can kill and rob millions of people. You can invade an entire country and lie about it, and give billions of dollars of public money to your friends and then laugh in their face when complain, then have them locked up in “free speech zones”.

The question is not “was so-and-so a hypocritical a-hole” … the only really important question is, “did that so-and-so wield inordinate and unearned power over other people”. Jobs wielded unearned power when he used the government to enforce trademarks, copyright and patents, but was entirely constrained and tolerable whenever he was working in the free market. He was the same person in both situations, but only when government power was involved did he become a menace to other people’s private property.

Hack October 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for bringing this blog’s discussion back to the important things.

Ryan October 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm

If it were really so easy to just steal everyone else’s ideas and build a billion-dollar empire, we’d all have invested millions of Apple corporations by now.

Say what you want about Jobs’ originality, if YOU had what it takes, you wouldn’t be wasting your time criticizing Jobs on an internet blog.

I know dozens of CEOs and senior executives, and they all have a certain kind of mindset. They’re not masters of original thought, but rather masters of seeing not only a vision but also all the iterative steps that take you from $0 to $1,000,000.

Rather than whine about the fact that these folks haven’t invented something new, we should learn from bright minds and apply those lessons to our own lives. All this whining jealous is killing me. Haters gonna hate, though, I guess.

Daniel October 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I’d also recommend the book “How They Succeeded”

Jim October 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I am not sure what the argument is about on this video.

1. Jobs stole everything, including the graphic interface. He just made it better, and his genius was really in the creative, artsy, PR side.
2. IBM is a better story. Think of it. Contrary to all history and every corporate cultural fiber, they both outsourced the hardware (to Intel) and the software to Gates (who bought it). They thought PC’s were a fad. They thought so until the early 90s, if that is possible to believe. IOW, microsoft and Intel could have been IBM revenue. As a teenager and programmer of early PCs in the 80s, I can say that nothing that Microsoft or Apple did back then was ‘new’ or ‘unexpected’ or ground shaking to any of my colleagues. We all knew they were stealing, and what they would steal next. Our only disappointments were when they replicated the ‘next’ step in a silly or stupid way, a favorite of Microsoft and IBM. Jobs had already made his fatally limiting (and all programmers thought was incredibly stupid, which it still is) mistake; insisting on ownership of all Apple software.

What we are learning here is not about originality or even creativity or copyright.

We are learning about emergence. A huge percentage of innovation in all fields is taking existing, relatively unused ideas and reapplying them. There are very rarely new ideas from seeming nothingness. It is what makes Newton and Einstein genius. To deify Jobs in that way is unfair to him. He was an insightful, driven, first-mover. He was also childish, arrogant, disrespectful and a terrible friend and manager. In other words, he was a prick. Most everyone in the computer business knows that. And the sooner that bureaucracies litigate and regulate people like him right out of business, the less innovative we will be.

But it is this phenomenon of emergence that makes bureaucracy so dangerous. For bureaucracy by its nature inhibits the new, unheralded or non-executive voice. Ask the Xerox researchers who invented the mouse and the graphic interface for real life stories if you can not believe that these examples do not happen all the time across corporate America. Bureaucracy favors existing inertia and group compliance. It is one of the best reasons to limit government and corporate offices; perhaps more understandable and compelling than any free market economic argument.

Large government can not solve the problems of the world because it is a bureaucracy. Here Oakeshott gets it exactly right, and free market theorists would do well to focus more on the practical failings of bureaucracy to buttress their arguments; the long standing myth of the lone, visionary CEO is tired and mostly false.

Franklin October 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Standing ovation.
And this goes for Ohhh, as well, who (sorry for using the tired coprorate cliche) “thinks out of the box” and rips the decaying root from the ground to expose the source of undeserved power.

And in case it isn’t too obvious already, I don’t applaud “pricks.”
Others’ mileage may vary.

J. Murray October 25, 2011 at 6:05 am

This man is far closer to the libertarian ideal in the realm of technlogy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Ritchie

Note the date of death. That is all.

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