Today the world lost one of the most innovative minds it had ever seen and a company lost its legendary leader. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, died at the age of 56 after a long battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. ”Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” Apple said in a statement. “The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”
The technology industry and the world has lost one of the most brilliant people. Apple has lost the man that is primarily responsible for how we consume content in the digital age. He transformed an entire industry with his inventions just as Leonardo Da Vinci did. How does a multi-billion company with thousands of employees move on after losing their Da Vinci? Can a company survive a founder of this stature’s departure?
“The good news for Apple is that the product road map in this industry is pretty much in place for two and three years out,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School, in August when Jobs stepped down as CEO. “The real challenge for Apple,” Professor Yoffie continued, “will be what happens beyond that road map. Apple is going to need a new leader with a new way of recreating and managing the business in the future.” Tim Cook has stepped in as CEO but it has been pointed out that he is a skilled operations expert and capable leader, but not a product-design team innovator.
Basically because Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs, for at least a while, when anything goes wrong at the company or is perceived to have gone wrong, the reason will be because of that. The stock ended the day up more than 1% but it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow despite the latest model of the iPhone being rolled out yesterday. Anything that goes wrong with the stock or the company is because of Jobs. When Jobs left the company in August he stayed with the board which allowed everyone to still say that the company was doing well because of his presence there. That option doesn’t exist anymore. A lot of people will sell the stock because of Jobs’s death and that will make an impact.
However, on the other hand Jobs did an excellent job of setting up a company that can thrive without him and that is what makes him such a great leader. Apple has more money than the U.S. Government. It has one of the strongest work ethics in the world. It has overcome hurdles and challenges before. When Microsoft tried to tear it down, it came back stronger. It understands consumers better than any other brand. The death of Steve Jobs will make an impact but Apple will figure out a way to survive because those who worked with Steve and learned from him as a leader will keep the company going. Back in August Andy Zaky wrote for Seeking Alpha:
While setting the overall direction and vision for the company is extremely important, Steve Jobs has already set Apple on the right course. There’s an obvious name brand that everyone who uses Apple products or who works at Apple already fully recognizes. From that framework, we get innovation from thousands of employees.
Steve Jobs has already made his major contribution to Apple, and that is setting in motion an idea of extraordinary originality upon which the thousands of employees at Apple can build and improve.
How does a company survive the loss of its founder? By carrying on his legacy.