The Steve Jobs Route to Building a Startup, by Gina Bianchini...
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Founders
Gina says that most founders of consumer Internet companies are not technical:
If you disregard gender, they actually look a lot more like me than like Mark Zuckerberg, who was a computer science major at Harvard when he started Facebook (and still codes to this day). Other iconic entrepreneurs have backgrounds that could well have led them anywhere except the Internet. Zynga's Mark Pincus was an economics major at the University of Pennsylvania. Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley has a BA in advertising from Syracuse University. Andrew Mason, the founder of Groupon, majored in music at Northwestern, for heaven's sake. Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, who co-founded online retailer Gilt Groupe, majored in romance languages at Harvard before earning her MBA there. Gilt co-founders Kevin Ryan and Alexis Maybank also traveled the non-tech route.
If Zuckerberg, the Google guys, and Bill Gates are the pattern creators, Steve Jobs may be the best counter-evidence to the creation myth. He didn't study computer science during his brief time at Reed College. He didn't need to be an ace at coding. Instead, he relentlessly and passionately focused on products. He marketed. He sold. He inspired. He challenged. He succeeded. He failed. He kept going. Then, he succeeded again. These are the true characteristics of a successful entrepreneur in the consumer Internet space. And there is nothing stopping women from performing just as well as men.
I agree that there's nothing stopping women from performing just as well as men.
But I don't think it's fair to say that the founders of Zynga, Foursquare, Groupon, and Gilt are representative of consumer Internet founders.
And I also believe that most investors I meet would prefer to invest in someone like Zuckerberg, the Google Guys, and Bill Gates. Not the next Steve Jobs.
They'd like to invest in a hypothetical Steve Jobs (e.g. In terms of value he created) but not actually Steve Jobs. Also, side note, but wasn't Zuck studying the classics and Andrew Mason is actually pretty technical he just happened to study music production? (e.g. He coded, but didn't study CS?)
Yes, yes, and yes.
Also, I think the trait most like Steve was his decision to spend his life on hard problems, and his clear and decisive vision for that: http://pandawhale.com/convo/7103/playboy-interview-steven-jobs-1985-txt-post A quality Zuck, Gates, Musk and others seem to share. Did Jobs really build "consumer Internet" products. I'd think Apple's consumer Internet software products haven't been well-received, with the exception to iTunes, and even then it's desktop software.
At any rate, I'd think it was the clear and concise vision for the future, the ability to attract folks who believe in and want to be a part of that vision, and the persistence to devote most of their time and energy and monetary resources to that goal -- so much so, many of these great leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs were not exceptionally known for being family persons.
Well said, sir.
I just found out something else; the other co-founder of Gilt Group seems to be the real visionary/money behind it, if not the face of the company. I'll try to find a link to the article.
I'll say what I've always said; in many ways, it's better to not hold up an individual's success and immediately declare victory for a specific group of people, as opposed to victory for humanity. This CEO , not this "female" CEO; this football coach, not this "black football coach," -- the day when we can simply talk about people and what they achieved as people and not as a subset of humanity, I believe is the day we can focus on the future -- or the distant past, depending how you consider it. The world was not always divided on ethnic lines as it is today, I believe we will one day return to that future soon.
Until then, I think it'll be the grassroots organizations and the big media who have the most power to change stereotypes. More Katniss Everdeen, less Jersey Shore.