Ahead of our Virgin Disruptors event, has been asking each speaker to name their ultimate disruptor. Here’s mine…

It’s impossible to name just one ultimate disruptor (which is why I’ve been stretching mine out with a series of dream dinner parties!) person but if I had to name one, it would be Steve Jobs. He was a truly great businessman, but more than that he was an inspiration to young people, entrepreneurs, inventors, designers, early adopters, budding musicians, and people with disabilities, who through his vision discovered a better way to engage with the world.

So many people drew courage from Steve and related to his life story: college drop-outs, struggling entrepreneurs, ousted business leaders figuring out how to make a difference in the world, and people fighting debilitating illness. We have all been there in some way and can see a bit of ourselves in his personal and professional successes and struggles.

He lived and worked by the message “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life… have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” This is something I wholeheartedly subscribe to.

In Apple’s 1997 “Think Different” marketing campaign, he said: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.” I am proud to say that, in the accompanying montage, he counted me as one of them. I think it’s an attitude that’s shared by all leaders who seek to make a real difference. Even if you have been around for a long time and have learned all the ins and outs of the game, the best way to be disruptive is to forget the rules.


Apple Think Different ad (1997)

Although he was completely different from me – he used to shout at employees that made mistakes and didn’t delegate much – I admired Steve so much. He was innovative, determined and, above all, passionate. He was, at all times, disruptive. Today, more than ever, you’ve got to do something radically different to make a mark. Under Steve’s guidance, Apple became the world’s most successful change-maker brand. [Virgin]