Original question from Quora:

Why was Steve Jobs so much richer than Steve Wozniak even though they founded Apple together?

My Answer:

Jobs and Wozniak made very different choices and had very different goals, thus they had very different outcomes. One of the biggest differences is the amount of money they had, but here is the thing…

They both did largely what they wanted to do and that demonstrates a key difference between the two.

Wozniak is a builder. He invents and does very interesting stuff. That is incredibly valuable, but the problem with being an inventor as it relates to getting rich is many inventors rely on businessmen to market their inventions at a profit.

Jobs was more of the entrepreneur who would take ideas and inventions, add something to make them marketable, and would go out and sell them to the market.

When you consider where money is generated in the world, it makes complete sense in why Jobs ended up richer. Money is not generated by pure invention.

Imagine that you invented the hammer. You have enough materials to make a few hammers for yourself and maybe your friends. That’s great, but without means to buy more materials you can’t make very many more, so you need to acquire those means through a trade, or a series of trades. However your resources to build hammers and ability to sell them is limited to your small sphere of influence.

After all, you’re an inventor.

But, if someone came along with more resources and a larger sphere of influence, they could make and sell more hammers, thus unlocking more value from the invention.

Woz’s invention of the Apple computer was brilliant. But, it took Jobs’ ability to manufacture and sell Apple computers that unlocked the value of that invention.

You cant have one without the other, clearly. Yet, their value is not equal in any way as it relates to money and wealth.

You see, both need each other, but the ability to unlock the value from an invention carries with it a higher dollar value in many cases for one very obvious reason…

People who are good at unlocking value are the ones most likely to capture it because that is their skill.

The business people are good at making money because they practice it.

The inventors are good at inventing because they practice it.

Together both make lots of money, but it will never be an equal amount of money because they aren’t putting effort into money equally. In the same way, they don’t end up with an equal amount of inventiveness.

Jobs would never be able to invent like Wozniak and Wozniak would never be able to make money like Jobs.

Those are two completely different skill sets.

So really the question you are asking is why did Babe Ruth hit more home runs than Michael Jordan if both played baseball and were world class athletes? Babe Ruth was great at hitting home runs, but never really played basketball. Michael Jordan was a pretty good baseball player, but he spent most of his life shooting a basketball.

Their achievements were different because their goals were different.

If you pay any attention to Woz and Jobs, the difference in what they wanted to achieve was completely different. Yet, both men largely achieved what they set out to do. Woz is a great inventor, Jobs a great businessman.

Both succeeded in their chosen ambitions. It’s just that one ambition is measured in wealth, and the other isn’t.


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