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Whilst the time periods in which Vincent van Gogh and Steve Jobs lived obviously vary, both men, I would claim, were in their own right devoted and passionate entrepreneurs, even though commercial success in life eluded the one but befell the other.
In their own ways, van Gogh and Jobs broke new ground in art and design, and both also vigorously pursued a new vision and new ways of doing things. With the benefit of hindsight we can also see that both created new movements and markets that blended commerce with art and that formed and shaped the worlds of modern art and consumer electronics as we know it today.
There is in other words sufficient common ground between Van Gogh and Jobs to draw comparisons between these subjects. I will do so in this talk by reviewing and reflecting on biographies of their lives. It is fair to say that both individuals present somewhat extreme entrepreneurial cases in terms of the profound change that they brought about. But, as extreme cases, the accounts of their lives are at the same time generative and put some important insights about the entrepreneurial process in better relief.
Joep Cornelissen, VU University Amsterdam and University of Leeds
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