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Does Apple's Steve Jobs have cancer again? (alleyinsider.com)
15 points by fromedome on June 10, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 40 comments

Whether true or not, IMHO this is not appropriate to publish or discuss publicly. It is his private matter and only tabloids would publicize that for their own gain.

I agree. It was an asshole move to write such a story. There's no actual news here. And despite all their high-sounding justifications for writing it (which make up about half the text), it's pretty clear what their motives are.

Incidentally, according to the software I wrote to warn if the quality of stories on the front page goes down, this is the lowest scoring story ever to get this high on the front page.

Perhaps you could publish a list of similar stories that don't deserve front page status and display them to users when they create an account.

Or arm the top 100 users with a -1 button and let them offset the tendency to front page bad (or non) stories.

or perhaps only being able to downvote a story once it reaches X points, so it doesn't get downvoted to hell but doesn't stay up too long either

How does the software that rates the quality of stories work?

Were I to design it, I would pagerank on users and their votes, or use a bayesian filter on article text with classification via some top users' votes. But I'm very curious to find out pg's solution.

Lisp has AI built-in!

Personally, I think if you blocked fromedome's blog spamming, the overall quality of submissions would probably go up by a measurable amount.

I have a sneaking suspicion that "fromedome" is actually "Dan Frommer" from Alley Insider. The names are just too similar but I have no way of either proving or disproving it.

I assume that's who it is as well; given every submission is to a Dan Frommer article. Which is why I'm saying he's just a blog spammer. Well, that along with the fact that he's never even bothered to comment once here.

I totally agree that a story SPECULATING about Jobs having cancer is total crap. But on a slight tangent, I disagree (reluctantly) with his decision to keep it private if he DOES have cancer or if it comes back at a later date. I don't think he should have kept it private the first time, either.

If you're a CEO who can be easily replaced, this isn't as big of a deal (i.e. making it public or not public isn't going to rock the boat too much either way). But to a great portion of the general public, Steve Jobs and Apple are the same thing. He's largely credited with single-handedly bringing them back from the brink. If Jobs announced today that he was quitting Apple, the stock would almost surely tank. He's the CEO of a public company, and if his personal health has a signification effect on stock price, I think he has an obligation to disclose that. Billions of dollars are at stake to shareholders, and they have the right to make decisions with all the information that controls the price of that stock.

If you're a politician, you know your lifestyle is under the microscope and your morals and ethics are always in question. You know this going in. If you're a CEO of a public company, you know that you can personally have a large impact on the stock price. You know this going in. It's unfortunate that personal issues can impact the stock, but if they do, I think it needs to be disclosed.

While I find the article itself off-putting, I can't help but think of the loss of trust in Jobs when he didn't disclose it the first time. I think it sucks that he is in a position that he needs to dislose it, and I can't imagine going through that publicly if I was in his shoes. But is it really that surprising for people to be worried and talking about this when they're going to assume that he won't disclose the information if he does get sick again? Probably not a very popular position, but if you had a couple million in Apple stock (hypothetical -- I don't), would you be okay with it losing half its value in one day because Jobs didn't disclose in advance as possible and let you decide over time whether to take a chance and hang on or to sell on your own terms?

Either way, I don't envy the position the guy is in. I hope it really is just something he can quickly get over.


If he announced he had cancer, he would be unlikely to leave the company the same day (if at all). It's also not a guarantee that he would die (sorry to be morbid). There is a LOT of additional information that can be provided. He might beat it again.

The problem is that if he is not announcing when he has cancer, we're only going to hear about it if two things happen:

1. He knows he has beaten it. 2. He knows he cannot beat it.

He can also put a plan in place where he is grooming a successor that the public slowly becomes familiar with, and they can decide how comfortable they are with the replacement, letting the stock reflect that confidence accordingly.

By the way, what's with the "Answer that first. I doubt you can." comment? How about just asking a question letting me take a crack at answering it?

it's also called cynicism

I can see both arguments. If you are a shareholder you are entitled to know anything that may impact your earnings. There are certain conditions people should be aware of, I am not too sure cancer is one of them.

Imagine a politician was schizophrenic, wouldn't you want to know that before you voted for him?

He's not a politician and we don't have the opportunity to vote for him, so that's not much of an analogy.

There are laws about how much a publicly-traded company needs to disclose, and I'm pretty sure that the health of its CEO isn't on the list.

On the other hand, since it is kinda important to the future of the company and the industry, I can't see any point in making it a taboo topic for the rest of us to discuss.

The principle public companies adhere to is that they should disclose anything 'material', meaning anything that, if it were widely known, would affect the stock price. Perhaps there are investors out there who think Apple would be worth $162 billion run by Gil Amelio or whoever, but I'm not one of them.

The health of the CEO definitely has impacts on the company, especially so in Apple's case. The health of Apple is directly related to Jobs, much more so than any other large company I can think of. There was an article (can't remember where) about his first bout with cancer and the struggle he had to stay on the up and up with the SEC. Basically it's his private matter up until it would be likely to affect his performance. It's kind of a grey area, but keeping things disclosed is much better for the company.

It's pretty depressing, but you'd have all sorts of insider trading problems with only a few people knowing you're sick. The people who would know (nurses, doctors, etc) would probably be fairly under the radar as far as that's concerned too.

If you are a shareholder you do get the opportunity to vote for him. I'm not familiar with the laws, just playing devil's advocate here.

CEOs come and go so one should ideally be investing in the company, unfortunately that is not the case.

I agree that his health is a personal matter.

Is this multi-billion dollar company overly dependent on one individual?

If not, then his health is not an issue.

If so, then the real issue isn't his health.

The real issue is the backup/succession plan. I have seen 100 million dollar companies paralyzed by the heart attack of one individual. Apple stockholders do deserve to know that that can't happen here.

Well said. I will now predict the future. Steve Jobs will die. So will everyone else.

Apple is a company that is very clearly in need of an world class succession plan. It needs to be public and it needs to be endorsed by Steve himself while he is still seen as healthy and in control. Apple needs it more than most because of Steve's rock star status.

If Jobs has to step down before this is in place, I don't think Apple will do very well, both when it comes to stock value and product lines.

I will now predict the future. Steve Jobs will die.

Holy shit! That can't happen! Maybe if I buy an iPhone it won't happen!

Every time someone unlocks an iPhone, a little part of the Steve dies. :)

Apple is a company that is very clearly in need of an world class succession plan. It needs to be public...

You do realize that, on the day Apple announces such a plan, there will be a massive panic sell and the stock price will crash.

Everyone will assume that the public announcement of such a plan is a signal that Jobs is eyeing the door -- the guy isn't obligated to run Apple for the rest of his life and he certainly doesn't need the money.

If I were Apple I would create a world-class succession plan, inform the chosen successors and the board, and then lock the plan in that vault where they've been keeping the iPhone 3G.

I think that ultimately the problem is that Steve's successors have to fill his role of "creative asshole", but an individual with an ego as strong as Steve's simply won't get high enough in Apple to become anything close to a successor, because they'd just run into a conflict with Steve himself (and why would they even try? If you were the new Steve Jobs, would you waste time trying to get an existing corporate structure to accept you, or would you go off and start your own?)

So the people who could replace Steve are all Steve-mitations who go through the same motions, but don't actually fulfill the same role, at least if you judge by the people who come out to help with the Stevenotes. Example: Scott Forstall is crap on stage. Why? He has that stiff "I don't get to decide what I say / I am actually a tape recorder reading from Apple marketing copy" aura.

It's exactly the same problem as in that article a while ago about why Disney stopped innovating: when Walt and all the geniuses were gone, all the people who could have replaced them were instead off in places where they actually had an opportunity to do their own thing.

"why Disney stopped innovating"

Walt Disney died in 1964. Disney hardly stopped innovating then.

Very good point. Even if Steve Jobs lives till 100, he isn't going to live for ever, and might even want retire from being Apple CEO before then.

If I were an Apple shareholder I would be very concerned to ensure that a healthy Apple is not dependent on any one person, not even Steve Jobs.

What amaze me about this article and comments here is that the only reason it is important this guy cancer is because it'll affect the stock prices.

I think you can take it as a given that everyone hopes he's ok.

It would be a huge loss to ever lose this man. He's an epic visionary and every moment he's on the ground with us, he's changing the playing field, often for our own benefit, especially us hackers.

Thank God ValleyWag is banned, because their article on the matter is obscenely light-hearted about the matter.

I pray Jobs is OK, cancer is no joke :-(

While we're joking about Jobs... I hope his cancer treatment has the following conditions:

* can only be used in 5 locations

* requires a two-year contract

* only available in 6 countries

Oh, Apple's Steve Jobs. For a second I thought they were talking about the other one.

Wow, just because he's not overweight it's assumed that he has an advanced case of cancer?

He's probably a lot healthier than a lot of CEOs, most of which are old and overweight (and therefore at a much higher risk for all kinds of health problems). No one is writing articles about them and how shareholders should be concerned.


From this photo, Steve Jobs sure looks healthy. Move on, nothing to see.

Or maybe he's just getting older?

Maybe he got the fat stressed out of him a-la Peter Jackson after the LOTR movies.

Google the guy who wrote the article. Hes a fucktard. Its called manipulating stock prices. That is all.

No its not. There is a manipulation technique here, the same kind of shit politicians pull, where if you are considering the question, the propagandist wins.

Apparently the reality distortion field is radioactive.

would be the baddest mother fucker with cancer I know.

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