Steve Jobs the Ultimate Intrapreneur and Entrepreneur
By Dr. Howard Edward Haller

Steve Jobs is well-known as a successful and innovative Entrepreneur. But by his own definitive published statement, Jobs was both an Intrapreneur and Entrepreneur! Technology available for the masses was material improved by the creativity and innovation of Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs, Apple's Chairman, was specifically helpful in popularizing the term "intrapreneurship." In a September 30, 1985 "Newsweek" article Jobs said, "The Macintosh team was what is commonly known as intrapreneurship... a group of people going, in essence, back to the garage, but in a large company."

Earlier that year, the February 4, 1985 TIME Magazine’s article, “Here come the Intrapreneurs” discussed the intrapreneurial spirit. The article included the creation of Apple, Saturn within General Motors, as well as intrapreneurship ventures within AT&T, Data General, DuPont, and Texas Instruments.

As a side note, Apple Computer itself was potentially an intrapreneurial venture, as it was an outgrowth of two big corporation employees. Steve Jobs had worked at Atari and Steve Wozniak (“Woz”) worked at Hewlett Packard part time.

Because of his employment agreement with HP, Wozniak actually had presented his prototype “personal computer” to an HP executive. Fortunately for “Woz” and Jobs the HP Executive unilaterally rejected the idea with a comment to the effect of “what would ordinary people do with a computer?” On hearing the good news of the HP rejection Jobs is reported to have said, “We’re on our way!”

Later, in the early 1980’s Steve Jobs and his handpicked group of twenty Apple Computer engineers separated themselves from the other Apple employees to innovatively and intrapreneurially create the Macintosh Computer (the “MAC”). This intrapreneurial group verged on becoming a “cult” within Apple Computer.

The MAC group, under Steve Jobs’ personal leadership, operated totally independently and without interference from anyone at Apple. Some who were familiar with the situation commented that Jobs and his Band of Engineers were allowed to play “without adult supervision” (hint: CEO Scully and the Apple Board).

This separate Apple intrapreneurship venture would ultimately compete with Apple's mainstay products. This competition was part of what ultimately led Apple’s CEO John Scully to become displeasured with Jobs. Scully later led the Board fight to fire Steve Jobs (which Scully later admitted was mistake on his part).

Intrapreneurship, sometimes called Corporate Entrepreneurship, comes from the idea of using entrepreneurial ideas, innovation, and start-up business techniques within a large (or medium sized) organization.

To be a successful intrapreneur takes much more than just creativity or an idea. The successful intrapreneur has to be willing to take real risks at sharing and pushing a unique idea. An intrapreneur has to be willing to go into work focused on a mission and be willing to be fired at any moment in defense of their intrapreneurial objective. Steve Jobs clearly demonstrated that virtue.

Intrapreneurship has been called the “secret weapon for success”. It has been used in high tech firms such as 3M, Anaconda-Ericsson, Apple Computer, AT&T, Corona Data Systems, Data General, DuPont, GE, Genentech, Lockheed, Prime Computer, Sony, Texas Instruments Toyota, and other successful firms!

The term “Intrapreneurship” has become part of the business lexicon for the last thirty years. The TIME and Newsweek articles were both published in 1985. But three years earlier, Howard Edward Haller’s formal academic case study and Master’s Thesis documented the term “intrapreneurship” when he wrote about the Super Mini Computer firm, PR1ME Computer Inc. (1977 to 1980). Haller’s intrapreneurship research was published by the University in 1982 (then later published as Haller’s second book, “Intrapreneurship Success”). The “Intrapreneuring” term was popularized by management consultant Gifford Pinchot III in his book "Intrapreneuring" which was published in 1985.

Over the last three decades both large and small growing companies have experimented with allowing intrapreneurial activity within their organizations. Several successful intrapreneurial ventures come to mind including: Apple’s "Macintosh," PR1ME Computer’s "PR1ME Leasing," 3M’s "Post-It Notes," Sony’s “PlayStation," and the W L Gore’s "Elixir Guitar Sting Line."

Thanks to Steve Jobs and his teams for a wonderful string of innovative products including, but not limited to: Apple Computer, Mac, iTune, iPad, iPhone, iCloud, Pixar and much more. What a Legacy! Thanks, Steve. You will be missed, but not forgotten.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Howard E. Haller, Leading Expert & Thought Leader
on Intrapreneurship & Intrapreneurship Keynote Speaker
Chief Enlightenment Officer
Intrapreneurship Institute

Dr. Howard E. Haller is Founder/CEO of the Intrapreneurship Institute. As a member of NSA, he regular speaks to Corporations, Associations, and Non-Profit Organizations on how to effectively use the innovation and creativity of Intrapreneurship (Corporate Entrepreneurship) within their Organizations. Intrapreneurship has successfully been utilized by corporations, partnerships and non-profit firms in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Intrapreneurship Institute can help evaluate, design, and implement an Intrapreneurship Program within a company to effectively utilize the intellect and creativity of human capital of an organization to help maximize productivity and profits. The Intrapreneurship Institute can provide Keynote Speeches, Executive Briefings, and Workshops on Intrapreneurship plus the benefits and program features of an intrapreneurial program.

Howard E. Haller, Ph.D., is the Leading Expert and Thought Leader on Intrapreneurship, Intrapreneurship Program Design and Creation, Intrapreneurship Program Implementation & Operation, Using Intrapreneurship programs as a strategic tool for Recruiting and Retaining Key Employees, Increasing Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Haller is seasoned senior corporate executive, and published author of two books: "INTRAPRENEURSHIP SUCCESS: A PR1ME EXAMPLE" published by VDM Verlag Dr. Müller AG & CoKG ISBN 978-3-639-17509-7, and is available on Amazon in the US, Canada, UK and Germany. “Intrapreneurship Success” tells the inside full story of how a small OTC listed company grew to be the #1 performing stock on the NYSE in only five years. Dr. Haller is also the author of “Leadership and Adversity: The Shaping of Prominent Leaders.”

Contact Dr. Haller for inspirational Keynote Speeches, Motivational Speeches, Seminars on Intrapreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership, and Servant-Leadership.