Apple is a company that has a distinct voice and a drumbeat. While Apple has functioned well for a short period of time with Mr. Jobs on medical leave, that voice and drumbeat must endure. Having Mr. Jobs back at the helm reestablishes the tradition, lest we forget, that draws us to the company.
The very first thing I ever had published on the Internet was in late 1997. It was called "Always Apple" and spoke to the dire straights Apple was in and tried to express how the community of Apple followers felt. It was later republished at 32-bits Online (long since gone). Here is an excerpt.
Where are Macintosh users looking? Men like Douglas Adams and Arthur C. Clarke? The spirit of Apple Computer is that of excellence and adventure. It embraces the future and everything positive that the minds of men can conceive of. We've often paid a little more, but we paid the money out of our own pockets. Some of us make a living by day with Windows so we can spend our own money on something that captures our imagination in the evening.
Apple lost its way in recent years. Apple forgot about inspiration and wonder. It got caught in price wars, desperately seeking acceptance at any price. Now, Apple's destiny is to be the best. Truly, there may only be 10 percent of the population that cares about the best. But if Apple gives up that 10 percent, there are those dreamers and entrepreneurs standing quietly in the wings waiting to take up the cause. We cannot predict what they will do, but the spirit of the dreamers who want something more will always be with us.
More than anything, we want Apple to know that. Truly, the best in us is also in Apple - Courage Under Fire.
The reference at the end is to one of my favorite movies of all time, Courage Under Fire with Meg Ryan and Denzel Washington. That's how I felt about Apple, hoping that they would figure out some way to survive, despite a desperate situation. Steve Jobs, of course, came back and pulled that off.
Today, Apple is a huge money making machine, but that doesn't mean we don't need that inspiration. They say that news helps us learn about life, but fiction helps us live life. That applies to Apple in a way. News about Apple's money and success is good for Apple, but without that undefinable spirit, that voice, that feeling that we want the best, that we can dream a better future for ourselves, with Apple leading the way, then all of Apple's efforts go for naught.
I have a favorite saying. All good things are the inspired genius of one man. We see that over and over again in human history: Martin Luther, Galileo, Isaac Newton, George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. -- just to name a few. These men fought for a vision that changed the world and the way we see it.
Organizations, groups, however, seldom achieve anything great. They have meetings, they squabble, and each person pushes a self-serving agenda. Companies that live by greed and turf building and have no strong vision to live by and eventually run amok.
No new voice has risen to speak for Apple. Mr. Cook has quietly, behind the scenes, run the company like a Swiss watch. But the train is leaving, here, early in the new century, and while Mr. Cook might keep the train on time, after all, we need to know where we're going.
All the best from now on Mister Jobs. There is still much to do.