Remembering Steve Jobs: An inspiration to a generation of digital entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs pay tribute to the Apple co-founder

The world has been united in expressing its gratitude, respect and admiration for Steve Jobs, the inspirational entrepreneur who turned a garage start-up into one of the most valuable companies on the planet – with the most iconic brand the world has ever seen.

While thousands of Apple fans have paid their respects on social media sites such as Twitter, through hashtags such as #thankyousteve, presidents, prime ministers and global business leaders have also acknowledged the Apple founder’s remarkable achievements in business – and the legacy he leaves to entrepreneurs and consumers alike.

Among them was Barack Obama, who said: “The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented”.

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, dubbed him: “One of the greatest American leaders in history”, while Rupert Murdoch, Tony Blair, Mark Zuckerberg and Steven Spielberg have also extolled his vision, creativity and leadership skills.

Meanwhile, some of the UK’s most seasoned – and most promising – entrepreneurs told Startups how Steve Jobs inspired and influenced them – and in some cases, made their businesses possible. Here’s their eulogy:

Luke Johnson, serial entrepreneur and chairman of private equity firm Risk Capital Partners

“Steve Jobs carried out the greatest turnaround of all time when he went back in to run Apple for the second time. It is a testament to his business flair that he made the company for a time the most valuable in the world – the only time in modern history a founder has achieved that. He leaves Apple with the world’s strongest brand and the world’s biggest corporate cash pile. I suspect we will never see a more successful entrepreneurial life.”

Michael Stephanblome, co-founder of online advertising exchange AdJug

“Steve Jobs was the essential role model for a generation of digital entrepreneurs, proving that it’s possible to be the CEO of the biggest company on earth and a true pioneer at the same time.”

Satish Jayakumar, co-founder of online advertising exchange AdJug

“For me he represents the power to change. He took on industries that resisted change and eventually forced it upon them. I loved his irrational power to dream, create and conquer. He has created the most amazing brand of all time and will be missed.”

Andy McLoughlin, co-founder of cloud collaboration and project management platform Huddle

“Steve Jobs’ obsession over product quality is something that every start-up can and should learn from. Anything less than the best simply wasn’t good enough for him.”

Jim Cruickshank, founder of digital personal stylist Stylepilot.com (winner of this week’s techpitch 4.5)

“A true inspiration for any entrepreneur wishing to make a difference for consumers. Very few people can claim to have revolutionised a consumer sector, but Steve Jobs did. I particularly love the fact that design and user experience excellence was at the core of every new product he released. This is something I will strive to emulate.”

Jonny White, founder of online tickets platform TicketTailor.com (runner-up at this week’s techpitch 4.5)

“For me the most amazing thing about Steve Jobs and the Apple products he has put out is how far ahead of the curve they are. When they are released they are so complete, innovative and well thought out that it takes the competitors two years to catch up and produce anything that can begin to compete. It’s this foresight, confidence and determination that I find so inspirational.”

Tim Bichara, founder, mobile digital agency Nimble Mobile

“Steve Jobs had the rare and remarkable ability to understand computers and understand people. He changed the way in which we interact with each other and with technology itself. Jobs brought user experience from the periphery to the centre of the design process and set new, astonishing standards for us all to follow. His incredible imagination and understanding of the big picture is a must for any entrepreneur to study. At the same time, his terrier like obsession with detail and ruthless pursuit of his vision is a lesson to us on what constitutes excellence.

“Jobs was a personal and professional inspiration for me and most of my generation and we will all miss him enormously.”

Henrik Dillman, co-founder of knowledge marketplace Mancx.com

“Steve Jobs has had a massive impact on entrepreneurship globally. He has taken on global challenges time after time, and succeeded. He has proven that everything is possible.

“That is the kind of inspiration you need as a start-up! We all know that but could well need the encouragement!”

Rob Small, founder of online gaming company Miniclip

“Steve Jobs was a pioneer who made advanced technology accessible for all. He had a rare ability to use technology to capture the world’s imagination.”

Will King, founder of shaving and skincare brand King of Shaves

“iCame, iSaw, iCreated – iMac, iPod, iTouch, iPhone, iPad, iCloud – iShared and iLeft (a legacy, and the world in a better place). Incredible.”

Matt McNeill, founder of permission marketing business Sign-up.to

“Steve Jobs’ vision and quest for perfection were inspiring to me, but even more so was the way he managed to use these to create a series of products which had a fundamental impact on the way people interact with technology.

“His work humanised many technologies where others had failed and made them a part of everyday life for millions, crafting products which people could use intuitively and which changed industries (music, mobile phones) or created entirely new markets (the iPad). The genius of his work was getting to the core of what a product and experience was about and creating beautiful designs which were as notable for what they left out as for what they contained.

“To me, he showed the staggering impact that design and user experience can have on the success of a business and how obsession with the quality of a product really does make all the difference.”

Aneesh Varma, founder of online content and apps developer FabriQate

“Truly a sad day. But I feel it’s important to learn from his legacy. He took his everyday experiences and made them into innovative products. I still love listening to his Stanford graduation speech as motivation about how life’s turns gave him ideas.”

Will Ryan, founder of online apps developer Electric Labs

“As a software house that specialises in mobile, Steve Jobs has created an industry for us. Whether you’re a sole developer, a small start-up like Electric Labs or a multi-national corporation, Apple and Steve Jobs have created a landscape whereby we can create beautiful applications and deliver them directly to consumers.

“Over the years, Apple have revolutionised the technology industry in both the hardware and software sense. In doing this, they have also challenged the entire market to strive for a greater user experience which has significantly improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people. A true visionary who will be very much missed.” Image: Apple

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