Steve Jobs and an Ode to Entrepreneurialism

Yesterday, Steve Jobs passed away.  Despite his liberal tendencies, Jobs exemplified that most basic of conservative tenets…that being a profound belief in the power of the individual entrepreneur to make America better.  As most of us know, Jobs started Apple in his garage in the mid-1970’s.  Prior to that, he took advantage of any opportunity to learn and master his craft: working for Atari, attending free seminars at Hewlett-Packard and auditing courses in college.  He never stopped learning, never stopped pushing, even when he had achieved the very top of the ladder in his industry.  He was one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American History and, in a time where entrepreneurs are attacked from the heights of the Federal Government, I thought it appropriate to celebrate Mr. Jobs as an example of the greatness of America.

As stated above, Mr. Jobs started Apple out of his garage and grew that company until an internal power struggle forced his ouster.  Rather than look for a government handout or a trial lawyer to sue somebody, he again took a risk and formed NeXT computers.  In 1986, he leveraged NeXT and took another risk, purchasing a small company owned by LucasFilm that did computer graphics.  That company became Pixar, which has produced some of the best movies of the last 15 years (my nephews are addicted to Cars).  In 1996, Mr. Jobs returned to Apple and proceeded to revolutionize digital technology through the IPod, IPhone and IPad.  He also created the ITunes Store and continued to develop cutting edge personal computer technology.  His contributions to the way we communicate put him in a class with Guttenberg, Alexander Graham Bell, Samuel Morse, Marconi and Al Gore (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Although a committed liberal, Mr. Jobs’ example is one which should be taught in every school in America.  Mr. Jobs never sought a government handout.  He never tried to sue someone for some perceived slight.  Although an adopted kid, he never went on Oprah and cried about his real parents not loving him.  He simply chose to overcome whatever roadblock was put in his way.

As I look out on Wall Street (I live across the Raritan Bay in New Jersey) and see the demonstrators, I can’t help but be amused at the contrast between Mr. Jobs and the protesters.  They complain, he never did.  They demand handouts, he never did.  They refuse to work, he epitomized hard work.  Although aligned politically, Mr. Jobs and the protesters could not be more different.

So, putting political differences aside, I’d like to say thank you to Steve Jobs.  Thank you, Mr. Jobs, for demonstrating what is possible in America.  Thank you, Mr. Jobs, for showing your fellow Americans that with a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work, dreams are attainable in America.  Thank you, Mr. Jobs, for reaffirming what we, who peruse this site regularly, already know…that the greatest force for freedom, liberty and economic security comes not from the government, not from a bureaucrat, but from the courageous American entrepreneur who risks everything, without the benefit of a safety net, to achieve their dreams and, in so doing, provides a livelihood for so many people.  You, Mr. Jobs, are an example of what makes the United States of America the greatest force for freedom, liberty and prosperity the world has ever known.

You started with a dream in a garage and ended up revolutionizing the world.  Congratulations on a life well lived, Mr. Jobs.  May you rest in peace.