Saturday, August 27, 2011


The retirement of Apple CEO Steve Jobs is a pretty big deal. His presentation to the Cupertino City Council on Apple's proposed new campus not only gives us insight into how he thinks about the environment that he lives and works in, but also into how his life experiences as a kid tie into his sense of community. The fact that he showed up personally to make the presentation on the new spaceship campus (it's impressive) says much.

Some of his comments over his lifetime also help us understand markets in the 21st century in ways that Washington doesn't seem to grasp.

Jobs on innovation and creativity: "Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it." 
Implication: Real entrepreneurs don't sit around waiting for money dumps or a cut in the capital gains tax to become successful.

Jobs on competition after Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple to help bail it out in 1997: "... time has come to disabuse the notion that for Microsoft to succeed, Apple must fail."

Implication: While being the biggest on the block may be good, competition is a good thing. Monopolies should not be encouraged or pursued.

Jobs on getting fired: "I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life."
Implication: If Jobs became a better business person after being fired from the company he built we could have gained much by forcing concessions and layoffs on Wall Street after 2008. The industry and the economy would have been better off if we had put a few more companies in receivership, or just let them burn.

Click for super huge graphic.

- Mark

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