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Let Us Not Overvalue Our Heroes

I think that Steve Jobs was brilliant.  I think that he was an amazing risk taker, but I also think heroes are overrated. 

I think that he had an amazing company, he had amazing people, and he also made mistakes.  I mean I think deciding that the optical disk was the only way you’re going to be able to pop to your next killed that thing.  And he did that despite a lot of people telling him it was a bad idea.  I think he learned over a long period through failures that he had.  And I think it’s important to listen to and think about Steve Jobs in the context in which the design is important and all that. 

There are a lot of lessons to learn, but it’s also important not to overvalue or overrate heroes.  I think we always look for heroes.  I think it’s really important to have a community.  I think it’s really important to have openness and diversity and I think in general, you know, I think leadership and heroes are overrated.  So that would be my cautionary – and again, at a high level, it’s very easy to say things, but when you try to apply them, it becomes a little bit more complicated. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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