The news of the day tomorrow will most certainly be about Steve Jobs and his resignation as Apple’s CEO. I don’t know what prompted it and it’s not even worth speculating about. But one thing is certain. Steve Jobs is, without a doubt, one of the great entrepreneurs in the history of humankind.

I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years talking about how to fix the US economy and what policies we need to implement to fix this and that. And in all of this discussion it’s easy to forget what really drives economic growth. It is the vision of men and women who create new ways of thinking about the world and new ways of improving our daily lives that really generates economic growth. Governments rarely do this, tax cuts rarely do this and banks most certainly do not do this. We advance as a society and as human beings when we are surrounded by entrepreneurs who create goods or services that improve our standard of living. This improvement in our standard of living can come in the form of great thinking, great productivity or great ingenuity. But it always comes from entrepreneurs.

I am attaching Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford. He touches on several important topics that he says helped mold him into the person he has become. It’s a must watch in my opinion for anyone interested in learning what it means to become a great entrepreneur.

Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services.

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  1. “Shortly after the iconic iMacs came out in 1998, Mr. Gates took a swipe at Apple, which was still struggling to survive. ‘The one thing Apple’s providing now is leadership in colors,’ Mr. Gates said. ‘It won’t take long for us to catch up with that, I don’t think.’”

  2. “We advance as a society and as human beings when we are surrounded by entrepreneurs who create goods or services that improve our standard of living.”

    That’s a pretty broad definition of entrepreneur – one that includes scientists, artists, teachers, engineers, architects and many other creative types – many of whom can be funded by government as well as the private sector.

    The wikipedia definition of an entrepreneur is “a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and is accountable for the inherent risks and the outcome of a product” – i.e.: the owner(s)/borrowers.

    It’s important to realise how much entrepreneurs depend on an infrastructure of technology discovery and development, and the education systems that support it, both of which are often funded by government.

  3. Clearly Jobs is a great entrepreneur. If you have been in business playing with big dogs you know they are not saints. They play hardball.

    At the same time, to put entrepreneurs at the top of humanity’s benefactors is a serious optical illusion. Man does not live by bread alone, nor is material advancement the highest good. There are benefactors of a far higher order than the Jobs of the the world.