My hero, in many ways, is Steve Jobs.
If you look at his trajectory, his life has the classic ancient greek hero trajectory. He was adopted. He dropped out of college. When he co-founded Apple in the late 70s, he was the toast of the tech world, but ultimately Bill Gates ate Jobs' lunch with the MS DOS. Then Jobs started Macintosh, the most modern computer to date. You can see Job's passion in Apple's famous ad in 1983 on the Macintosh launch. But, once again, Gates did Windows for PC and, yet again, ate Jobs' lunch.
Jobs was then let go from Apple, and sent into the wilderness. You would think that he would hang it up at that point. Two big failures in 10 years against the same nemesis?
Instead, Jobs then started Next Computers, a next generation computer and operating system ("OS"). But that wasn't enough, so he started a digital animation company, Pixar. Then Jobs came back to Apple when it was in shambles, and Next was merged with Apple; the Next OS became the predecessor OS to the new Mac OS, under Jobs leadership. On the brink, Jobs negotiated a $250M investment from, of all companies, Microsoft; reportedly, Gates needed to be able to point to some competition to fend off anti-trust claims. Meanwhile Jobs still ran Pixar, which ultimately was sold to Disney for billions, and he refocused on Apple.
Jobs had a few misfires at Apple, but he always came back, with innovations including the ipod, iphone, the iPad; he's out innovated even Microsoft. Apple is now the most valuable tech company in the world, higher than Microsoft, which arguably hasn't innovated in a decade. Jobs is like the Terminator of entrepreneurial struggle. As he battled illness, it's obvious he went to greater lengths than most do, to not to fail there as well.
While Jobs is often known for his product savvy and his managerial style, I think about him as the entrepreneur that bounces back, bigger and badder than ever. It's not just about "getting back up when you are knocked down"; its feeding on the failure and turning a negative experience into a positive.
That's why SteveJ is my hero.