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November 15, 2009 / TildeWill

Visionary, or Facist?

1847-1931: Thomas Edison
1901-1966: Walt Disney
1955-Present: Steve Jobs

These men in my mind were all the same. Men who had a great idea, which they implemented on their own steam. That idea then gave them the financial resources to hire nameless practitioners to implement every far-reaching idea they had.

Edison makes the light bulb, a tedious process of trail and error. He then created a research lab, where thousands of patents were filed in his name. Disney brought sound to cartoons, and soon found himself with Imagineers, people who would help him later build Disney Land and Disney World, creating animated masterpieces previously thought to be unprofitable. Then we have Steve Jobs, visionary of Apple, who brought us crazy things like a home computer and a mouse in the face of “the public has no use for computers and who needs anything besides a keyboard anyway?” I hear talk of the “wrath” of Jobs and how easily one can find himself fired at Apple.

I am not agreeing, or disagreeing with the methods of these men. What is interesting to me is the pattern. I also submit that the world only has room for one of these such men at a time. Men who braved a gamble because they knew in their gut the world wanted what they could pluck from dreams and turn into reality. Men who then took that reality, and made a factory out of ideas. Men who created an industry that wasn’t there before.

At times, I want to be one of those men. A man who knows what it is that the world lacks so desperately. But I do not think I have the constitution it takes to know in my gut that I should press on with a thing that sounds ridiculous until it becomes common place.

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