Steve Jobs was the ultimate entrepreneur.
He and high school buddy Steve Wozniak started Apple Inc. in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976, making home computers for the masses—and $100 million by the time he turned 25. He died Wednesday at 56, leaving behind a legacy worth far more than his bank account.
Jobs was a visionary. From that first desktop computer to the latest iteration of the iPhone, he developed products that revolutionized consumer technology. He knew what people needed before they did—and delivered it in a way that made us wonder how we ever lived without it.
He took chances. Some worked, and others didn’t. But he kept plugging away, doing what he loved and blazing a path that others scrambled to follow.
“Steve Jobs epitomized the revolutionary genius that through hard work, determination and a maverick spirit, our world can be changed by one person,” said Donald F. Kuratko, executive director of Indiana University’s Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. “He showed us the power of innovative thinking and the entrepreneurial spirit, which in the 21st century is the secret to sustained success.
“I hope there are many more [like him] rising from our younger generation, because our world needs them now more than ever.”
Jobs was in a league of his own, to be sure, but that innovative spirit isn’t confined to the coasts. Indiana has some imaginative minds, too.
Local serial entrepreneur Scott Jones is an obvious example. Widely credited with inventing voice mail, he also had a hand in developing early music-recognition software and is the driving force behind the growing ChaCha Search mobile-answers service. And he told IBJ earlier this year that he keeps a filing cabinet filed with thousands of ideas at home.
Who else belongs on Indiana’s list of revolutionary thinkers—and doers? And who, if anyone, is poised to fill the oversized shoes Jobs left behind?