3 Reasons Why Ashton Kutcher is the Right Person to Play Steve Jobs

I see a Steve Job’s quote every day I walk I into the office, and it’s no surprise that Job’s is still an inspiration to many. I am a huge fan of the entrepreneurial journey and the stories of how great companies were founded, but more specifically who the people were behind the company.

I was very excited to hear there was going to be a movie on one of the most iconic entrepreneurs of our time. However, when I heard Ashton Kutcher was casted to play Steve Jobs in the movie Jobs, I wasn’t quite sure what to think.

The only time I have ever really seen Kutcher acting was in That 70’s Show, so it was difficult for me to picture him taking the role of such a complex character.

Gizmodo seemed to agree with their list of actors they would rather see play Steve Jobs than Ashton Kutcher.

I started looking further when I got a Quora email with a question that was getting a lot of buzz, “Why did Ashton Kutcher decide to play Steve Jobs in the upcoming movie Jobs?”

I was happy to see Kutcher himself had the top answer and admitted, “Choosing to take this role was very difficult.” Feel free to check out his full answer, but there were a few things that really stuck out for me.

1. Ashton Kutcher really cares about the role, his dedication landed him in the hospital.

I care. As I read the script I had a knot in my stomach. I imagined actors playing the role and not connecting to the love that went into some of the seemingly irrational decisions that Steve sometimes made. If this film becomes an enduring memory, of a man I admire, I wanted to ensure that it was portrayed by someone who cared about his legacy and took the time to represent him in a way that people who were close to Steve felt to be authentic.

He gave his answer in four parts, but this showed me actually did genuinely cared about the role. It looks like others agree. Harry McCracken of Time was invited to an early screening of the movie and wrote that Kutcher is a convincing Steve Jobs in the film:

Here’s the best news about Jobs: Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs turns out not to have been stunt casting. He’s good. Maybe as good as anyone could be in a role that’s awesomely challenging given both the complexity of the character and the familiarity of his appearance, voice and general demeanor.

Some things Kutcher did to prepare for the role:

  1. Studied for the role by creating a massive SoundCloud archive of Jobs audio and listed to it as he fell asleep at night.
  2. Ended up in the hospital with pancreas problems after following Job’s strict diet of fruit, nuts, and seeds. Jobs who was often reported to be a fruitarian, died of pancreatic cancer.
  3. Spent hundreds of hours studying tapes of Jobs in an effort to accurately replicate his hunched walk and mannerisms
  4. Met with many icons of the tech world to get first hand accounts of Jobs
I have not seen the movie yet but I can appreciate all the conscious efforts he has already made in order to capture his character.

2. He is an active investor and advisor in the tech community, many companies which you have definitely heard of.

Kutcher’s Angel List page reveals all the companies he has invested in, just to name a few:

  1. Skype
  2. Chegg
  3. Square
  4. Flipboard
  5. Optimizely
  6. Airbnb
  7. Fab
  8. fouresquare

3. He did it for the growth of the startup community and has some advice to share.

 I loved what the film stands for. I think with the state of the global economy inspiring young people to build things is vital. I wanted to remind entrepreneurs that Steve Jobs wasn’t always “Steve Jobs”, that he struggled, that he failed, and that he rigorously persevered to build something great to improve other people’s lives.

As an advocate for mentorship I always support any initiatives that serve as reminders for young entrepreneurs to try things they may never have done before. In a Q+A session at the movie’s premiere at Sundance,  Kutcher revealed a few lessons he had learned for himself.

Kutcher asked Dave Morin, the founder of Path and used to work with Jobs at Apple, “What was the most powerful thing he has ever said to you?”

There is no virtue in saying no to the things that are easy to say no to.

This made Kutcher think a little and really gave him an intimate look into “Steve’s ability to focus on a goal, and drive that goal and drive that vision made me think about my life in a different way” and how this impacted his own perspective on his own life and what he wanted to accomplish.

We are faced with making decisions every single day that can impact the trajectory of our lives and our own startups. There are times when we have to say no to the things around us in order to avoid distractions and drown out the noise from getting things done.

When you grow up, you tend to think that the world is there and you are just going to live in it but when you drop that erroneous notion, you realize that everything around you is made up by people that are no smarter than you and you can change it and you can influence it.

Kutcher jokes that Jobs can say that since he’s a really smart guy, but it serves as a reminder to people that you can in fact do it and you can accomplish it. For most people it’s about making the decision to take the next step  and figuring out what you have to do in order to make your dream or idea into a reality.

His compassion for the people he was building something for.

Steve jobs had a desire to create something for other people that they could appreciate, and focused on doing that really really well, which Kutcher claims is what validated Jobs as a person.

These days, many concepts or startups are started because they think of a cool feature that they think people would be interested in or because they just want to make a lot of money.

Unfortunately, those going in with this mindset usually end up failing because they are forgetting the big picture and why technology is growing at such an alarming rate, you are solving a problem. 

Every single thing that you use over the course of the day, whether your phone or your laptop is a solution to a problem. It fulfills your need to connect with others or in some cases gives you the ability to make a living.

Kutcher and Jobs remind us to:

Create something that you can share with people, that move people, that changes them, and creates a better life for them.

What do you think of Kutcher’s role? What are some things about Jobs that inspires you?

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