Steve Jobs
1955 - 2011

Inventor, designer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Apple. 


Ranked #4 in 2009.

Previous positions:

#29 (2007). 


Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web, used a Jobs’ NeXT computer. 


Jobs’ design aesthetic was influenced by the Zen and Buddhist philosophies.


“Think different” – an Apple advertising campaign – sums up Jobs’ vision. One of the differences he had with the former CEO during his first stint at the company was that Jobs favoured the closed architecture Macintosh over the open architecture Apple II. A slew of innovations that rolled out under his second watch included the App Store, iMac, iPad, iPod, and iTunes as well as the macOS, which was based on the NeXTSTEP platform that Jobs had developed before returning to Apple in 1997. 

The pioneer of event marketing and master high-tech marketer, Jobs was insistent on innovations being not just great but insanely great.


Born in San Francisco in 1955, Jobs dropped out of college before co-founding Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976, in the Jobs’ family garage. Apple Computer became a publicly traded company in 1980 and Jobs handed the CEO role to marketing expert John Sculley of Pepsi-Cola. Jobs left Apple in 1985 over differences with Sculley but returned in 1997 to affect a revitalizing turnaround. Products like the iMac, stylish designs, and effective branding campaigns brought Apple back to consumer attention. Under Jobs’ leadership, Apple went on to revolutionise digital devices with the introduction of the iPhone, iPod, and MacBook, and became the second-biggest retailer of music in the US, helped by iTunes. In addition to co-founding Apple, Jobs turned an animation company he purchased in 1986 into Pixar Animation Studios.


Jobs’ extraordinary achievements in business, and the insights that can be drawn from his ideas of management, have been captured in the following: Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography (by Walter Isaacson, Simon & Shuster, 2011); “The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs” (by Walter Isaacson, HBR April 2012); “The Obsessiveness of Steve Jobs” (The Economist, May 2005). 


Media picks


“One of the great visionary leaders of our time.”

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50

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