Scientists, scholars and academics have yet to define genius, yet the concept is rightly applied to those exceptional individuals who, through their art, their science or their enterprise, create unique changes in our thinking, or our broader-world.
Genius carries a certain mystical quality, distancing it from even that which we call exceptional. Those to who the term is applied are often seen as outliers, perhaps even crazy- but their minds have created the structures, technologies, treatments, cultural artefacts and concepts that we take for granted as being our world. Another way to understand their importance would be to imagine a world in which they hadn’t existed. What if Franklin and Faraday had never pondered electricity, Edison had never conceived the light bulb or Fleming had never realised the benefit of mould as the antibiotic we now call Penicillin?
From Gates to Jobs, Ellison to Bezos and Zuckerberg to Musk; our modern world is littered with individuals rightly described as exhibiting genius, who have created hundreds of millions of jobs between them, and contributed more to the story of global growth than perhaps any other such-cohort in history.
One man, Doug Menuez, was lucky enough to have a front-seat to some of these stories. He is an award winning photographer who has photographed at the North Pole, crossed the Sahara and explored the Amazon. His subjects have included the Ethiopian famine, the Olympics, and the AIDS crisis. He covered five Super Bowls, five World Series and the 1984 Olympics. Menuez gained exclusive, unprecedented access to record the rise of Silicon Valley from 1985-2000 and documented the private daily lives of its most brilliant innovators, including three years with Steve Jobs, as well as covering Bill Gates, John Warnock, Carol Bartz, Andy Grove, John Sculley, Bill Joy, and John Doerr during an era when more jobs and wealth were created than at any time in human history. He published this stories, and his amazing photographs in his 2014 book, “Fearless Genius.”
To learn more about the true nature of genius, I spoke to Doug about this incredible journey. Continue reading