October 6th, 2011
Econintersect: GEI would normally post news of the passing of a major personage on the News Blog, but it seems most appropriate to make it the Investing Blog post for the day. Steve Jobs is one of the iconic figures of the late twentieth century, generally viewed as one of the giants of the technolgy-computer-telecom revolution that has transformed the way the world lives, works, plays and socializes. He is the epitome of an entreprenuer who also had the leadership skills to make his vision a hugely profitable success.
Follow up:Steve Jobs created and led a company, Apple Computer, that basically combined:
- A minor computer technology presence in volume but with high margins and profitability;
- A telecom hardware company that has yet to capture anywhere near a 50% market position;
- A notepad novelty product that quickly developed sophisticated apps and launched a bevy of competitors still trying to catch up; and
- A software company that never became dominant but has been highly profitable.
This collection of what might be called "toys" if they were not so useful has propelled AAPL to one of the highest market capitalizations in the world. Recently, for one day, AAPL actually surpassed the market value of Exxon-Mobil to be temporarily the highest valued corporation. One can only imagine that Steve Jobs probably took a momentary satisfaction for that event, but then likely returned, within a few seconds, to something he would have considered more important.
Econintersect suggests you read the tribute to Jobs at our colleague site EconMatters. They have an outstanding infographic ("15 Things You Didn't Know About Steve Jobs").
Addendum to Post by Steven Hansen
Steve Jobs rocked my world - and for none of the reasons mentioned by others. I have never owned an Iphone, Ipad, Ipod or any Iproduct.
Picture the corporate world of the 1970's - complete with a secretary for most white collar workers and a Information Technology (IT) group who gave you mediocre computer services (not want you wanted but what they decided you needed).
This did not square with young college grad who could type faster than any secretary and could program in Cobol, Fortran and Basic. I immediately became the corporate black sheep - doing daily battle with the IT group, taking the typewriter from my secretary and turning the secretary into an administrator.
After 7 years of battle, I had advanced high enough in the organization to approve my own requisitions. I bought an Apple II when it was first introduced. I wrote my own CPM programs, and took control. I had to remove the covers from my Apple, and mount floor fans to get enough cooling so that my program (which took 6 hours to run and print) could execute. Apple II had set me free.
This started the revolution where managers, supervisors and normal white collar pukes could control their working environment. This started a series of firsts for me where, at corporate level, it could go secretariless, paperless, and most importantly - eliminate the main frame computer.
Organizationally, all people can be replaced. Maybe the organization will not function as well - but it will reoptimize around the replacement person. Yet, there is no question that Steve Jobs' vision lead the technology revolution beginning in the late 1970's. The tech revolution has lost its leader. Steve was the exception to the rule - he cannot be replaced.
Goodbye Steve, thank you for setting me free.