Washington Post “On Success” Column answer to:
Not every product the Apple CEO has introduced has been a hit. So what accounts for the aura of incredible success that surrounds Steve Jobs? Why don’t others who are possibly just as successful become cult figures like he has? Also see The New York Times article on Apple’s new tablet.
The first people to enter any market make most of the money. Jobs not only got there first, but he pretty much invented the market! He saw the potential of a mouse-driven graphical interface when most people were still excited about their Rolodex. (If you are under 30 years old, you might think that’s just a cheap watch.) Steve was also (kind of) kicked out of the company he started for being…well…really weird, and then started another company that his old company bought, making him the CEO again! So, he invented the “high-tech, crazy, in-your-face” entrepreneurial persona. That makes him very “edgy” – and if there is one thing most giant-company CEOs are not, it’s anything that’s even remotely similar to edgy! They are usually pretty stiff and very good at saying things that won’t upset the public, even after they get fired and manage to pilfer a lot of cash on the way out.
Cult status is acquired by being unusual or different and very well known. (I see this personally in my industry with professional speakers) Most highly successful entrepreneurs play to the masses (as in masses of money) and of course do very well. However, you’re not likely to see them on the BIO channel unless they also become a serial killer!