Business

Ashton Kutcher channels Steve Jobs when investing in startups

SAN FRANCISCO — Steve Jobs is Ashton Kutcher’s hero. The actor portraying Apple’s late cofounder in the upcoming movie jOBS explained that while he didn’t know Jobs personally, his outlook on life has deeply affected him and the way he invests in Silicon Valley startups today.

“It’s not like you’re playing Lincoln. It’s not like people know how Lincoln walked and talked … but Steve is very fresh in the mind,” Kutcher said today at Macworld 2013. “He’s a person that we have a daily reminder of in our hands and at the tips of our fingers.”

Kutcher invests through his venture firm A-Grade investments and has put money into companies such as Smart Things, Dwolla, GetAround, and Fab. His movie, which was debuted at the Sundance film festival last week, comes out in April.

The Two and a Half Men star explained that when he first heard about the movie, his first instinct was to get involved to preserve the integrity of the story, the integrity of his hero. Josh Gad, who plays Steve Wozniak in the move, said Kutcher already had a wealth of knowledge about Jobs\ and was able to pick out pieces of the scenery and say, “Get rid of that. It wasn’t built for another year.”

In order to prepare for his role, Kutcher says he uploaded soundbites of Jobs speaking to Soundcloud and listened to then while walking around or doing errands — living life. He began to vocalize what Jobs was saying in his ear to the people around him. He was particularly inspired by an interview Jobs gave to the Silicon Valley Historical Society, in which Jobs said that people tend to tell others that the world was built the way it was built and that we should try to live within it as best we can. But the world as we know it, according to Jobs, was only built by people no smarter than you, so why can’t you bring new things into it?

Kutcher says it was Jobs’ focus, dedication to the consumer, and belief that anything can be made possible that he hopes to take into each meeting with entrepreneurs.

But would Kutcher invest in Apple if he was taking angel investing meetings in 1997?

“I would hope that I would have invested,” said Kutcher. “I hope I would have been intelligent enough, wise enough, intuitive enough to see the possibility.”

Ashton Kutcher image via Entertainment Weekly


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