Entrepreneurship is the art of creating something new, whether a new business or enterprise: Entrepreneurship Assignment, UKM, Malaysia


Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

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Question 1

Entrepreneurship is the art of creating something new, whether a new business or enterprise. It can be done by anyone, regardless of their level of experience or education. Many people think that entrepreneurship is all about starting new businesses, but that’s only one aspect of it. An individual can also be an entrepreneur within an existing organization, by coming up with new ideas and ways of doing things.

Best in your knowledge and experience, what could be the characteristics of someone to be a successful entrepreneur?

Identify five (5) characteristics, elaborate, and support them with examples for every characteristic.

Question 2

Steve Jobs Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc. has led the company’s pioneer revolution across the technological domain with masterpieces like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955.

Jobs’ very first interaction with the computer terminal was on his visit to Ames Center with his father, and his interest got further developed during his father’s relocation to the Lockheed Missiles and Space Division. As Jobs grew up within the boundaries of Silicon Valley USA, his desire for being a part of this world was further augmented. Having so many electronic guys around, he also started making attempts i.e., amplifying sound without an amplifier and proving his father wrong (Jobs, 2011; Isaacson, 2011). This event made Jobs realize that he was smarter than his parents.

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Later, in McCollum’s class, Steve Jobs’ friendship with Steve Wozniak led to the development of a Blue Box, an analog tone generator. Eventually, it was the first successful entrepreneurial attempt Jobs, i.e., serving the market with a $40 Blue Box for $150. Jobs learned to work in partnership with this Blue Box adventure, and also reflected his wilfulness by leaving his parents to get married. Finally, Jobs started a business with Wozniak, naming it Apple Computers which was inspired by his own fruitarian diet.

Jobs’ business drive and his partner’s engineering expertise then incessantly fuelled the success of Apple as a recognized corporation since April 1976 (Isaacson, 2011). Hence, the current success of Apple Inc. is the outcome of jobs’ vision, even though he had to quit once in 1985 (due to power clashes). Jobs did not quit, and started another venture NeXT, and also invested in Pixar Animation Studios. Finally, with $400 million in sales of NeXT, Jobs joined back in 1997 as Apple’s interim CEO.

Jack Ma, being among the world’s richest men, Jack Ma has not forgotten what this world had offered him in his early life period. Growing up in a poor community, failing multiple times at his primary level, 2 consecutive failed attempts at the university entrance exam, and dozens of rejections from jobs, even by KFC when it first entered China, all these experiences of failure could not resist him in being the world’s richest man as the co-founder of Alibaba.

He used to be quite aggressive to defend himself against being bullied. His very first working experience was his service offered as a tour guide to the visitors coming to his hometown, and his intentions were not to earn money but to learn English. In this way, he got his name Jack, and his eagerness for education was fuelled by this working experience. Followed by 2 failed attempts at entering the university, he then graduated in 1988 and strived to get a corporate job. However, the continuous rejections led him to become an English teacher at a local university.

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Based on his knowledge of English, he started his translation business, which made him visit the US in 1995 for facilitating the payment recovery of a Chinese firm (Rockefeller, 2016). It was the time when he interacted with the internet on a computer, and searched online for beer. The search results instantly made him realize the need for an internet company in China since there were no results for beers from China. Ma experienced failure in his initial attempts in this regard, but it took him 4 more years to convince the investors of his vision of an online business that was named Alibaba.

Hence, it was Ma’s determination that led to further investments of $ 5 million and $ 20 million, respectively from Goldman Sachs and SoftBank in October 1999 (Clark, 2016). The team then strengthened its vision to never give up. Ma has been creative, energetic, and fun-loving throughout the journey, like the way he served team engagement for the creation of Taobao in competition with eBay. Finally, by 2005, Alibaba got another investment of $1 billion from Yahoo (Olson, 2014).

Followed by his stepping down from CEO’s post in 2013, Ma’s assistance was still there as an executive chairman, and the company was public in September 2014. With Ma’s great strategic leadership, Alibaba has successfully achieved its vision i.e., earning people’s trust rather than money, on the basis of Ma’s vision of making things possible with consistent attempts (Lee and Song 2016; Clark, 2016; Rockefeller 2016).

Steve Jobs and Jack Ma have a lot in common. Both are drop-outs, Steve Jobs left college and spent some time collecting trash cans for money, while Jack Ma failed the university entrance exam twice and most of his job applications were rejected.

It is true Jobs sometimes failed; he was thrown out of Apple to which he came back 12 years later. But this failure is not ordinary men’s failure: it is an epic failure. After becoming a multi-millionaire at 25, he lost the company he had built, only to later bring it back to its former glory and build Pixar on the way.

Jack Ma’s failures were of a different kind. They were failures as we know them: failure to pass exams, failure to get jobs, and failure to successfully launch a business. His path appears a bit less heroic as it lacks all the bumps of Steve Jobs’ story. But it is incredibly inspiring because what differentiates Jack Ma from most Western or local entrepreneurs was his ability to brush- off failure. Maybe because of his experience as a teacher, he knew that he was learning as he failed, and he learned his way to success.

  • Based on the case study above, identify five (5) characteristics shown by these two successful entrepreneurs and explain accordingly.
  • What could be the “push factor” and “pull factor” for both Steve Jobs and Jack Ma to become very successful entrepreneurs in the current business world?

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