Steve Jobs; The Ultimate Intrapreneur
By Howard Edward Haller, Ph.D.
Steve Jobs is well-known as a successful and innovative entrepreneur. But by his own definitive published statement, Jobs was both an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur!
Steve Jobs, Apple’s Chairman was specifically helpful in popularizing the term “intrapreneurship.” In a September 30, 1985 “Newsweek” article Jobs said of intrapreneurship within Apple,
“The Macintosh team was what is commonly known as intrapreneurship… a group of people going, in essence, back to the garage, but in a large company.”
The Apple Macintosh Computer, Intrapreneurially Created
Later (early 1980’s) Steve Jobs and his handpicked group of twenty Apple Computer engineers separated themselves from the other Apple employees to innovatively and intrapreneurially create the Apple Macintosh Computer (the “Mac”). Under Steve Jobs’ personal leadership the MAC group operated totally independently and without interference from anyone at Apple. Some (Hint: Apple’s, CEO, John Scully, and the Apple Board of Directors) who were familiar with the situation commented that Jobs and his Band of Engineers were allowed to play “without adult supervision.”
It was said that this creative, intrapreneurial, and independent group of intrapreneurs verged on becoming a “cult” within Apple Computer.
This separate Apple intrapreneurship venture would ultimately compete with Apple’s mainstay products. This competition was part of what led Apple’s CEO, John Scully, and venture capitalist Arthur Rock to become displeased with Jobs’ leadership style and his intrapreneurial independence. Scully and Rock led the Apple board of directors to fire Steve Jobs (which John Scully later admitted was mistake on his part). Several years late Steve Jobs later returned to save Apple as its Chairman until his death 2012.
To be a successful intrapreneur takes much more than just creativity or an idea. A successful intrapreneur has to be willing to take real risks at sharing and pushing a unique idea. An intrapreneur has to be willing to go into work focused on a mission and be willing to be fired at any moment in defense of their intrapreneurial objective. Steve Jobs clearly demonstrated that virtue.
Steve Jobs, the ultimate intrapreneur and entrepreneur created a solid string of innovative products including, but not limited to: Apple Computer, Mac, iPod, iTune, iPad, iPhone, iCloud, Pixar and much more!
What a Legacy! Thanks, Steve. You will be missed, but not forgotten.
“Intrapreneurship; The Secret Weapon For Success”
“Intrapreneurship has been called the ‘secret weapon for success’. It has been used in high tech firms such as 3M, Anaconda-Ericsson, Apple Computer, AT&T, Corona Data Systems, Data General, DuPont, GE, Genentech, Lockheed, Prime Computer, Rubbermaid, Sony, Texas Instruments, Toyota, and other successful firms!” (quote from Dr. Haller’s 2009 published intrapreneurship book, Intrapreneurship Success: A PR1ME Example)
The term “intrapreneurship” has become part of the business lexicon for the last thirty years. TIME and Newsweek articles about intrapreneurship were both published in 1985. But three years earlier, Howard Edward Haller’s completed formal academic case study and Master’s Thesis documented the terms “intrapreneurship” and “corporate entrepreneurship.” In June 1982, Haller successfully defended his Master’s Thesis which was an intrapreneurship case study. He wrote about the Super Mini Computer firm, PR1ME Computer Inc. (1977 to 1980). Haller’s Master’s Thesis research was published by the University in 1982 (Cited in Wikipedia.org’s History of Intrapreneurship.) Three years later the term “intrapreneuring” was popularized by management consultant Gifford Pinchot III in his book Intrapreneuring which was published in 1985.
Over the last three decades both large and small growing companies have experimented with allowing intrapreneurial activity within their organizations. Several successful intrapreneurial ventures come to mind including: APPLE’s “Macintosh;” Anaconda-Ericsson Inc.’s Anaconda-Ericsson Finance and Leasing Inc.; Corona Data Systems “OEM Private Label Division”; GOOGLE’s Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and Google AdSense; General Motors Saturn Division; PR1ME Computer’s “PR1ME Leasing;” 3M’s “Post-It Notes” as well as 3M multilayer optical film technology, 3M’s Vikuiti™ and 3M Scotch® Pop-Up Tape.; SONY’s hugely successful “PlayStation;” and the WL Gore’s “Elixir Guitar Sting Line.”