Being a frequent reader of a number of enterprise blogs, websites and magazines I am often inundated by all nuggets of advice on how to build a successful company. The vast majority of these offer genuine sound advice that I attempt to apply. However recently one particular factor has really been prominent and has got me thinking at length.
After attending the Silicon Valley comes to UK conference in London last November I came away energised. All of these amazingly successful entrepreneurs, had some amazing stories and great advice but I soon realised there was a common undertone to all of their stories. These people ate, slept, drank and constantly thought about their business and how to improve it. In other words they were insanely passionate about what they did! It wasn't about the money or the ego but about passion! A passion to build something simply amazing!
One month after the Silicon Valley event I found my self browsing the apple app store looking for a quality read to entertain me for a 3-hour flight. In a whim I downloaded a sample of the Steve Jobs Biography. 30 pages in I was hooked!
As you probably know, Steve Jobs was extremely successful, wealthy, and considered one of the most important visionaries of our generation. However what you may not know was that many people considered him cold, ruthless, harsh and hard to deal with.
These qualities could quite easily be misconstrued as the symptoms of somebody who had let their success get to their head. Browsing through a number of online blogs and forums it really does appear that Jobs courted this marmite type of love, hate following due to his views and actions.
However I find my self believing that these were not character traits displayed by a man wanting money, fame or recognition but instead the character traits displayed by an extremely driven man. A man so passionate about what he did that he was willing to put his beliefs and passion for his values and products above any thing else! The results of this approach speak for them selves.
Jobs never graduated from college. He never worked for some massive multinational on a graduate programme. He had never even started a business prior to apple. But he did have complete focus and passion on his quest to change the world of technology for the better and he succeeded.
So when investigating and researching your first start up or fortieth start up its probably worth taking note of some of the visionaries of our generation and deciding how truly passionate you are to make a difference.
Editor Note: Andrew is currently studying a Masters of Enterprise at Manchester Business School. He is also Vice President of Manchester Entrepreneurs and founder of Urban Student Fashion Label, PieBoy (http://www.pieboyclothing.co.uk). He will be continuing his enterprise journey with Entrepreneur First later this year after being selected as part of the programmes first cohort. Follow him on Twitter: adajervis