Fuck, I'll miss him, though. I'll miss the way he got up there each and every time like he was selling you your own personal Jesus in a box. Not out of hucksterism, but because he really was that excited to share what he and his people had been working on. Excited to do things better. Excited to solve problems in a way that was far more tasteful, more satisfying, than anything anyone had bothered to try before. Maybe he'll still do announcements as his health allows – but maybe that would send a weird message.
He's a man who was lucky enough to find out exactly what he did best – and to seize upon it with every cell in his body.
I'm a better person for his example. The resurrection of Apple was one of the most enjoyable things I followed in my childhood. No matter how you feel about his approach, this is a guy who loves his work with an intensity that couldn't be faked and won't be soon matched.
One half of Apple is execution. I believe that Jobs has infused the company with a culture based on his favored principles, and it's reasonable to think this culture is sticky.
The other half of Apple is big strategic decisions. Do the iPod. Do the iPhone. Do the iPad. I don't know anyone else with a track record like that. I don't know that it's trainable. Until the next smash product line that's not from his lips to Apple's ears, I don't know that Apple is going to be fine.
It's interesting, though, because to hear Apple's brass tell it, the crucial decisions haven't been "do this" so much as they have been "don't do this, don't do that."
Apple is huge on focus, and they credit that focus with their success more than anything else. Focus seems to be baked into their culture as much as anything else at this point.
A mark of a good leader is being able to build a team that can function even when that leader is absent. So far, Steve Jobs has, for all his eccentricities, succeeded in every other measure of leadership – to an exceptional degree. I'd be pretty shocked if his talents couldn't include the final part of the equation.
In order to lead like Jobs, Cook will have to make some very bold decisions. The first time one of those fizzles, the resulting fear will be much greater than it would have been, had Jobs been at the helm. Should he have a streak of fizzles, watch out.
Apple has a very bumpy ride ahead, I do believe. I really hope they do well, though, because I enjoy their products.
There's no point trying to replace Jobs, because that's impossible. What's possible is for Cook to become someone different, someone, dare I say it, even better than Jobs (ie less of an ass or a douchebag, but just as exacting when it comes to high product standards with the global business acumen when it comes to supply chain management) - do you see it? Tim Cook now has a chance to make magic happen - He's worked so hard over the last few decades just for a chance to stand in that CEO position - and now that he has it - he better make the best of it.
My prediction is that Apple will radically change in the next few years - it has to - in order to say goodbye to Jobs, and welcome the new king - Tim Cook.
Apple should do quite nicely for 5 years. After that, it's a big question mark. My bet is that past 5 years, it'll be "never quite as good" as now.
Miles Davis' players often commented that he never told them what to play, but he'd frequently tell them what not to play. Much more effective for building anything great.
"It’s incredibly rare that I’ve actually regretted saying no, but I dread my yes’s all the time." -DHH
True... add saying 'no' to that when it's too early... Don't ship a phone yet. Don't ship a tablet computer yet. Steve knows when to say no. I'm sure they could have shipped some kind of phone years earlier and some kind of tablet years earlier and there were probably people inside Apple who were cursing him for waiting at the time. Kudos to Jobs for waiting until the exactly the right time and until the right feature set and performance characteristics were viable.
How quickly we forget the Apple Newton.
Part of Jobs' legacy is also how well the company was able to bury and move on from missteps. For every company like Nintendo that recovers from a Virtual Boy, there's plenty of CueCats and click-of-death Zip drives.
Jobs had left Apple when Newton was released.
This means that post-Steve Apple will be fundamentally different -- but it can still be successful. The best organizations spawn generations of great leaders, each with different styles and different visions. Rather than attempting to replace Steve with Steve Lite, the company should chart a new legacy within the culture and guiding principles that Steve built.
An admittedly simplistic and imperfect analogy here, but bear with me: the United States prospered long after the Founding Fathers left the scene, in large part because they established powerful and enduring principles for their successors. And every now and then, a truly great, Non-Founder leader emerged to reshape the country for a new era. Lincoln, for instance. Does anyone fault Lincoln for not being Thomas Jefferson?
The Don't do's are as important, as difficult to foresee, and as difficult to hold the urge to execute as the Do's. This is one of the key talents of Jobs that is not recognized as much as it should.
History has seemed to show indicate that it takes quite a bold leader, or leadership team, to make the tough trade-offs and take the seemingly insane risks to create disruptions in an industry.
Tim Cook seems capable enough of running Apple. But will he continue the tradition of risky bets that Jobs' has made? And does he have the capability of coming up with such visions - or fostering a corporate culture of doing so?
I'm not entirely sure. But I hope I'm wrong.
This is his Commencement Address at Auburn University this spring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEAXuHvzjao. Kinda reminds me of Steve's Commencement Address at Stanford (2005).
The board and the senior management team are all top-notch innovators and leaders that Steve hand-picked.
NeXT was bought because Apple had fucked the dog on their next-generation operating system strategy. NeXTStep gave them a solid new platform upon which to build Mac OS, and the rest is history.
Maybe, but a lot of this is just a matter of picking the biggest new trend in consumer electronics and entering that market.
mp3 players are becoming popular? Great, let's make a better one!
Internet-enabled fancy phones are becoming popular? Great, let's do that too!
People like iPhones? Let's make a big one!
And what's next? I don't know, but it'll plug into your TV.
1999 Can we sell this Tablet? NO
2002 Can we sell this Tablet? NO
2004 Can we sell this Tablet? NO
2006 Can we sell this Tablet? NO
2008 Can we sell this Tablet? NO
2010 Can we sell this Tablet? YES
2000: Can we sell this tablet (or phone)?
- NO, because hardware isn't good enough and even if it were, why would anybody buy this, if they can't watch movies or listen to their music without too much hassle? Let's build a music (& movie) store, so that when the hardware is ready, we are ready too.
2005: Can we sell this tablet (or phone)?
- No, the hardware is good enough now, but we need great software too. Let's build a great mobile OS (from scratch) and leave the legacy behind. And give the 3rd party developers the SDK and tools to build great apps for our device.
2010: Can we sell this tablet?
- YES, the software is great now, just like hardware. Order 15M iPads to Foxconn and ship the damn thing!
I don't believe for a second that Jobs had the iPad in mind in 2000.
They probably just brainstorm, try different stuff internally, see what works and see if they can make a product out of it that meets their high expectations. Jobs was no doubt an important part of this process but it is not impossible for the culture and process to outlive the person who helped create them.
I would not be surprised if Jobs was speaking honestly when he talked down tablets in 2008.
Bill Gates certainly had something like it in mind in 2000. I have an example of such a device in my living room. (tc1100 - Mine dates from 2001) The "raw" functionality (for a technically savvy person like me) far exceeds the typical use of the iPad. It even has the same screen resolution. Still, I don't do anything on the iPad that I didn't do on the tc1100, and do everything on the iPad -- the whole gestalt is just more pleasurable to use.
No, he was lying ;)
Watch his D8 talk (With Walt Mosberg), it's available in iTunes (Podcasts -> Apple Podcasts). He (Jobs) says that they began working on a multitouch tablet in the early 2000's, but around 2005 decided first ship a phone (When I saw the rubber band thing, I said: My God, we can make a phone out of it!). When that got successful, he put the tablet off the shelf and the rest is history.
Again, watch the D8 talk. It's awesome.
I think Microsoft is a splendid example of how this strategy can fail. Zune? Mobile Phones? Tablets?
The iPod's success was down to the whole package, excellent product design, good (but not excellent) performance and iTunes.
Ditto the iPhone, a well designed, brilliantly conceived package together with the App Store. The whole thing, all of it, "just worked".
Saying the iPad is just a big iPhone is juvenile and speaks volumes about your analytical abilities. Apple created a successful tablet when others who had tried had not. Oh, and there was no tablet trend before the iPad, Apple created that market too.
Some people will know that the idea sucks, but they won't say so because if they did then nobody would like them. Why should they stick their neck out just to shoot down an idea? For the sake of the company? Pfft, no way. After all, it's not their company. They love working there, but it's not like they built the company from scratch in their garage or something. If they don't get along with people at work, what's the point?
And besides, Apple is so successful that it can absorb a sucky idea or two. Or three. Right?
Saying no is a big part of what makes Apple great and Steve was the guy who could say it. I don't know how he did it. I mean, eventually he could do it because he was Steve Jobs but I don't know how he did it in the first place. Who can do it now? Who would want to? It's irrational.
Who can replace that? AFAICT, no one at Apple can do what he does^H^H^H^Hdid. Sure, they can continue to do what he asked them to do, but the CEO job is basically unfilled.
No one in their right mind thinks Tim Cook is a replacement for Steve Jobs.
Maybe Apple survives with lower level people saying yes or no. Personally, IMO, the golden age is over. It was great while it lasted.
Jobs brought back Apple from the brink in 1996. Depending on who you talk to, they were months or weeks away from bankruptcy.
Fifteen years later, its flirted with being the most valuable company in the world.
Cook is the only choice. He's so good at not being Tim Cook, Apple is the focus. Barring Steve having failing health, this is a masterful transition.
I always viewed his pitches as amazing one-man performances, and buying whatever he was selling was just part of the cost of admission. Plus you ended up with a cool take home gift out of the exchange.
It never felt cheap, but often worked in areas that others would just turn into hopeless kitsch, yet somehow he kept it tasteful, meaningful and relevant. An absolute virtuoso of the sales performance.
Still, as long as he can stand and talk, I have a hard time believing he'd miss a product launch.
They lose their vision, and in this rare instance, this word actually means something. It meant they could release a totally new product and have an immediate business success. They just lost that. The iPhone 5 will be fine, the iPad 3 will be fine. The next "big thing" will fail.
I won't lie : I am relieved that this happen. In Job's "vision" there was a lot of things I didn't like in terms of lockdown, of control of consuming habits, in its relationship with developers seen as allies when living in Cueprtino but has spawns of hell when independent.
So long Steve, and thanks for the fish. As a human I wholeheartedly hope you will overcome your medical problems, as a developer I sincerely hope that this means the darker parts of your visions become further from reality.
This is one of the reasons I don't believe Apple will achieve the same heights without Steve.
For instance, a Picasso and its reproduction may look the same, but the original has a story behind it. One is almost entering into a relationship with a piece of art. This is why we'd put up with any idiosyncracies that Apples have for so long.
Apple without a story becomes Apple Corp. Sony fell by the wayside in the same manner, when the founder left, the company simply did things the old way rather than asking why.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you."
From the WSJ blog: http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/08/24/steve-jobs-resigns-as-...
EDIT: Now posted on Apple.com: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/08/24Letter-from-Steve-...
However, "I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO" is not just that.
"Could no longer meet my duties" + pancreatic cancer = a strong chance that the doctors gave him a number of how long he had left to live, and it wasn't it years.
(That doesn't mean that Jobs can't beat the odds, of course!)
He's already on leave. So it isn't like there's a great strain on his health now. I would think no more than there will be when he remains on as chairman of the board. Which is the real point.
If health were forcing him to step down he wouldn't be staying on as Chairman. There are significant duties to being Chairman of the Board. You have to appear in public, you have to go to official functions, and so on. You can't hide a serious illness and still be chairman of the board.
Mark my words: This is all about Tim Cook (Which, if I might toot my own horn, I predicted here: http://tomstechblog.com/post/Ie28099m-Not-Sure-Steve-Jobs-Is...)
Being a Chairman of the board is a message to stockholders: "Don't panic, I'm still available", if he stepped down without an orderly transition Apple stock would probably really take a beating.
The chairman of the board is fairly invisible from a public point of view.
Of course it's about his health.
On the offchance that he did stage a miraculous recovery and decide "Well shit, now I'm all better I think I'm gonna go buy a large tropical island!" he would have mentioned his miraculous recovery in his letter, since his health problems are well known.
Apple Computer Inc
the Apple II
the Apple //e
the Apple //c
the Apple //GS
the Mac II
the NeXT Cube
Mac OS X
the Titanium PowerBook
the iTunes Music Store
the iPod Touch
the App Store
(And if you're wondering what Steve Jobs had to do with the Apple //c, //GS, and Mac II, he was the one who brought in Frog Design to design Apple hardware throughout the 80s, and their work was marvelous, just as Jony Ive's work is marvelous today)
Steve is truly, truly an American legend.
Those frameworks (with all the updates that have been made over the years) are what run on Mac OS X and iOS today.
Again, it's the execution! There are certainly better languages out there. However, Apple manages the Objective-C "ecosystem" in much the same way that it manages the iTunes "ecosystem" -- with a relatively high level of quality and usability. (Yes, programmers bitch about stuff in iOS, but we always do in any language/ecosystem. What matters is how wisely the maintainers respond.)
And you're right.
Still, quite a shock.
Part of Apple's success, IMHO, has been Jobs' ability to cut through bureaucracy, egos, corporate politics and industry politics to execute on a pristine vision. Perhaps it's my lack of faith in middle managers, but unless there is a clear mandate from leadership, details & priorities can morph down the chain of command. Visionary products can be diluted by others making what seem like perfectly sound trade-offs. It's the minimization of that dilution, setting of crystal-clear priorities, and making the hard trade-off decisions that has made Jobs such an effective leader at Apple.
That, and his ability to look several steps ahead of an industry - and arguably to create new industries - that has given rise to so many of Apple's disruptive innovations. Without him, I have a bad feeling Apple will become better at creating sustaining innovations than disruptive ones.
Of course, I don't work there and perhaps there are many others who can make such tough decisions and dream up industry-changing visions. I sincerely hope so. For the growth of the company, I sincerely hope so.
Every half-witted investor is already lining up to buy AAPL shares that will of course drop tomorrow in price as quarter-witted investors will be dumping them because of the Jobs' news. This will ramp up the demand and not let the price slide.
this would imply the market prices steve's value to the company > the 5% drop we saw after hours, since the 5% drop should reflect the incremental change of P(x) = 1. i'm not saying the stock won't take a huge hit tomorrow, but my bet is that it recovers in the near-to-medium term.
i am also not saying that the market is right - i wholeheartedly believe the company and its management can execute on steve's vision and has been for some time without daily guidance.
And the company is in a perfect shape there is nothing wrong with it the same goes for the future.
Of course, Andy Grove would call this the most perilous time imaginable. There have never been so many things that can go wrong.
Worst case, Cook and the executive team fail in the opposite direction as they did before, letting the company stagnate while endlessly arguing "WWSD?" among themselves.
I mean wow, what a ride.
That's much more important than the volatile numbers made up by Wall Street.
Why am I relieved? Because, although AAPL is still quite high, I think that investors have been weary of the stock due to the uncertainty of Jobs' health and future. Make no mistake, we'll have a roller coaster for quite a while, but I strongly suspect that the next few product cycles will demonstrate that Apple is still a game-changer even in a world where Jobs is not at the helm.
That being said, I'll miss him. He's a true visionary and such high-profile leaders only come along once in a great while.
Instead of following trends like many other companies they completely buck them. And this gets them painted as unpredictable. And this is why there PE is so low. Because they are constantly growing but the analysts are convinced this is their peak and it only goes downhill from here.
I don't know why but the dialogue from Blade Runner suddenly comes to mind, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain..."
It's funny how very nervous he is. Guess he learned to get over that...
As the COO, Cook did great job lining up and executing the production line. Most of the creative work should already be in the pipeline for the 2012, 2013 releases. We'll see what happens after then.
From Jobs' own mouth, it was his idea for the iPad a decade ago and from that sprung the iPhone.
What new markets have they created?
Now, don't get me wrong... I love Apple. I have a Mac and an iPhone and Cinema displays. I'm jealous of my friends with iPads. Etc. I just don't see any brand new markets.
Danger's Sidekick line was popular with those less enterprisey demographics and predated the iPhone by quite a while.
And how is this not creating new markets? I think you are confusing markets with ideas. IBM wasn't the first to come up with the idea of the computer, but it certainly created new markets for it. Absent actually producing the product that is sold in the market, an idea (or a poorly implemented version of it) isn't much good.
Most everyone else didn't either a few years ago. Then came iPod, iTunes Music Store, iPhone, iPad. It all seems kinda obvious now, but nobody else did it. That's vision and leadership, and the world needs more of it.
The second thing is he taught that you don't have to check every box in order to be successful.
He stripped computing back to its roots in science fiction, and built devices that were originally imagined, taking away feature after feature until something is understood.
That said, when the market dips, buy, buy, buy.
I have to take my hat off to Mr. Jobs. Though there is much I disagree with him on (and personally, I'm not much of an Apple fan or consumer), he's one of the most amazing, talented and driven people I've ever seen.
He's brought a unique and masterful skill to the art of selling, vertical integration, acquisitions and consumer electronics. And I mean art. Vertical integration was never something I thought I'd appreciate on an aesthetic level until I saw the level that Jobs has raised that form to time and again. The NeXT computer production line was divine.
I think he's learned tremendously from what happened to Apple the last time he left and has spent extraordinary effort to ensure a smooth and capable team takes over. I can only guess that this might be happening after seeing the capability that the current team has executed with these past few months.
I want Apple in the fight, they continuously raise the bar in the industry and literally make it great to be a consumer, even if you don't buy their stuff yourself.
Kudos to Jobs for a job well done, and I wish him the best in health.
> Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple
> Tim Cook Named CEO and Jobs Elected Chairman of the Board
> CUPERTINO, California—August 24, 2011—Apple’s Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, as the company’s new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
"... and go out right after launching a bunch of bullshit patent suits."
Apple doesn't need that where it is now. Its struggles are just memories today. It still needs an incredibly smart CEO that can keep the company on the right path, which it has in Tim Cook, but the era in which Jobs was critical as CEO is over. Whether he's chairman of the board or executive visionary-in-residence, it'll be a more appropriate position for Apple's founder in this new decade.
This doesn't mark the end of Apple's ascendancy, just the very end of the turnaround. The dawn is over. This is Apple greeting the day.
I guess maybe if he was so sick he physically couldn't go into the office but he's remaining chairman so that can't be the case.
The famous advert "Here's to the crazy ones..misfits.." totally applies to his career. I'm sure if AAPL ever recreates the same ad, he deserves his spot in there.
All the best to Steve and his family.
Surely he'll still be the arbiter of taste until he's dead?
Maybe the Ray Kroc of his generation?
Edison personally created the majority of his inventions. Jobs has an entire company/team behind him. And Jonathan Ives is a big help when it comes to the sleek design of Apple products.
From what I know of Edison he was skilled at teamwork, business and PR. Which would make him more like Jobs.
Steve's letter is on the site now.
All the best to Steve and his family..
What is he dying from exactly? Does anyone know?
To me Apple has reached a new all time low as they sued Samsung with photoshoped pictures as if Apple had invented the tablet. They made the first great one, but they did not invent it.
He's survived and built amazing things in the face of great illness, when a lot of people would have given up. Sure, he had more financial resources than most to put into that battle against cancer, but a large part of it still comes down to determination and will. It would have been easy, several years ago, to say "I'm too tired to do this anymore" when you've fought cancer and don't need the paycheck. Someone like that doesn't step away from something they love unless they feel they absolutely have to.
I just hope Steve and his family are given the respect and privacy they will no doubt need and desire in the weeks and months ahead.
If there was really a dearth of innovators, of executors, of strategists at Apple when he leaves, wouldn't he have worked to solve that problem? Great CEOs are hirers and developers of great talent. I suspect Jobs has done as good of a job setting up what happens after today as he has everything else.
Edit: Yup, I meant Tim Cook... Doh!
You mean, Tim Cook. Freudian slip, I understand.
The other week I was imagining how would Steve Jobs' office look like in the new headquarters they are planning to build. I guess that doesn't hold anymore. Well, we'll just move on.
A lot of people say it's hard working for him (my friends at Apple totally dread meeting him by accident), he's egotistical, parks at a handicapped spot, etc. etc. To those people, I give the following, attributed to Judy Garland: ""They say it's hard to work with Judy Garland...do you have any idea how hard it is to BE Judy Garland?"
If pancreatic cancer doesn't get you a handicapped spot, I'd sure hate to have what it does take...
Besides which, cancer is an illness. Not a handicap.
It's fine if you like Steve Jobs or whatever - I agree he was, in some aspects, an important person (though not in positive sense, but that's just my humble opinion). But this pathological apologizing of his faults is plain and simply ridiculous.
"You may qualify for a DPplacard or DPplates if you have impaired mobility due to having lost use of one or more lower extremities, or both hands, or have a diagnosed disease that substantially impairs or interferes with mobility, or one who is severely disabled to be unable to move without the aid of an assistive devise."
So yes, illnesses can cause one to become disabled.
Edit: as pointed out below, after/pre-hoursm
Without my many iPods over the years I would not be as huge a music fan as I am now. I may not have learned how to play guitar, something I enjoy so much.
I would be completely lost without my iPhone. It makes me the smartest person in the room.
"Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new" - Standford Commencement speech 2005
So "the old" are Gates, Jobs,... (born circa 1950s) and "the new" will be Brin, Page, Zuckerberg...
In any way, thank you very much Steve, I guess you can leave your company quite happy and satisfied. :)
It is passing of an era and things will not be same at Apple or in the tech industry after this.
Looks like it'll come out in dividends or some such run of the mill fashion.
Most importantly though, I hope that Steve recovers soon from whatever might be ailing him.
Somewhat sad times..
Source: John Gruber, Daring Fireball blog
Doesn't HN have a duplicate submission filter?
The dupes are also representative of the Internet at large. When a large story breaks, tonnes of people rush out to be "the one" who broke it on their news site.
>Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world...
As for developing on Windows, there's Linux. It's good stuff too.
Other companies with plenty of design talent are also afflicted with small-minded management who are only concerned about their pet deal of the moment, obsessing over mimicking their competitors, and too quick to throw away entire product lines that don't hit homeruns on the first release.
Dear Steve: Get well, Maestro.
I think Apple will be fine, but those doubting do have a valid case to make.
This time around, I'm hoping management was taking notes while Jobs was there.
What about all the talented engineers and designers at Microsoft, HP and co? Without a strong lead talent is worthless. (Either that or Apple has a monopoly for smart people and other companies hire only idiots?)
I just wanted to highlight this segment as a perfect example of media neutrality.
I like that quote. I'm going to eat it.
yeah mmm okay, this article is biased.