Steve Jobs Leaves Apple CEO Role

With the announcement by Steve Jobs that’s he’s giving up the CEO role, Apple’s stock will probably take a hit today. The only real reason will be perceptual and emotional, since his successor is a proven talent and the Apple pipeline is full of new products. I doubt investors are reacting to something that they think happens five years or more from now.

Let’s hope I’m wrong, but after-hours trading had the stock down by several dollars last night.

The people who despise Steve Jobs and Apple strike me as the same ones who despise others’ success. They explain away the talent and innovation (luck, timing, theft) and they focus on what they perceive to be the weaknesses (autocratic, unemotional, ruthless).

Too often, like alligators, we tend to try to eat our own young.

Jobs has created one of the most valuable companies in the world through his visceral and intelligent identification of what customers need, whether the customers know it or not. (Most customers know what they want, but not what they need, or there would never have been a Walkman to begin with.) He creates trust and belief, and appeals to early adapters. His company creates more evangelists among customers than any I’ve ever seen that wasn’t actively in the evangelism business.

I’ve personally converted hundreds of people from PCs to Macs. I refused to listen earlier in my career when “experts” told me I had to be compatible with my clients and solely use PCs. I find it perfectly reasonable and efficient to be sitting here in Nantucket with my Mac lap top, iPad, and iPhone. (I’m typing this on my lap top and have written a dozen articles and columns, which I can’t do rapidly on the iPad. But I can read my books and play the latest level of Angry Birds and Fragger on my iPad. And I’m doing business occasionally from the beach on my iPhone.)

Steve Jobs is one of the latest American icons, like Hewlett and Packard starting out in their garage and creating “The HP Way” in their business (unfortunately lost in the past several years). He’s not going to be trotting out on stages in motivational rallies that dredge up ex-politicians, ex-quarterback, and ex-astronauts, along with vacuous “motivational speakers.” He’s the guy who did it his way, despite criticism, odds, larger competitors, and conventional wisdom.

We need more like him. Our kids should be studying him. He belongs in the news as an exemplar. But the media would rather focus on Bernie Madoff or the sexual escapades of still anther French politician.

One day, many of you will be telling your kids, “I watched Jobs build Apple. It was unbelievable.” I don’t’ think it’s unbelievable, but it certainly seems to be underappreciated.

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.


4 thoughts on “Steve Jobs Leaves Apple CEO Role

  1. In addition to high praise, I’ve noted a fair amount of vitriol following Jobs’ announcement, no doubt rooted in some of the factors you’ve mentioned. One article highlighted several “failed” Apple products produced on his watch, and for which I had two thoughts. First, although they didn’t succeed wildly, I found loads of innovation, technical brilliance and even beauty in all of them (e.g., Newton, Apple III, Lisa, etc.) which were incorporated into other products that did succeed. Second, one of your favorites: If you’re not failing, you’re not trying. Here’s to many more “intelligent” failures in the future.

  2. Some people hate brilliance and success because they can never achieve it. I’m betting none of those you cite bought Apple at pre-splits under $20. (I did.) Henry Ford, a genius, was virulently anti-semitic. Charles Lindburgh, a hero, was pro-Nazi. Compared to them, Jobs is a saint.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × 4 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>