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At his core, Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur

This 1977 file photo shows Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as he introduces the new Apple II in Cupertino, Calif.


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Steve Jobs: Entrepreneur

"Chairman Steve Jobs introduced numerous revolutionary changes to the information technology industry and was a great entrepreneur:" Choi Gee-sung, vice-chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics Co.

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"I feel honored to have known Steve Jobs. He was the most innovative entrepreneur of our generation. His legacy will live on for the ages:" AOL co-founder Steve Case.

"Steve was an iconic inventor, visionary, and entrepreneur, and we had the privilege to know him as partner and friend:" AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson.

Steve Jobs will be remembered for having transformed Apple Inc. into one of the most powerful brands on the planet. When he died on Wednesday at age 56, his net worth was in the billions, and he had redefined the words "comeback" and "success."

But at his core, Mr. Jobs was an entrepreneur.

In 1976, when personal computers were little more than an expensive hobby, the 21-year-old launched Apple Computer out of his family's garage, introducing the Apple I for $666.66 (U.S.). A year later came the Apple II, which became the first PC to gain a wide following.

Sales increased exponentially, rising to $139-million by 1980, and Apple became a publicly traded company. Mr. Jobs resigned in 1985 to start another technology company, NeXT Inc., and he invested in what later became Pixar Animation Studios. Apple bought NeXT in 1997, paving the way for Mr. Jobs to return to his first business.

There were no more startups. There were no more financial struggles. But being an entrepreneur is as much about a mindset as it is about revenue, or impact, or number of employees working for your company. If you were to ask Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Donald Trump whether they still consider themselves entrepreneurs, the answer would be 'yes.' No matter where you end up, it's all about where you started.

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Steve Jobs had a talent for spotting opportunities, but more importantly, he acted on them. He also happened to make them extremely profitable.

The passing of another great entrepreneur

Di Gribble passed away on Tuesday. Who was Di Gribble, you ask? One of Australia's most successful female entrepreneurs, "Boss Lady" Amanda Gome writes in a post for Smart Company. At the age of 35, Ms. Gribble started her first business, publishing house McPhee Gribble, with business partner Hilary McPhee, later bought by Penguin. At 48, she decided to do it again. She joined forces with Eric Beecher and the pair sunk their money into another publishing venture, Text Media. The partners spent 14 years building the business, and when she was 62, the company was sold to Fairfax for $70 million and it was back to the drawing board. At the age of 63, Ms. Gribble, along with Mr. Beecher, bought Crikey from founder Stephen Mayne for $1 million. Crikey was a springboard into digital media and she spent a lot of time understanding and influencing the emerging business model, while nurturing the creative talents of her people, much as she had always done.

One more of note

James Franco's father Doug died at the age of 63 last week, CTV New reports. Doug Franco was a Silicon Valley entrepreneur with a Harvard MBA. James has previously credited his father for encouraging him to work hard at school and set him back on the right path in life after a spell of trouble with the police. "In my first two years of high school I got into a lot of trouble with the police for minor things: graffiti, stealing, crashing cars," he said. "It was teen angst, I was uncomfortable in my own skin. But my dad was very supportive."


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Food Inc.

The lastest issue of Report on Small Business magazine came out in select copies of The Globe and Mail on Thursday. Our online feature profiles 10 Canadian food companies that are changing the way we eat.


Canadians down in the Valley

Some of the best talent in the tech world is coming from Canada, and everybody wants a piece of it, Omar el Akkad wrote in February in a series on Canadians in Silicon Valley. To help them navigate the valley's intensely competitive landscape, a number of high-powered resources have been put in place. Some are mainly social – the Digital Moose lounge, for example, is a networking group for Canadians that often organizes trips to San Jose Sharks hockey games – while others are more focused on the business side.

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About the Author
Sean Stanleigh

Sean Stanleigh is the product manager of Report on Small Business. His goal is to make ROSB the primary destination for readers in search of information and compelling stories about Canada's small-business community, which continues to grow in size and influence. Mr. More

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