What Do Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg Have in Common?

Apart from the great success achieved by them as entrepreneurs, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have characteristics in common, which they share with other famous entrepreneurs and CEOs as well. By others, we mean Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Andy Grove, Jeff Bezos, and perhaps, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Yes, they are all inspiring people, often scary to work for, and highly demanding, and they have certain distinctive traits that separate them from the rest of us. So what do all great entrepreneurs have in common? Essentially, it is Vision, Passion and Self-Belief – Bill Gates has it, Steve Jobs has it and so does Mark Zuckerberg. And before them, in an earlier era, a certain John D. Rockefeller had it, and so did Andrew Carnegie.

Passion

Entrepreneurs, you must understand are not in it for the money. Yes, money is a motivating factor and it influences their decisions. But entrepreneurs do what they do, because they actually like it. There is no other explanation for working 20 hours a day, taking on extraordinary pressure, risks and challenges, with no guarantees of success, sacrificing sleep and family life.

Entrepreneurs are genuinely passionate about what they do and would rather do nothing else. They are passionate of creating things of great value make a different to people’s lives, solves critical problems and makes things so much better for everyone. And yes, they are in it to make money and achieve material success as well, but that is always secondary.

Vision

Here’s the question – why is Mark Zuckerberg worth $30 billion today and not the Winklevoss twins who sued him for apparently “stealing the idea for Facebook” for them? Why is Steve Jobs recognized as the greatest entrepreneur of his generation, not his friend Steve Wozniak? Why is Bill Gates the world’s richest man and not the man who actually invented the first word processor?

That’s because, the three men – Jobs, Zuckerberg and Gates, had something extremely important – Vision – which the other people did not. This sets them apart. Entrepreneurs have a vision, a vision of the future, which is not available to most other people.

Zuckerberg was advised by many to make Facebook open to anonymous nicks like MySpace, which was a rage during those times. But he did not – Zuckerberg knew that the only way to make social networks achieve mass popularity was to make them safe for families, that’s why he never allowed anonymity on Facebook. No wonder that MySpace is redundant today while Facebook has 1.6 billion members worldwide.

Self-belief

As an entrepreneur there are several people who tell you why you can’t do a certain thing, that you are not good enough, your product is worthless, your idea is impractical and you are destined to fail. Your family will be against you, your parents will want you to get a real job and your friends will mock you as a dreamer. Venture capitalists will refuse to back you, banks won’t lend to you. That’s why you need an iron will as an entrepreneur, so soldier on despite the odds.

The greatest entrepreneurs never had it early when they started out. Larry Ellison had to make hundreds of cold calls before anyone would agree to buy his software. Steve Jobs faced the prospect of taking on the might of IBM, who had vowed to crush him and his personal computer business. Bill Gates was unsure of Microsoft’s fate when the anti-trust proceedings against him were on, in 1999. But they soldiered on, and persevered. And the results are there for all to see. Without self-belief, none of this would have been possible.

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