I’ve been doing marketing consulting for nearly 30 years, and leadership training and coaching for the last ten, through Solutions Forum (my day job), and I have to say that Steve Jobs and Apple have always struck me as something of a ‘riddle wrapped in an enigma’. Some miscellaneous observations:
1. It’s interesting to me how Jobs managed to keep the innovation stream going for the last ten years or so at Apple, which always appeared to me very much the command and control sort of company. I think I’m left with the idea that it must be the people who work for and otherwise lead Apple. I suspect they’re really given a lot of leash to experiment and come up with ideas, despite Jobs, reputation as a control freak. I hope some Applers are reading; I’d appreciate their comments.
2. There’s no question that Apple and Jobs did a consummate job of reading the tea leaves of consumer sentiment and fitting that with technology that was available, or would be. I suspect there was a lot of hashing out of ideas with or without Steve, that went on in the organization. This melding of tech, consumer sentiment and people is probably unique. I’m not sure any, or many other companies come close to matching it, although we all try and keep working at it.
3. The truly interesting part is what will come next: does Apple continue the innovation stream? I suspect the answer is yes, because Jobs has been largely out of the picture for much of the last year, but one wonders what the Swami of Silicon valley could have spoken about even from his home. Tim Cook will be seriously tested to maintain, or even improve, the Apple culture. And even continue the unorthody.
Anyway, as we would say in the Navy, Steve, ‘Fair Winds and Following Seas’, on your eternal journey.