The Inventor

Who Invents?

Who should get the credit for the Invention?

When does the Invention occur?

How does the Invention happen?

What is Invention?

As they walked along the shore, two very competitive guys: both “filthy rich” by anyone’s standard, both had disrupted established giant corporations, and created their own companies, changing the world significantly.

He pulled him close such that they went nose to nose

“Larry, this is why it’s really important that I’m your friend.  You don’t need any more money.”

Both were kind of inventors, but they were different in Temperament, and completely different goals in life.  Larry is a Promoter Artisan and he keeps score by money: his interest was in winning.  He loved the fact that he used IBM’s own research to beat them in database software, making himself fabulously wealthy.

For Steve, he was competitive in a completely different way. It wasn’t about the money or the winning.  Rather, it was about his legacy: his company.

He hadn’t changed his passion. Long ago, he had seen a way to start making cool things, inventions, that were useful, that he wanted to use — like he had started several decades before with another friend, the Woz.

Woz was completely different from Steve too, just as Larry Ellison was, but they where the same Temperament.  They, Steve Jobs and, were both hot dating site, but still they had different ways of inventing, and it took the two together to invent the Apple Computer Corporation:  now just plain, bigger than Microsoft and bigger than IBM, bigger than Larry’s map based hook up.

Steve Jobs explains some of the early history of Apple Computer

Nikola Tesla was most important inventor in the last century, but his competitor, Thomas Edison was more prolific in the number of patents because he industrialize invention.  The modern inventors of digital products are more like the latter kind of inventor, because the devices are very complex and no one person can make the invention of these products alone.

Steve Wozniak is more of “engineering” inventor, like Tesla.  Jobs was more on the Edison mold.  However, Genius is as Genius does.  Steve Jobs was able to take ideas on how to do things, models, and other inventors, like the Woz, to make a complicated invention: to create a complete product that others wanted, and would pay for.

Moreover, he began to want more.

He wanted an innovative company.  A company which reinvented itself.  A company that would last after his death.

Strategic Collaborators [Inventor Rationals] will get results. It’s imperative that they do; they must get results; they have to get resultsthey are compelled by their very nature to do so. If what they do doesn’t get results, then they adapt their ways and means, and continue doing so until they do achieve intended results. Thus they will adapt their usage of words and tools in whatever way necessary to get the results they want. And, this pragmatic approach to operations continues, no matter how long it takes to get results. For Modelers [Inventor Rationals], as with other Rationals, it is a matter of willpower. [Personology, page 297]

Steve Jobs had willpower.  Steve Jobs became obsessed; he was a perfectionist.  He was a master of integrating art with technology.  He was best at Functional Design.

“It can’t be done” is a challenge to a Modeler  that elicits an automatic “It can be done!” There is often an astonishing persistence that shows up when in structuring some tool the Modeler will continue to fiddle with some obstacle until, low and behold, he goes around it and proceeds blithely to build his tool. Then comes the “blue sky heuristic,” that strange method of going off in another direction, sometimes directly away from the goal, to stumble upon a way of getting around, over, or underneath the obstacle. Modelers, it would seem, avail themselves of this approach far more than the other Rationals.”  [Personology pages 298-299].

With their innovative, entrepreneurial spirit, Inventors are always on the lookout for a better way, always eyeing new projects, new enterprises, new processes. Always aiming to “build a better mousetrap.”   Inventors are keenly pragmatic, and often become expert at devising the most effective means to accomplish their ends. They are the most reluctant of all the types to do things in a particular manner just because that’s the way they have been done. As a result, they often bring fresh, new approaches to their work and play. They are intensely curious and continuously probe for possibilities, especially when trying to solve complex problems. Inventors are filled with ideas, but value ideas only when they make possible actions and objects. Thus they see product design not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end, as a way of devising the prototype that works and that can be brought to market. Inventors are confident in their pragmatism, counting on their ability to find effective ways and means when they need them, rather than making a detailed blueprint in advance. A rough idea is all they need to feel ready to proceed into action. [Please Understand Me II]

The Master of Innovation

The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs. This is the difficult task of the inventor who is often misunderstood and unrewarded. But he finds ample compensation in the pleasing exercises of his powers and in the knowledge of being one of that exceptionally privileged class without whom the race would have long ago perished in the bitter struggle against pitiless elements. . . .  Nicola Tesla

Quote1.pngIt’s not about charisma and personality, it’s about results and products and those very bedrock things that are why people at Apple and outside of Apple are getting more excited about the company and what Apple stands for and what its potential is to contribute to the industry.Quote2.png — Steve Jobs

24 thoughts on “The Inventor”

    1. Yes it is difficult sometimes, that’s why Keirsey Temperament is better than Myers-Briggs, because in Myers’ scheme there is very little difference. If you observe an individual over a lifetime, it becomes easier. Again, does the individual prefer the abstract over the concrete, or visa versa. Consider the whole.

  1. A question please David. Is there any tie between temperament and intelligence level as measured by some sort of IQ test?

    1. The “tie” is complicated. I don’t have enough room or time to explain it in detail. Of course, IQ tests are deeply flawed. I recommend reading my father’s take on Intelligence
      Essentially pencil and paper IQ tests favor Rational and Idealist (abstract) natural talents, but the bias is small. IQ tests favor the verbal and the educated, which is not particularly correlated to “Intelligence” as commonly used by people.

    1. You’ve got to be kidding! Even in Myers terms, Ellison is an ESTP. Keirsey’s Promoter Artisans highly correlate with Myers’ ESTPs. I have looked at Ellison, closely — and have known about and observed him for over three decades. The website you cite is, please excuse my French, — crap.

      1. Thank you for the response. Its interesting to hear your opinion.

        Here is my understanding of the matter:
        – If you determine type on the basis of functional roles, doesn’t that lead to circular reasoning, e.g. “he is an inventor because he invents things, and he invents things because he is an inventor”?

        I’m glad that we all agree that he is at least an ES-P and not, say, an NT. That’s already a far strech of road that we’ve travelled together.

        Now let’s look at Ellison. Two questions:

        – Would you agree with the statement that while ESTP and ESFP both like to be the center of attention, ESFP are more likely to promote themselves _as a person_ while ESTP are more likely to promote the matter in itself?

        – Would you agree that Ellison has a tendency to promote himself as a person more than, say, Churchill or T. Roosevelt, who were promoting the matter for longer stretches of time than does Ellison, before speaking of themselves directly.

        ESTP: Promotes cause first, then themselves as a person.
        ESFP: Promotes themselves as a person first, then the cause.

        Am I wrong?

        I would be interested to hear your take on this.

      2. Ok, Dr. Keirsey.

        I have a question which I hope you can answer. I have followed both you and for some years and it appears to me that both of you guys are making concessions to each other, e.g. they once had Bill Clinton as ENFP and now they have him as ESFP, yet on the other hand, looking at it appears that you guys have also changed some of your typings to be in accordance with results that they had posted before you, e.g. Trotsky used to be ENFP on your site.

        So the website can’t be bad, can it?

        1. Actually, Trotsky and Tolstoy are incorrectly switched on the (apparently on the last revamping of the website), I have been meaning to tell them to fix that. Thanks for the nudge. But you know Architect Rationals are bad at Logistics. (Trotsky is a Champion Idealist, Leo Tolstoy is a Teacher Idealist.)  I haven’t looked at your website, for a long time, but I doubt they changed much.  I assume they are still worse than random.

  2. Ok, thanks for the response. So what do you make of Trotsky’s own quote that: “My life was rather full of ‘adventures.’ However, by natural inclination, I have nothing in common with seekers after adventure. … I like and appreciate discipline and system.” ?

    1. It has been awhile since I read his Autobiography “My Life” — obvious from the quote he is no Artisan, but yes Trotsky had many things in common with a Teacher Idealist, like Tolstoy (that is why sometimes I need to pause and think about the difference), both being Expressive Idealists.   Also remember it was a different time, different places — Trotsky was a Russian, a half a generation younger than my grandfather, and if you don’t know much about the Russian culture and history, you are missing context.I think Trotsky’s autobiography is very good in understanding him, and you get some interesting history to boot.  It is rather long for most moderns, including me, but I recommend it. ——– Original Message ——– Subject: [Please Understand Me] Comment: “The Inventor” From: “” <>

  3. Hmm. If your hostility towards them is merited, its certainly not on the basis of information that is avaliable to the public. For example, they’ve been saying that Jack Welch was an ENTJ for the longest and I remember searching for your opinion without finding anything until recently. Incidentally, also says ENTJ.

    How many people are involved in typing people besides you and your father (or is he entirely retired by now?). This Derek Keirsey, is he a brother of yours?

  4. Hello Dr. Keirsey, I am honored to talk to you–I bought your first Please Understand me book in 1985 and have studied it with vigor ever since finding out I was an INFJ–your portrait in the book changed my life for the better. Now my son is an ENTP and an amazing inventor, creative entreprenuer-to-be but at 25 and struggling working for a large corporation in the corporate world he is convinced he must have ADD and wants to take medication so he can get focused and get more tasks done. I know he is just a brilliant absent-minded professor and will be fine when he starts his own company etc. I would love to know your opinion on ADD and temperament type and any advice for my son. Thank you! 😀

      1. Thanks for setting me straight and thanks for the link!! Nice to meet you, David Mark, son of the psychologist. 🙂 As an INTP in the IT industry can you relate to my son’s dilemma at all? Procrastination is the worst for him…

  5. Roxanne Elaine: Is your son scatterbrain, or does he also have overly pronounced highs and lows? I agree with David Mark that a lot of the ADD diagnosises are misapplied, never the less, I’ve seen myself the difference when people _in their adult years_ are going through such symptoms, have exhausted every other alternative, and yet still can’t lead a normal life. Such people can indeed stand to gain from certain medications, often resembling amphetamine. When I last read up on the field, around 2010, the thesis was that such people’s brains are wired for constant arousal and so giving them a stimulant, like a mild amphetamine, will provide that arousal and allow them these people to be more coherent, and to take more adult responsiblities upon themselves.

    However, it is very important to note that what I said above applies ONLY to adults and ONLY to people who have exhausted ever other viable alternative.

    An obvious thing to try out would be non-relgious meditation. Many people think its just for hippies, or its “magic” somehow, but there have been many serious studies, done by M.D.s and published by MIT showing all kinds of beneficial health effects of meditation, not least cognitive ones.

    One final thing: Being scatterbrained and sweating the small stuff is entirely normal for an ENTP. Being Ne-dominant, their inferior function is Si, which pertains to exactly the small stuff.

    Keirsey: Did you see my question? How many people are involved in the typings of famous people at Is it you entirely? Or a consortium of sorts, and if so, who are they?

    1. Thank you Hank Johnson. This response was quite helpful. I would not call him scatterbrained, and to me the high’s and low’s seem situational– work stress related. But he has very high expectations of himself–so yeah he sweats the small stuff. Ironically, just yesterday he texted me that he has started meditating, running and met with an ADD coach. So it’s all good news. I have read the warnings about the drugs being amphetemines and that was my concern, but you really helped me to realize that if it comes to that, after all other means have been tried, it could actually help him. He is not the type that would abuse it and he is concerned about the warnings too. Hopefully now it will not come to that. Thanks again, Hank 🙂

      1. The problem with putting chemicals into the system is habituation. Stimulants (like coffee), help individuals to focus for awhile, but the brain produces less natural neurotransmitters as it adapts. I suspect mild addiction is ok, as long as the individual feels good about him/herself. Getting off the pills or the coffee is the problem. Often the cure is worse than the initial symptoms (“problem”).

        1. Thank you so much for your reply. Regarding habituation–I am aware of this and this is my main concern and his. He does abuse caffeine (coffee) when he is under the worst stress but I see him avoiding coffee on days off to rebalance. I wonder with a mild amphetamine if the withdrawal is worse than coffee withdrawal. I myself had to stop coffee altogether and endured severe fatigue and flu-like symptoms for 9 days to be “free”. I wonder if these drugs have an even stronger withdrawal but is doable to be free again if you use these drugs temporarily–he talks of using it for a year or so until he can get on top of his career goals. Also I am concerned of course about permanent changes to the brain–one study I read said the drugs cut off the connection to emotions like getting a lobotomy which is of course terrifying. Any opinions about this?

    2. Typing on is entirely my decision and my research, for whatever that is worth. My father is not involved. Derek is my son. When I very briefly looked at Celebrity types a couple of years ago, I concluded they had not done any serious research, and they may have used Jung and Myers concepts (frankly, I don’t remember much except I thought what I saw was mostly silly). Keirsey Temperament correlates with Myers-Briggs letters, but they aren’t the same. We don’t traffic in Jungian terminology.

      1. Thank you for this reply. That was very illuminating.
        A question, though: It seems that you have revised some of Keirsey Sr.’s original typings. To my mind, Keirsey Sr. was more reliant on Jungian flotsam that you seem to be (and yes, I have read his books, including the rejection of Jungian functions in PUM1). What I mean by that will probably take too long to explain, let me just note that I *am* aware that the above assertion can be seen as controversial.

        Now for my question, if you please: To the extent that you have revised Keirsey Sr.’s typings, does Keirsey Sr. agree, or is he completely retired from such activities? A database and spreadsheet detailing the difference of opinion, or his final and updated claims before retirement would not only be interesting to people attempting to take type seriously, such as myself. I think, without exaggeration, that it will also be valuable to posterity, given your father’s significant contributions to the field.

      2. Hello, I have been thinking more about it. Could it be that there is a difference of method between your way of typing and then your father’s? I mean assuming that it was your father who originally posited Bill Gates as an extrovert and you who updated the claim to introvert, one could either say that it had been an oversight on your father’s part, OR one could say that Gates’ E/I is one of the areas where KTS is different from MBTI. I usually think of myself as more Myers/Jung-leaning; I use functions and try to put myself in the subject’s shoes. But from PUMII it seems that KTS is more behavioral, and if I look at Gates from a behavioral perspective he does indeed seem introverted.

        1. My father was about theory mostly, didn’t work on as many specific examples, except in his Presidential Temperaments. He was pretty good at Civil War, WW II generals too. For many modern examples, he hasn’t had the knowledge, time, or interest. We have our disagreements on a few, but he is focussed on his theory of madness, now and has forgotten pretty much the details of anything else. Bill Gates, I have known about him for a very long time. The blog includes a few of my thoughts about him, and check the comments for more. We both do not use MBTI letters anymore.

  6. Thanks for this illuminating reply.
    Where can the public find the most recent Keirsey-list of Civil War General’s Types? I know that you have been interested in this, and that your views have evolved over time.

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