Some time back I predicted Steve Jobs would “retire” across the board (Apple, Disney, etc). Kinda happy to have gotten that one a wee wrong.
Something’s really niggling me about his return though… I just don’t see it happening. It’s time to wonder now… will Steve Jobs return to the office off this most recent medical leave? I love to think he’s coming back. If for no other reason than to tell us all he’s licked the sicknesses plaguing him. To see his home built. To see old and new friends enjoying their lives. To build his “one more thing” that we fall in love with all over again.
Tim Cook has done a MARVELOUS job of showing Wall Street he’s not only capable of running the business. But that he’s capable of LEADING the business too! Which, let’s admit it… we fan boys love Steve for his charisma and chutzpah as much as anything he’s done on the business savvy side of things. In Tim we have another LEADER. Someone who gets the gestalt of design, business, supply-side. Someone who’s had his fill of the kool-aid alongside us. He’s as much a fanboy as the rest of us. He’s one amazingly driven gentleman.
Will the existing leadership take hills for him should his day come? Hell yes. Will the legion fanboy hang on his every word? You know?… I believe we will. It may take some getting used to him. Getting to know him. What makes him tick. But, I think all our love for Steve will be transferrable to Apple’s next full-time CEO. And I honestly think that’s Tim Cook. Retention of the existing talent set will be crucial. Forstall, Cue, Schiller, Ive, ALL the hardware and retail leadership, Serlet… Man, what a phenomenal bench! and that’s just the top of mind crowd. The veeps and directors and engineers and evangelists that bust their humps to get all this magical stuff done. Again, if anyone has the leadership chops to keep the house that Steve built together… It’s Tim.
An Apple, Inc. without Steve is a lesser place. To be sure. But, the Apple we all know and love is chock full of Steve-inspired, Steve-vetted goodness for many years to come. And, there’s no one better than Tim Cook to see that legacy executed and ultimately built upon and surpassed. I can think of no more appropriate homage to Steve Jobs than to take Apple Inc to the next level under able adult supervision WHILE he’s still kicking.
My hope is the AAPL board will name a successor while Jobs has the steam to bless the new Don.