I know that many readers will turn to me to hear about Steve Jobs.
First and most importantly I believe that Steve Jobs is the first American to get the true appreciation for his contributions to business. This is a landmark step forward for America and Americans. The business world has had many great geniuses who have contributed to the cornucopia of our lives. In the past none of them have been appreciated. In fact many such as Rockefeller, Carnegie and Gianni have been demonized.
Secondly, Steve Jobs embodied two of the most visible characteristics of commercial genius and absolutely no credit is given to either of these characteristics. Steve Jobs began his business career as a hippie selling illegal black boxes. The black box was a device to get free long distance phone calls.
True entrepreneurial geniuses begin with (a) the unbridled optimism that was part of the hippie ethic and (b) a distinct sense that consumers are far more important than the 'God damn law'. If they will pay for something you should supply it.
Thirdly Steve was fired by the bureaucrats in his own company and justifiably. True entrepreneurial innovators can start a company but most often not run it. Steve Jobs used his time in the wastelands away from his company to learn management. An open and curious man, willing to learn.
Thank you Steve Jobs. And thank you for the lessons