What is the Value of a Simple Visionary?

Can a visionary without any significant set of technical and even traditional social skills have value?  What is the value of an idea and an ideal?  What is the value of passion? They are all intangible things.  What can a passionate driven visionary without marketable skills achieve?  What did Steve Jobs achieve?

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27:  Apple Inc. CEO St...

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Ideas without passion often get passed by, but ideas with passion can indeed go from the ethers of pure thought to a tangible iPhone.  Did the idealist create the product? Did he write the software? Did he draw the technical specs? Did he personally negotiate all of the deals that made the product a success?  No.  Did he even know what was possible and not possible all the time? No.  Did he take the fact that everyone said it was not possible for granted or did he make heroes of his engineers by proving them wrong and making the impossible possible?  Steve Job was not talented at anything tangible and he definitely had some funky nutty ideas that eventually did him in; but his priceless gift was his passion and his ability to contaminate everyone he touched and the general public with it. His single minded focus to achieve human perfection in each product and not accept failure nor excuses nor anything but the best gave him the ability to lead a bunch of zealots that believed in his vision to not only create the best products but convinced the public to buy into his vision at a price often 10 times more than other smart phones.  His ability to see trends that everyone else dismissed such as the need for a simple music player, a sleek status symbol of a phone, and a tablet that is way more useful in many ways than even a PC was indeed visionary.  His ability to sell it the public at a stupidly high cost was priceless.  But these miracles are what visionaries can achieve with their passion—he materialized his value into products but what he sold to his employees and the public was intangible ideals by speaking to their hearts.  Without these intangible ideals Apple would not exist at this moment.  Without his understanding and his passion, Apple would not be the largest company in the tech world and have $100 billion in cash in the bank.  He took it from the brink of death the healthiest company in the world.  He achieved all of this with just a passionate vision and proper guidance.

Steve Jobs’ Vision–Visionary Extraordinaire

What is the value of an idea? Zero. It is intangible and often unclear and misunderstood.  What is the value of a visionary’s idea? Priceless.  He or she has the ability to make the ideas real and tangible even if they themselves can do nothing more than guide the vision.  A visionary needs nothing more than his ideas and passion to make others give form and substance to them.  His ability to recruit talent is what solidifies his ideas and make them come to life.  His ideas may not even be well defined; they may just be a set of guidelines with no specific shape but with the right talent he can bring those loose sets of ideals to a value greater than it should rightly have.  The iPhone for example is grossly overpriced but it is so valued by the public that companies like Sprint and Verizon are losing money offering it just because the demand is so high since people feel a love for it.  This too is part of the visionary’s value, creating Love for his ideas and a fanatical following.

Ideas are worthless unless they can be made real in someone’s heart as is the ideals of most religions, and in the business world they are worthless unless they are made into a tangible product or service that not only makes it physically real but real in the heart of those willing to pay for it and advertise it fanatically for free.  Steve Jobs, like him or not, is indisputably a first class visionary and his vision will survive him for many lifetimes to come.  His company did not stop functioning or weaken after his passing, it became stronger and with each product sold, each dollar earned, each new innovation that follows his lasting guiding principles—it keeps his heart, spirit, and soul alive in the people he trusted to give life to his vision and the hearts of a grateful public that appreciates his gifts that made our lives just a little bit better and raised humanity one more step up in the evolutionary rung.

Takeaways

A visionary infects his followers with his vision and lets them give buzz and value to his ideals.
The value of an idea without passion is zero because it may never be heard; the value of a passionate idea is priceless.
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Steve Jobs’ vision inspired humanity itself and raised it one more step up in the evolutionary rung.
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What is the Value of An Idea?

The myriads of religious convictions in just Christianity who all base their beliefs in a single book but with hugely different interpretations says that an idea, even if it is not tangible can still be very valuable.  Add the myriads of other religious views that still have millions of people following them and you see the perfect power of an idea or ideal flex its muscles.  In business however, an idea is often underrated, and often not very appreciated.  As its far reaching potential is not as easily grasped out of the intangible ether as is religion, but it can be just as powerful as a religious ideal.

Ideas can shape a culture as religion has proven. But ideas in business can also shape the course of a business and definitely dictate the culture of a business.  As it is clear to all modern superstar CEO and managers, ideas and the people that have them are the greatest assets of a company.  Whether some ideas by themselves seem so simple as to have been invented by a child when put together in the right way and funneled down an action path, even the simplest combination of ideas can lead to innovation.  These ideas may not be measurable in their impact, but they can carry a far reaching effect on a business. It is the people that expound them that make them powerful.  It is the people that can make them contagious enough to recruit others to the idea and ultimately recruit the hearts of the customer so they happily spread the word and count themselves as hearts that love the idea—that make them successful for the business.

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07

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Visionaries like Steve Jobs are the poster child for the power of idea and ideals.  He is not a particularly technical person, in fact he is very new age in thinking, but he had the passion to take a dying company and turn it into the most valuable company in the world that continues to do well even after his death.  His secret is not just his guiding principles which make his company a juggernaut but his care for finding the right talent to make his ideas shine in the heart of the customers.  His ideas and guiding principles are not technical in nature they reach the hearts of his disciples and his customers in a way where they sing the laurels of the products that he intuits will be loved by the public. Steve himself admits that he cannot do anything without the talent he recruits as he wisely states in this video:

Steve Jobs’ Vision–Visionary Extraordinaire

He leads, he encourages, he shapes the idea but he does not execute them, others are the ones that bring his ideas to life and he recognizes this.

Not all companies can have a Steve Jobs guiding them nor visionaries as powerful as those he recruited to make his company the number one technology company in the world with $100 billion in cash and a problem of what to do with it.  But each successful company relies on those immeasurable ideas to make their mark in the world.  Most of the time these ideas by themselves seem worthless but when gather and built by a team they become the fountain of riches for the business.  Yet on paper alone they do not seem very impressive and their effects cannot be objectively measured most of the time until all of the efforts are spent making them a reality.  Employees and their ideas is what makes a company successful and sometimes there is no good measure of an idea prior to its execution just a zealot belief in it until it is proven right (or sometimes wrong).  In the end an idea is worth zero until the passion of the inventor moves it to an executed idea—and most of the time this takes a team of people to accomplish.

The proof of the importance of ideas is in the intellectual property registry of ideas, which 99% of the time will never be looked at or used; but are valuable enough to spend billions a year to register them as intellectual property.  Only when someone later might want to use them do they gain value but even as a patent itself they are only pop the value of a company on paper, when executed they can be the difference between success and failure even if they collected dust for 17 years and are used at the end of the intellectual property’s protection.

Those that try to square peg a person’s worth simply on objective measurable goals often lose out on the best talent because like Steve Jobs’ lack of technical skills their ideas could not be measured, but like Steve they could be the next visionary that surfaces to move humanity in a new breakthrough path.  Not all inventors and imagineers are super successful or even extremely adept but their ideas could be as valuable as those that Steve had that made Apple a legacy that will immortalize his name in the hearts of many for generations to come.  Talent in business needs to be appreciated in more than measurable ways.  Like with Steve ideals and ideas are often the only marketable trade a person has and even if they are not as brilliantly executed as Steve’s they can indeed be the path that leads to great success; even if they never immortalize its inventor and even if they are only worth a few hundred million in profits rather than a few hundred billions.

Takeaways

Talent is the backbone of any successful business and nurturing good talent is the number one role of executives.
Steve Jobs admits his great success is built on the shoulder of the giant talent he was wise enough to recruit.
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Talent cannot always be objectively measured. Ideas have limitless potential when coming from the right talent—Steve Jobs is the proof.
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