Steve Jobs was an artist. You may say that’s absurd, but what is an artist. An artist is someone who takes common, plain resources and makes something that only the artist could see in their mind until the masterpiece was completed and shown to the world. Steve Jobs took a vision of something no one else could see and made it a reality. He worked with his palette of people, hardware, software, and processes. He arranged them in a way that created beautiful products that people could not wait to see, touch and share with others. While other CEOs focus on making a better mouse trap, decreasing costs, and increasing market share, Steve Jobs focused on creating his masterpiece.
I’ve heard many people say about rich people like Steve Jobs that they don’t deserve all that money. They couldn’t do it all by themselves. No one is an island. This is true. The painter could not paint his masterpiece without his paints and canvas that someone else might have made. The musician could not produce music we all sing to without instrument builders, producers and concert venues providers. Shakespeare would not be able to create his plays without actors, printers or the maker of his writing utensils.
Here is the problem though. All of those people and resources can be provided by anyone. The painter can get someone else to make the paint and canvas. The musician can find another instrument maker, producer or concert venue. Shakespeare could have found other actors, printers and writing utensils. And Steve Jobs could have found other programmers and hardware manufactures. The difference between the artist and everyone else is you can replace everyone else and still end up with the masterpiece. You cannot replace the artist. You cannot replace Steve Jobs.