Jobs’ failures helped pave the way for his successes

The latest TIME reminds us that Steve Jobs was able to become a great success after he switched gears from his economic failures:

We forget now how early and how spectacularly Jobs succeeded–when Apple went public in 1980, Jobs netted $256 million–and also how thoroughly he failed. After the Apple II in 1977, he essentially went 18 years without shipping a successful product; even the revolutionary Macintosh was a money loser, rapidly annihilated by Windows. It was Buzz Lightyear who saved Jobs’ career: after eating money for a decade, Pixar finally produced Toy Story in 1995. It took in $30 million on its first weekend, and a week later Pixar went public. Jobs’ shares were worth $1.2 billion.

We shouldn’t forget the importance of “loss” in the system of profit and loss. Imagine how much poorer we would be today if Steve Jobs had decided during that 18-year “wilderness period” to focus on securing never-ending government grants instead of developing a better product in the private sector.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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