Steve Jobss Heroes



In this mini podcast episode, the host revisits the profound influence historical entrepreneurs had on Steve Jobs and underscores the mission of Founders podcast—to imbibe listeners with the wisdom and follies of history's business titans. He emphasizes Jobs' dedication to studying great minds like Edwin Land, Bob Noyce, and Walt Disney, and how it shaped Apple. The host details the extensive content available on Founders for subscribers, including ad-free episodes and a back catalog of entrepreneurial insights. He highlights Jobs' evolution from a reckless upstart to a visionary leader, as chronicled in biographies and his own experiences with mentors like Andy Grove and Nolan Bushnell. The episode serves as a compelling invitation to join the misfit feed for full episodes, promising a transformative learning experience akin to Jobs' own educational journey.

Summary Notes

Founders Podcast Purpose and Benefits

  • The podcast is created to share the knowledge and experiences of history's greatest entrepreneurs.
  • It provides insights into both their best ideas and worst mistakes to help listeners avoid the latter.
  • The podcast is a tool for learning from past company builders to improve one's own business practices.

I think Steve Jobs is one of the best illustrations of why Founders podcasts exist. And that's because Steve, like every single other of history's greatest entrepreneurs, all spent an excessive amount of time studying from and learning from the great people that came before them and then use the ideas that they learn through that practice of study and reading to use those ideas in the company that they wind up building.

The quote explains that Steve Jobs is a prime example of an entrepreneur who heavily invested time in learning from past greats, which is the essence of why the Founders podcast was created.

Access to Full Episodes and Content

  • Partial episodes of Founders are available for free, but full access requires a subscription.
  • Subscribers gain immediate access to an extensive catalog of full-length episodes.
  • The podcast has a significant amount of content created from extensive research and reading.

In order to access full episodes, you'll need to sign up by tapping the link that's in the show notes of your podcast player or by going to

This quote provides instructions on how listeners can sign up to access full episodes of the Founders podcast.

Steve Jobs' Influence and Learning from Others

  • Steve Jobs dedicated time to learning from other successful company founders.
  • His biography by Walter Isaacson introduced many other influential founders to the reader.
  • Jobs' study habits are highlighted as a reason for his success and as a model for listeners.

And in this book, Steve introduced me to so many other founders I didn't even know existed.

The quote highlights that Steve Jobs' biography was not only informative about his life but also served as a gateway to learning about other influential founders.

  • The biography "Becoming Steve Jobs" is recommended for understanding Jobs' transformation into a successful entrepreneur.
  • The book details the mistakes Jobs made and how he learned from them to build Apple's success.
  • Continuous learning and correcting behavior are emphasized as key to entrepreneurial success.

Steve Jobs was not born as one of the greatest entrepreneurs ever lived. He made himself, he built himself into that person.

This quote underscores the idea that Steve Jobs' success was not innate but was built through learning and self-improvement.

Mark Andreessen's Endorsement and the Value of Reading

  • Mark Andreessen's introduction to "Becoming Steve Jobs" and his views on reading biographies are highlighted.
  • Andreessen's quote emphasizes the value of learning from the accumulated experience of others through books.
  • The podcast host aligns with Andreessen's practice of reading as a valuable activity for learning.

There are thousands of years of history in which lots and lots of very smart people worked very hard and ran all types of experiments on how to create new businesses, invent new technology, come up with new ways to manage, et cetera.

The quote from Mark Andreessen explains the immense value in reading biographies and learning from the experiences and experiments of past entrepreneurs and innovators.

Unique Insights from Founders Podcast

  • The podcast offers access to rare and hard-to-find books on entrepreneurship.
  • It provides a competitive edge by focusing on historical entrepreneurs rather than current trends.
  • The host has invested significant time into researching and distilling valuable entrepreneurial lessons.

Very few people are reading these books. Very few people are like, you just have a complete edge because everybody's focused on what's happening now, what are entrepreneurs doing now?

This quote points out the unique advantage listeners can gain by focusing on the insights from historical figures, as opposed to the common focus on contemporary entrepreneurs.

Importance of Historical Knowledge in Entrepreneurship

  • Successful entrepreneurs emphasize the importance of building a historical base of knowledge.
  • Understanding history provides context and lessons that can inform present and future business decisions.
  • Historical insights were a common trait among renowned entrepreneurs.

"Choose the history first. It's not either or. You can do both, and you should do both. But without question, you should be building your own historical base of knowledge first. That's what all of these people did."

This quote highlights the advice given by great entrepreneurs about the importance of prioritizing historical knowledge. It suggests that learning from history is not mutually exclusive with current business activities and is a foundational step for successful entrepreneurship.

Career Trajectory of Michael Moritz

  • Michael Moritz transitioned from journalism to venture capitalism.
  • His success in investing in technology companies stemmed from his deep understanding of the field.
  • Moritz's career change led to significant wealth accumulation, highlighting the value of expertise in one's investment domain.

"Michael Moritz, he winds up after that book, he winds up transitioning from a journalist and a reporter to a venture capitalist. And fast forward to today. And he's actually a billionaire because he was really successful at investing in technology companies because that's what he was studying."

The quote describes Michael Moritz's career progression and underscores how his background in journalism, focusing on technology, paved the way for his success as a venture capitalist. It suggests that a deep understanding of an industry can be a critical factor in achieving investment success.

Steve Jobs' Wilderness Years

  • The period between Steve Jobs' departure from and return to Apple is referred to as his "Wilderness years."
  • Jobs made several poor decisions during this time, which can serve as cautionary tales.
  • The importance of hiring the right talent, especially in a startup's early stages, is emphasized through Jobs' hiring mistakes.

"Steve talks over and over again about how important it is to make sure you have the highest talent level, especially at the beginning of your company... Steve Jobs, one of the first ten hires at NeXT, had nothing to a software, nothing to a hardware. He hired an interior designer for his office."

This quote reflects on Steve Jobs' emphasis on the importance of hiring top talent for a company's success, yet contrasts this with his own misstep of hiring an interior designer as one of the first ten employees at NeXT. It serves as an example of the impact of early hiring decisions on a company's trajectory.

Continuous Learning and Knowledge Compounding

  • Revisiting books and podcasts can offer new insights as one's personal and professional growth leads to a different perspective.
  • Knowledge, like money, compounds over time, enhancing understanding and decision-making.

"The book stays the same. The podcast stays the same, but you change as a person... That's 200. And what? Nine books I read that it adds and knowledge compounds just like money does."

This quote conveys the idea that although the content of books and podcasts remains constant, the reader or listener's personal growth can lead to new interpretations and insights. It draws a parallel between the compounding effect of knowledge and financial growth.

Steve Jobs and Pixar

  • Steve Jobs' first billion came not from Apple but from his investment in Pixar.
  • The book by Pixar's first CFO provides insights into Jobs' approach to company building and his unwavering belief in a small team's potential to achieve historic success.
  • Jobs' significant financial risk in Pixar showcases his entrepreneurial vision and patience.

"Steve Jobs became a billionaire not from Apple. The first time he became a billionaire was from Pixar... He just had the patience and the belief that he had a small group of geniuses and they were going to change history."

This quote highlights Steve Jobs' role in the success of Pixar and his strategic investment that ultimately paid off significantly. It emphasizes his belief in the talent of his team and his patience in seeing through long-term visionary projects.

Bonus Episodes on Steve Jobs

  • The podcast features bonus episodes that delve into specific aspects of Steve Jobs' career and approach to business.
  • Books discussed in the bonus episodes offer unique insights into Jobs' thought processes and the culture he fostered at Apple.
  • The preparation for these podcast episodes includes thorough reading and analysis, demonstrating the host's dedication to providing in-depth content.

"Before I sit down to talk to you, I have to read an entire book. And it's not like I'm taking long times between making new podcasts. I did 66 new podcasts last year."

This quote underscores the extensive preparation and commitment involved in creating the podcast episodes, particularly those focused on Steve Jobs. It shows the host's dedication to providing well-researched and informative content to the audience.

Influence of Johnny Ive and Ed Catmull on Steve Jobs

  • Johnny Ive's biography reveals his unique position at Apple and the high value Steve Jobs placed on his contributions.
  • Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, offers managerial insights and shares his long-term professional relationship with Jobs.
  • These books provide a deeper understanding of the relationships and dynamics that shaped Apple and Pixar's success.

"Johnny Ive, the genius behind Apple's greatest products... Ed Catmull, who's by all accounts a managerial genius. And also the person that worked the longest consecutive time with Steve Jobs."

The quote highlights the significant contributions of Johnny Ive and Ed Catmull to Apple and Pixar, respectively, and their close working relationships with Steve Jobs. It suggests that their collaborations were integral to the companies' innovation and success.

Steve Jobs and Influential Books

  • The Innovators (#157) and In the Company of Giants (#28) are books discussing Steve Jobs and other tech founders.
  • The Innovators covers 25 influential figures in the digital revolution.
  • In the Company of Giants is based on interviews with Steve Jobs and 15 other tech founders.

"Number one, number 157, the Innovators. How a group of hackers, geniuses and geeks created the digital revolution. There's like 25 mad geniuses in there. Steve's in there a lot. And a lot of Steve's heroes are in there as well. And then the other one is another example book on Steve Jobs and several other technology company founders is number two eight in the company of giants, candid conversations with visionaries in digital world."

The quote highlights the importance of these books in understanding the contributions of Steve Jobs and his peers to the digital revolution.

Steve Jobs' Influences

  • Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid, was a significant influence on Steve Jobs.
  • Steve Jobs admired Edwin Land and learned many ideas from him.
  • Five books on Edwin Land were read for the podcast, showcasing his impact on Jobs and Apple.

"But the person that has the single largest influence on apple is this guy... His name is Edwin Land. He was the founder of Polaroid... Steve got to meet him... I was shocked how many ideas I had thought I had learned from Steve Jobs, that he just learned, that he literally regurgitated and learned from Edwin land."

This quote emphasizes Edwin Land's profound impact on Steve Jobs and how Jobs incorporated Land's ideas into his work at Apple.

Intel Co-Founders as Mentors

  • Bob Noyce and Andy Grove were mentors to Steve Jobs and co-founders of Intel.
  • Steve Jobs frequently visited Bob Noyce and respected Andy Grove's blunt advice.
  • Books about Intel and its founders provide insight into their influence on Jobs.

"Two of his mentors were the two co founders of intel. So technically the two co founders of intel were Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore. But really Andy Grove was considered an unofficial co founder and really one of the most important, probably the most important CEO of intel... Steve Jobs talks about over and over and over again."

The quote describes the mentorship relationship between Steve Jobs and the co-founders of Intel, highlighting their importance in his development.

Andy Grove's Autobiography

  • Andy Grove's autobiography (#159) covers his life up to age 21, including his escape from Hungary.
  • His "no bullshit" style and advice influenced Steve Jobs' decision to return to Apple.

"But there's also a fantastic story that Steve Jobs tells in other books. Why Andy Grove was so important to his decision to return to Apple... 'steve, I don't give a shit about Apple. I was stunned. It was then I realized, I do give a shit about Apple.'"

The quote reflects Andy Grove's direct influence on Steve Jobs, particularly in his decision to rejoin Apple.

Nolan Bushnell's Influence

  • Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, hired Steve Jobs at Atari.
  • Their conversation in Paris led to Bushnell's book (#36) about nurturing talent.

"Nolan Bushnell is Steve Job, one of Steve Job's mentors. He was the founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese... They met up in Paris in 1980... That conversation, the ideas that came out of that conversation, Nolan, turned into a book."

This quote discusses Nolan Bushnell's role as a mentor to Steve Jobs and the influence of their discussions on Jobs' thinking.

Akio Marita and Sony

  • Akio Marita, founder of Sony, was admired by Steve Jobs and influenced Jeff Bezos.
  • Marita's autobiography (#102) provides insight into his founding of Sony.

"Not only did Steve steal ideas from him, he loved Akio. They wind up meeting Akio also influenced heavily Jeff Bezos as well."

The quote indicates the respect and influence Akio Marita had on Steve Jobs, as well as his broader impact on the tech industry.

Walt Disney's Lasting Company

  • Walt Disney's dedication to quality and building a lasting company inspired Steve Jobs.
  • Multiple books (#2, #39, #158) explore Disney's life and the creation of Disneyland.

"Walt Disney is another huge influence on Steve Jobs. He loved his dedication to the quality of his product, innovation, and more importantly, that he built a company to last."

This quote captures Walt Disney's influence on Steve Jobs, especially in terms of his focus on product quality and creating an enduring company.

J. Robert Oppenheimer's Talent Philosophy

  • J. Robert Oppenheimer's approach to team talent influenced Steve Jobs' hiring practices.
  • The book (#215) discusses the importance of having only the most talented individuals on a team.

"Another person from history that might surprise you that Steve Jobs studied and learned from was J. Robert Oppenheimer... He learned from J. Robert Oppenheimer the importance of only having the most talented people on your team, that you have to be ruthless in the level of talent."

The quote emphasizes the impact of J. Robert Oppenheimer's philosophy on Steve Jobs' approach to building teams based on talent.

Influence of Historical Figures on Modern Entrepreneurs

  • Historical figures have had a significant impact on modern entrepreneurs.
  • Entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Evan Spiegel have modeled their approaches after their heroes.
  • The study of predecessors is a common practice among successful entrepreneurs.
  • This emulation can have tangible benefits, as evidenced by the financial success of figures like Evan Spiegel of Snapchat.

"Groves and Oppenheimer, the unlikely partnership that built the atom bomb. I read that book because Steve Jobs said that he studied and learned from Oppenheimer."

This quote highlights the influence of historical figures like Oppenheimer on Steve Jobs, suggesting that learning from past innovators is a valuable practice for modern entrepreneurs.

"When Jobs is building the Macintosh, he's in his early 20s. He's saying he wanted to make it as simple as Henry Ford's model T."

This quote exemplifies how Steve Jobs drew direct inspiration from Henry Ford's approach to simplicity in the design of the Macintosh.

"Steve Jobs says they had a heavy, heavy influence on him was the HP way, which was Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett."

Jobs was influenced by the management style and company culture of HP, showing the impact of organizational practices on his thinking.

"I read a biography of Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, and I was shocked, because when he's in his early 20s, he's saying, hey, I want to build a company, and I want to model it after my two heroes. And he said his two heroes was Edwin Land and Steve Jobs."

Evan Spiegel explicitly states his intent to emulate his heroes, Edwin Land and Steve Jobs, in building Snapchat, illustrating the lineage of influence from past to present entrepreneurs.

The Value of Biographies in Entrepreneurial Education

  • Biographies are seen as a valuable resource for entrepreneurs to learn about building companies.
  • Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Charlie Munger have attributed part of their success to lessons learned from biographies.
  • Reading about the lives of successful individuals provides insights into their strategies, struggles, and innovations.

"I saw an interview with Elon Musk in 2012, and he was asked by this guy named Kevin Rose on this podcast, used to exist called foundation... He's LIKE, you came from SOUTH AFRica, then you went to CANADA, then you went to CALIFORnIA. You're in your. How did you LEARn how to build companies? Did you read a lot of business books? And ElOn said something that I never forgot... He said, no, I didn't read business books. I read biographies."

Elon Musk's preference for biographies over traditional business books suggests that the narrative of an individual's life and challenges can be more instructive than theoretical business texts.

"There's a great book on Charlie Munger called Poor Charlie's Almanack. There's a quote in that book that I've never forgot."

The emphasis on a memorable quote from a book about Charlie Munger indicates the lasting impact that such works can have on an entrepreneur's mindset and approach to business.

Charisma and Influence in Leadership

  • Charisma is a powerful tool for leaders and can be developed through exposure to charismatic individuals.
  • Steve Jobs's relationship with Robert Friedland demonstrates the transformative effect of charisma on leadership abilities.
  • The distinction between positive charisma and manipulative tactics is highlighted.

"Steve Jobs and him were friends in college. And people that knew Steve Jobs before he met Robert Friedman say that he wasn't very charismatic. He met Robert Friedman, who was extremely charismatic."

This quote points to the influence of Robert Friedland on Steve Jobs's development of charisma, which later became a hallmark of Jobs's leadership style.

The Role of Friendship and Mentorship in Entrepreneurship

  • Close relationships and mentorships play a crucial role in the development of entrepreneurs.
  • Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison's friendship is an example of mutual admiration and influence.
  • The exchange of ideas and support among peers can contribute to entrepreneurial success.

"Steve did not have a lot of close friends. He dedicated his life to work, but his best friend was Larry Ellison."

The quote underscores the importance of a strong friendship and support system, as exemplified by the relationship between Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison.

Accessibility of Entrepreneurial Learning

  • The speaker promotes the idea of making learning from historical figures more accessible.
  • The "misfit feed" is presented as a resource for gaining immediate access to entrepreneurial knowledge.
  • The speaker encourages the audience to engage with the content to benefit from the wisdom of great minds.

"Founders just exists to make this easier so you can do it easier and faster. And if you pick the right heroes, it's going to change the trajectory of your life, for sure."

This quote emphasizes the mission of the "Founders" platform to facilitate easier access to the lessons of historical entrepreneurs, suggesting a belief in the transformative power of studying the right role models.

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