Last week, it was revealed that Ashton Kutcher would play Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs in an upcoming movie about the technology genius’ life. The announcement left us wondering: Which black trailblazer has what it takes to pick up where Jobs left off? Who is innovative enough to step up and match Jobs’ unabashed passion for design and creativity, and has a grasp on his/her target audience and one-of-a kind marketing tactics like the late visionary? BlackEnterprise.com takes a look at 10 innovators that have what it takes to be the next Steve Jobs. –Winston Ford
Though he might not own a company…yet, Baratunde Thurston’s name has been on the lips of numerous tech enthusiasts, especially after his keynote address at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive conference. Can his use of humor as a democratic tool spur a worldwide revolution? Only time will tell.
Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, rapper, record executive, entrepreneur and producer
Just like Steve Jobs changed music with the creation of the iPod, Dr. Dre has changed the way we listen to music by lending his name to a line of upscale headphones, “Beats by Dr. Dre” by Monster Cable. The Beats co-founder closed on a $300 million investment by Taiwanese phone maker HTC, and the brand’s technology has expanded to mobile phones and PCs. Rumors are swirling about a possible acquisition of music subscription service MOG.
Ory Okolloh, Policy Manager, Africa for Google and co-founder of Mzalendo.com and Ushahidi.com
With an increasing number of top Fortune 500 companies originating from emerging markets, many analysts believe that the next tech leader will come from Africa. Harvard educated Ory Okolloh has created both the watchdog site Mzalendo and the crime reporting site Ushahidi, and now serves as Google’s Policy Manager in Africa. Recognized as one of Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology last year, she is set to become the new face of entrepreneurship on the continent.
After conquering music, and now advertising, could the tech sector be next for Steve Stoute? As an admirer of Jobs (as mentioned in his book The Tanning of America) and a person who isn’t shy about entering new and emerging markets, the seasoned entrepreneur and executive would be a natural fit to fill Jobs’ shoes—or, better yet, a flashy pair of kicks.
Joel Williams, Jr., founder of CoTrac Company
In Steve Jobs’ biography, he details his early start in the tech space. This Black Enterprise Teenpreneur is following in the innovator’s footsteps. Creating the Smart Button at age 11, the Texas-based entrepreneur has already set up a manufacturing base in China and gained the respect of those in the footwear industry. Not bad for a pre-college teen!