Each success story results from blood, sweat and tears. However, it’s the blood, sweat and tears part that is most often left out, which makes the success story itself sound like a no brainer. And this is just not right.

Making mistakes and learning from them is just as important as success itself. Without failure no success would ever have been possible. Here are some more or less spectacular flops by the legendary Steve Jobs himself.

Check out: Five of Steve Jobs’s Biggest Mistakes




  • disservice – a harmful action
  • latch onto something – take up (an idea or trend) enthusiastically
  • shoestring budget – a small or inadequate budget
  • foresight – the ability to predict or the action of predicting what will happen or be needed in the future
  • bait – food used to entice fish or other animals as prey; a thing intended to tempt or entice
  • unfold – develop, evolve, happen
  • screw up – completely mismanage or mishandle a situation
  • defunct – no longer existing or functioning
  • break even – reach a point in a business venture when the profits are equal to the costs
  • luminary – a person who inspires or influences others, esp. one prominent in a particular

Think about it

Based on the text answer the following questions. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • Is willingness to make mistakes an entrepreneurial feature? Why so?
  • Who wanted to oust Steve Jobs from Apple?
  • How long did it take Jobs to start encouraging Pixar cofounders to realize their dream of making a full-length digitally animated movie?
  • How many people were in Apple’s market research group. What were their names?
  • What state of mind is “disempowering” according to the author?

Practice makes perfect

In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • It’s greatly injurious to everyone, especially young people, that the stories that we often hear about the most accomplished entrepreneurs sound so uncomplicated.
  • Wendy Kopp started Teach for America, initially as a conference, with limited financial means after graduating from college.
  • As Schultz admits, he and his colleagues had to make “a lot of mistakes” to discover what would become the Starbucks we know today.
  • Not even a visionary like Steve Jobs could foresee what happened at Pixar [. . .]
  • Jobs tried on numerous occasions to sell the company, just to break even on his investment, which ultimately equaled about $50 million

Form the opposites

service – ________

perfect – ________

fold – ________

perfection – ________

empower – ________


Put the words in bold back where they belong. 

lured, operating, board, hiring, pitch, bait

Feeling that he needed an experienced ________ and marketing partner, the then 29-year-old Jobs ________ Sculley to Apple with the now legendary ________: “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?” Sculley took the ________ and within two years, Sculley had organized a ________ campaign to fire Jobs. Jobs himself would surely consider ________ Sculley as a great mistake.


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